Best-performing US stocks over the last 20 years

Over the last twenty years, the top-performing United States stocks are Monster Beverage, Apple, Nvidia, Booking Holdings, and Equinix. 

Monster Beverage is particularly interesting because the company was founded by South Africans who moved to the United States.

It entered the fast-growing niche of energy drinks early and made Monster a household name in the United States.

Apple cornered the smartphone market, Nvidia grew because of the increased demand for its chips, and Booking Holdings rode the Internet wave.

Equinix is the youngest and least-known company among the top five. It was only founded in 1998 and specialises in internet connection and data centres.

Here is a look at each of the top-performing companies listed in the United States over the last twenty years.

Monster Beverage

Monster Beverage emerged out of Hansen Natural Corporation, which was founded in the 1930s as a producer of fruit juice, iced tea, and natural sodas. 

South Africans Rodney Sacks and Hilton Schlosberg purchased Hansen Natural in 1992 and led a substantial rebranding of the company. 

In 2002, they launched Monster – “the meanest energy drink on the planet” – and changed the company’s name to Monster Beverage in 2012. 

This resulted in massive growth, with energy drink sales growing from $92 million in 2002 to $2 billion in 2012. 

Sacks and Schlosberg are still co-CEOs of Monster, worth over $3 billion each.

Monster has a market capitalisation of $54.48 billion and has produced a return of 130,275% over the last 20 years.


Apple was founded as Apple Computer Company in 1976 by Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs and Ronald Wayne to develop and sell Wozniak’s Apple I personal computer. 

It was incorporated by Jobs and Wozniak as Apple Computer, Inc. in 1977. The company’s second computer, the Apple II, became a best seller and one of the first mass-produced microcomputers. 

Apple went public in 1980 and has charted immense growth since then.

It is now the largest company in the world by market capitalisation with a value of $2.54 trillion and by revenue, collecting $394.33 billion in 2022.

Over the last 20 years, it has produced a return of 61,735%. 



Nvidia is a software and semiconductor company which designs graphics processing units, an application programming interface for data science and high-performance computing chips.

Of late, it has seen tremendous growth from artificial intelligence hardware, of which it has become a dominant supplier. 

The company is relatively young, founded in 1993 by Jensen Huang, the current CEO, Curtis Priem, and Chris Malachowsky. 

Nvidia’s tremendous growth has made Huang a multi-billionaire worth over $24 billion. 

The company had revenue of $26.97 billion in 2022 and has produced a return of 35,879% over the last 20 years. 

Booking Holdings

Founded in 1996, Booking Holdings owns and operates several travel fare aggregators, including 

The company makes most of its money from commissions on travel fares. However, recently it has begun deriving revenue from advertising. 

In 2022, consumers booked 896 million room nights of accommodation, 62 million rental car days, and 23 million aeroplane tickets using websites owned by Booking Holdings. 

The company collected revenue of $17.09 billion in 2022 and has produced a return of 25,877% in the last 20 years. 


Equinix is the youngest company among the top five, founded in 1998. 

The company specialises in internet connection and data centres with nearly 250 data centres in 27 countries. 

It is currently building a data centre in Johannesburg at the cost of $160 million, adding to its presence in Nigeria, Ghana, and Ivory Coast. The data centre is expected to be completed by mid-2024. 

Interestingly, in 2015 the company elected to operate as a Real Estate Investment Trust to reduce its tax burden and ensure it pays quarterly dividends. 

Equinix had revenue of $7.26 billion in 2022 and produced a return of 22,821% over the last 20 years. 

Best-performing stocks in the United States over 20 years

CompanyTotal Return
Monster Beverage130,275%
Booking Holdings25,877%
Returns as at 30 March 2023


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