Top Performing Stocks Over the Last 35+Years

By Alan Olsen
How to Find the Right Dividend Growth Stock

The stock market is vast and the possibilities are endless. For example, just consider the many ups and downs over the last 35+ years. There have been huge success stories both individually and for the stock market as whole. On the flip side, there have been huge crashes for the entire market, as well as for many individual stocks. One thing is for sure with the stock market; there are no guarantees. Of course, there are some big names that have been doing well for years, along with some other names that might not receive the same notoriety as some of the bigger named companies, but their success is just as real.

Publicly Traded Since 1980

M&T Bank Corporation released a very interesting table recently, whichdetails the best performing stocks since 1980. To clarify, this table does not include any stocks that have gone public since 1980; so many of the best performing stocks in the last 37 years do not appear on the list. It does however take into account all 567 U.S.-based stocks that have been publicly traded since that year. While some of the names on the list will not surprise anyone, there are some others that could make you look twice.

Who Leads the Way?

So without further adieu, let’s take a look at who made the list.

RankCompany NameIndustryAnnual Return
1Eaton Vance Corp.Financials23.3
2TJX Companies Inc.Consumer Discretionary23
3Hasbro, Inc.Consumer Discretionary22.2
4Stryker CorporationHealthcare22
5L Brands, Inc.Consumer Discretionary20.8
6Progressive CorporationFinancials20.8
7Valspar CorporationMaterials20.7
8Mylan N.V.Healthcare20.0
9Gap, Inc.Consumer Discretionary19.9
10Danaher CorporationHealthcare19.8
11vWal-Mart Stores, Inc.Consumer Staples19.7
12State Street CorporationFinancials19.6
13Sherwin-Williams CompanyMaterials19.6
14Equifax Inc.Industrials19.6
15Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Class AFinancials19.6
16M&T Bank CorporationFinancials18.9
17Robert Half International Inc.Industrials18.9
18Constellation Brands, Inc. Class BConsumer Staples18.7
19Graco Inc.Industrials18.7
20Lowe’s Companies, Inc.Consumer Discretionary18.7
21Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.Consumer Staples18.6
22Aflac IncorporatedFinancials18.6
23Flowers Foods, Inc.Consumer Staples18.5
24Astronics CorporationIndustrials18.4
25Church & Dwight Co., Inc.Consumer Staples18.3
26V.F. CorporationConsumer Discretionary18.0
27RLI Corp.Financials17.9
28Applied Materials, Inc.Information Technology17.9
29Raven Industries, Inc.Industrials17.9
30HollyFrontier CorporationEnergy17.8

Interesting Facts

You can make several observations from this list, and each person might find different points of interest. Here are just a couple.Berkshire Hathaway, which is led by one of the world’s richest men, Warren Buffett, had to settle for number 15 on the list, and it trailed three other stocks in the financials sector. Meantime, financials stocks dominate the list, with seven different entries. Industrials and consumer stocks are also very common on the list, while only two materials companies made the top 30