This ranking covers stocks listed in S&P 500 index that have shown the most significant growth since October 2014. The capitalization of the companies exceeds $13B; their stocks are traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ Stock Market. All data are cited in US dollars.
1. Electronic Arts
Command & Conquer Generals screenshot
The world-famous game producer, whose product range includes Need for Speed, The Sims, Command & Conquer and other popular games that have already become classic. By annual turnover the company is ranked 3rd in the sector, following Nintendo and Activision Blizzard. It was founded in 1982 as a simple game publisher, but soon it grew into a real game industry leader.
The rapid growth of the stock prices has started in 2013, but in the beginning it was just a recovery from 2008, when the company suffered not only from the global crisis, but also from its internal issues. During that period Electronic Arts fell under suspicion for antitrust infringement and faced the unpleasant consequences of introducing the user-‘unfriendly’ DRM-policy. In the period of 2009-2013 EA’s stocks were highly underestimated - especially when compared to other IT companies. At the moment their price may be considered quite fair, and they still have some place to grow.
Jakafi, Incyte’s flagship product
Incyte is a pharmaceutical company founded in 1991. It is mostly famous for it Jakafi (ruxolitinib) drug used by several thousands people in the US for myelofibrosis therapy. Currently the company is developing a number of other drugs, in particular, against rheumatoid arthritis. Incyte has recently purchased some perspective patents for other companies’ products and started a partnership program with Eli Lilly, the pharmaceutical giant famous for creating fluoxetine (prozac), a powerful antidepressant pill.
Investors are expecting Incyte to burst again. Since 2009 the quotes have grown dozens of times, and its stocks, judging by the P/E coefficient, are tremendously overestimated. So, there are only two possible scenarios: either the company releases a new revolutionary drug and saves the quotes, or it faces an unprecedented rockfall. For us this means that this company is worth investing in only if you really know for sure that the new super-successful drug is just about to be released.
Amazon.com - says it all
Amazon is the greatest Internet retailer in the world. It was founded in 1995 to sell paperback books, but in 1998 its product range was broadened by music and video CDs. Later on the company started selling MP3 discs, software and video games. Today Amazon sells products in 34 categories, including e-books, consumer electronics, toys, grocery, household goods, sports equipment, etc.
Amazon is one of the few companies that not only survived in dot-com crisis of 1999-2000, but also started growing - rapidly and steadily - in the following years, including 2008. Since 2006, Amazon’s stocks grew almost 20 times, thus securing 26% annual profitability for its stakeholders. However, at the moment these stocks are rather overestimated and, just like Incyte’s, are risky to invest in.
4. Activision Blizzard
Screenshot from Starcraft, one of the most popular games in the world
The second largest game publisher in the world after Nintendo. The current name of the company is a result of Activision and Vivendi Games merger of 2007. Vivendi contributed here with its brand name Blizzard Entertainment, which is famous for such successful game series as Diablo, Warcraft and Starcraft.
After the difficulties of 2008 that followed the merger, the stock prices of Activision Blizzard remained very stable. However, in 2013 they started a powerful growing trend, and are growing until today. See that P/E? They definitely have an opportunity to show what they can.
Many people consider Netflix (note, not YouTube) as the traditional TV killer, and the company supports this theory as actively as it can.
Netflix is a large video streaming provider founded in 1997. However, it became popular only at the end of 2000s. Today the company has more than 50 million clients in 41 countries and is aggressively fighting for the market share.
During the overall dot-com bubble burst, Netflix was only a startup company, but it managed to ‘catch up’ with the elder colleagues by creating its own bubble: in 2010-2011 its stock price grew four times, and then dropped to the starting level. Since 2013 they have been growing again (for now, its stocks are 10 times more expensive than in the beginning of the growth), but the P/E coefficient makes us unsure, if it is still worth relying on.
One of the previous Starbucks logo editions (1987-1992). Later on, the lower part of the siren’s body was removed from the logo.
The greatest network of coffee shops around the world. It specializes in coffee, tee, bakery and smoothies. The company was founded in 1971, but started its expansion in the 1990s. It had an ambitious plan to open one new cafe per business day and, surprisingly, successfully coped with it until the beginning of 2000s.
Starbucks suffered from the crisis of 2008 very significantly: from 2006 till 2008 its stock price decreased three times. The recovery was rather smooth but stable, and in 2011 the company reached the previous maximum. Since then the growth continues, and at the moment the stocks cost around $60 - three times more than in 2006.
7. Reynolds American
Camel cigarettes ad dated 1913
Second biggest tobacco company in the US. It has several subsidiaries that produce such world-famous tobacco brands as Camel, Pall Mall and Kent. The company reached today’s scale thanks to multiple mergers and acquisitions it conducted throughout its rather short history (including the merger with the American branch of British American Tobacco in 2004).
The dynamics of Reynolds American share price somewhat reminds the dynamics of Starbucks - though with a lighter dropdown in 2008-2009. Since 2009, Reynolds American’s stocks grew five times, and the moderate P/E shows that it is not the limit.