By Chris Matthews, MarketWatch
It has been 10 years since American stocks hit their post-financial crisis nadir on March 9, 2009, and began a steady climb that has produced, by some measures, the longest bull market in U.S. history.
Since that time, the S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.45% has risen 411%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.36% has gained 413.2%. And the Nasdaq Composite index /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.52% has advanced 570%, according to FactSet data, underscoring technology’s importance to the current bull run. It’s been a period dominated by fast-growing, tech-focused firms like Facebook Inc., /zigman2/quotes/205064656/composite FB -1.74% Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc., /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL +0.0000% Netflix Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202353025/composite NFLX -1.80% and Google-parent Alphabet /zigman2/quotes/202490156/composite GOOGL +1.94% /zigman2/quotes/205453964/composite GOOG +1.85% , commonly referred to by the acronym FAANGs.
Indeed, Apple leads all current Dow components in trailing 10-year total return, giving shareholders a 1,373.7% return since the worst of the financial crisis. Netflix is the third-best gainer in the S&P 500, returning to shareholders 6,396.7% of their initial investment. Buying $100,000 in Netflix stock on March 9, 2009, would have made you a millionaire more than six times over today.
It’s too simplistic, perhaps, to boil down the story of the last decade to technology, per se. After all, personal-computer manufacturer HP Inc. was the fifth-worst performing stock in the S&P 500.
However, what has set the top performers apart from the pack was their use of technologies to upend traditional businesses, like retail and health-care services.
“E-commerce has been around since the 90s, but it was the last decade when the real wave of e-commerce disruption occurred,” David Russell, vice president at TradeStation Securities told MarketWatch. Amazon Inc . /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN +0.40% is the posterchild for e-commerce dominance, and its stock was the 9th-best performer in the S&P 500 over the past decade, according to FactSet data.
Biotech is another clear winner in the past decade, as both the advance of biomedical technology and the aging of wealthy populations across the globe have created demand for medical technologies provided by firms like Abiomed Inc . /zigman2/quotes/202106417/composite ABMD +3.38% , the second-biggest gainer in the S&P 500 over the past decade. “Biotechnology has been on an absolute tear this decade,” Russell said.
Russell argued that its easiest to understand the worst-performing stocks of the past decade as relics from the 2000s, when the market’s highflyers were often natural-resource extractors.
Three of the worst-five performers on the S&P 500 over the past decade: Devon Energy Corp., /zigman2/quotes/209479244/composite DVN +1.26% Mosaic Co., /zigman2/quotes/203825795/composite MOS +3.88% and Apache Corp., /zigman2/quotes/200648444/composite APA +2.04% are all natural resource extractors.