The Best-performing Stocks for the Past Ten Years

29 stocks went up more than 1000% in the past decade. One of them is an airline. I guess going to Hawaii has been really popular. Seven of the top ten performers are Internet stocks. The other three are biotech companies. It was the decade of Internet and drugs.

What do all of the above stocks have in common, other than being able to grow their earnings and sales in an impressive manner? They spend a lot of time on the 52-week highs list and set up multiple times.

The U.S. stock market indexes bottomed on March 9th, 2009. A couple days later, two stocks broke out to new all-time highs. Both of them went up more than 10x after their breakouts. One was Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, which was acquired in 2015. The other one was Netflix. Netflix went up 44X in the past decade and today it is a 62-billion dollar company. In 2000, Blockbuster refused to buy Netflix for $50 million, because “it was a very small niche business”.

How to Turn 5k into 30 Million

Home Depot (HD) closed at all-time highs today. $5000 invested in Home Depot when it went public in 1981 is worth about $30 million today.

Turning 5k into 30 million for 35 years means that HD compounded at an average annual rate of 28%.

28% annual appreciation for 35 years is very, very rare. To compare to some of the best-performing stocks of all time: 5k invested in Microsoft in 1986 is worth about $4.85 million today. 5k invested in Walmart in 1975 is worth about 29 million today. 5k invested in Applied Materials (AMAT) in 1975 is worth about 22 million today.

Finding a stock that has the potential to compound at 28% annually for 35 years is close to impossible and probably, it won’t be repeated ever again. Holding such a stock for 35 years might be even harder.

What if instead of finding a stock that can compound annually at 28% for 35 years, you find a stock that can go up 28% this year? And then you repeat the exercise every year for 35 years, one stock at a time? It won’t be easy, but it is also a lot more manageable. Compounding can be magical.

1562 stocks went up more than 30% in the past 12 months. 334 went up more than 100% for the same period.

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Two Themes Have Defined Trading In Early 2017

The major stock market indexes continue to consolidate mostly through time. Small caps are underperforming large caps, which has made chasing breakouts challenging in many occasions. We haven’t seen any strong buying pressure so far in 2017. There has been a little uptick in selling pressure, but nothing major.

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Two major trading themes have defined 2017 so far. I don’t know if this will continue to be the case in the near future:

  1. Weak U.S. Dollar, strong emerging markets. The U.S. Dollar is down 2% year-to-date. For the same period, emerging markets (EEM) are up 5.5%, Brazil (EWZ) is up 13%, China (FXI) is up 5%, gold (GLD) is up 5.6%, gold miners (GDX) are up 14%.
  2. Large-cap tech stocks are significantly outperforming. The Nasdaq 100 (QQQ) is up 4% while Russell 2000 (IWM) is down 1% year-to-date.

We have just entered a new earnings season. Thousands of companies will provide new information about the state of their business. As a result, we will see the formation of many new trends, both up and down trends. New trends mean new opportunities.

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15 Things I Learned from the Book Reinvent Yourself

This is the first book I read in 2017. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Here are my favorite takeaways:

  1. We are what we experience every day:

“You are not just the average of the five people around you. You’re the average of the five habits you do, the things you eat, the ideas you have, the content you consume, etc.”

2. Learning never stops.

“Many people die at 25 but are not put in the coffin until 75. The learning stopped for them early.”

3. Quantity might lead to quality:

“Try many things. One thing I realized is that quantity equals quality. People think it’s one or the other but it’s not. When you have a quantity of ideas and things you are trying, you will find quality.”

4. On mentoring:

“Believe it or not, sometimes it’s just as good (often better) to read all of their materials rather than be directly mentored.”

5. On how to be creative:

“People say, “Everything has already been written.” Everything has already been said. But that’s a lie. I think every outline has already been written. But each human has a unique fingerprint. Just putting that fingerprint on an outline makes it yours, different, unique. And through practice and vulnerability, you make that fingerprint something others want to see.”

6. On how to sell:

“If I want to sell an idea, if I want to convince, if I want someone to like to me, I have to figure out how to connect.”

7. On how to find your unique niche:

“It’s hard to be the greatest at any one endeavor, but by combining passions, it’s much easier to be the greatest in the world at the intersections of those passions (because there are billions of things that can intersect, you can find your own place in the “long tail of passion” to be the master of).”

8. Ideas are not enough. Turn them into a product or a service:

“But the only thing that gets results is action. Not a single ounce of greatness in history ended with thoughts. It happened with hands. With actions.”

9. On asking the right question:

“Money is a side effect of trying to help others: of trying to solve problems. So many people ask, “How do I get traffic?” That’s the wrong question. If you ask every day, “How did I help people today?” then you will have more traffic and money than you could have imagined.”

10. On how to diversify our life:

“When people associate the worth of their lives with any one activity, it’s deadly. We have to celebrate what we’re good at. But also celebrate other things in life the love of another person. Our friends. Something funny. I always have to tell myself to diversify my celebrations. Celebrate the small. Not always the big. “Meaning” is not just a victory. Meaning is a way of life.”

11. Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice with the clear goal of getting better every day does. Some people say that they have 10 years of experience, but they have actually repeated their first year ten times.

“It’s not about 10,000 hours. It’s about 10,000 hours where you practice with intent.”

You have to constantly come up with new metrics to measure yourself, to compete against yourself, to reach beyond your last plateau.

12. A good story can open many doors:

“For 5,000 years or longer, humanity has driven forward with storytelling. Too many people forget that but the only way to really communicate effectively is through a story.”

13. On how to raise money for your startup:

Too many people say, “I have an idea. Now I need funding.” Don’t do that anymore. Stop it! Say instead, “I’m already doing this. Here are the 10 or 20 things I’ve done so far. Here are the results. Are you in?”

14. There are only two types of decisions in life. Fear of losing and fear of missing out are everywhere in life.

“There are only two types of decisions: decisions made out of fear and decisions made out of growth.”

15. Never let a good loss go to waste

“I still don’t like to lose. I hate it. It’s the worst feeling. But I never let a good loss go to waste. The only way to learn is to study something you never knew before. Losses are the maps that point you to what you never knew before.”

Source – Altucher, James (2017-01-05). Reinvent Yourself. Choose Yourself Media / James Altucher. Kindle Edition.

2016 from a 10,000-Foot View

SMH – Semiconductors had their best year since 2009.

KRE – Regional banks finally above their 2007 highs.

DX – Another strong year for the U.S. Dollar

IBB – first negative year for biotechs in 8 years.

EWZ – Brazil had its first positive year in the last 6.

IWM – big comeback for small caps after a 26% drawdown in late 20015/early 2016.

XIV – betting against short-term volatility worked out again.

QQQ – 8th consecutive positive year for large cap tech.

What year had the big six tech innovators? – AMZN, AAPL, GOOGL, FB, MSFT, TSLA.

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