Best Performing Stocks of the Last 12 Months: Updated for 2021


This is a tough market and when you are looking to make money from it, it becomes important to analyze all the top performing stocks and compare your portfolio to the current S&P 500 to make an informed decision.

How to measure stock performance

One of the best ways to measure the performance of a stock is by calculating its growth on an annual basis. Simply take the stock price at the beginning of the year and see how much it has changed in 12 months.

For example, Tesla stock was $744.40 at the beginning of 2021 and $715.40 at the end of August 2021.

A year is a long enough time for a stock to rise and fall, and it’s also easy to compare annual returns.

It is also important to have perspective while measuring stock returns, so you should go a step further and look at the top 1,000 stocks by returns in large, medium, and small caps.

Companies of different sizes tend to grow at different speeds, try grouping them by market capitalization. It allows you to better compare their returns, giving a complete picture of stock performance.

Top 20 best performing stocks in the last 12 months

In this article, we’ll take the 6 best stocks from small and medium-sized companies each, and the 8 best from large companies to make up our list of the top 20 performing stocks in the last 12 months.

1. PROS Holdings (PRO)

Stock price on August 28, 2021: $43.99

12-month stock growth rate: 10.001%

Type: A leader in the small capital market

PROS produces price optimization software and also leads the market with revenue management solutions in the travel industry. The company provides AI-based software to airlines that are said to be gaining high demand in the ever-evolving digital age.

2. BioCryst Pharmaceuticals (BCRX)

Stock price on August 28, 2021: $15.66

12-month stock growth rate: 400.001%

Type: beanie

BioCryst makes Rapivab pills that treat influenza and Orladeyo that treat hereditary angioedema. She is currently working on the treatment of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria. BioCryst is also estimated to have earned $1.8 million in the first quarter of the year.

3. Sonic Automotive (SAH)

Stock price on August 28, 2021: 50.86 dollars

12-month stock growth rate: 13.637%

Type: beanie

Being one of the largest auto retailers in the United States with a $2 billion cap, its revenue was up 25% in the last quarter of 2020. They plan to capitalize on rising car demand in 2021.

4. Laboratories Core (CLB)

Stock price on August 28, 2021: USD 28.93

12-month stock growth rate: 31.965%

Type: beanie

This laboratory provides high quality petroleum services and oil extraction technologies to the industry. There is supposed to be a boom in oil demand in 2021. This laboratory has generated steady returns over the past two decades and has never had any hypothetical difficulties.

5. Frank’s International (FI)

Stock price on August 28, 2021: $3.01

12-month stock growth rate: 29.167%

Type: beanie

FI provides tubular services to the oil and gas industries on a large scale. They merged with a private British oil company and own 35% of the ownership. Pipes are of great importance in various industries and the demand will only increase here abroad.

6. Tenneco (TEN)

Stock price on August 28, 2021: $16.50

12-month stock growth rate: 93.210%

Type: beanie

This company produces emissions control devices, engine and powertrain parts, and automotive performance solutions. They have significantly reduced debt and improved operational performance with their wheeled products. Tenneco is on the rise.

7. Targa Resources (TRGP)

Stock price on August 28, 2021: $45.15

12-month stock growth rate: 164.706%

Type: middle cover

Headquartered in the United States, it is one of the largest natural gas and gas liquids providers in the country. It’s an energy infrastructure producer, which analysts strongly agree to invest in.

8. Ciena (one hundred)

Stock price on August 28, 2021: $57.18

12-month stock growth rate: 1.877%

Type: middle cover

Ciena manufactures networking hardware along with software and services. Despite a rough start with a lack of investment, Ciena is now attracting many clients and business awards. Ciena is said to grow faster due to its robust produce.

9. Papa John’s (PZZA)

Stock price on August 28, 2021: $125.02

12-month stock growth rate: 27.551%

Type: middle cover

The year 2020 has proven to be very beneficial for Papa John’s. Its shares rose as much as 42%. With consistent sales momentum, management and necessary changes in the business, Papa John’s is making rapid progress even in the stock market.

10. Signature Bank (SBNY)

Stock price on August 28, 2021: $263.13

12-month stock growth rate: 163.001%

Type: middle cover

Analysts who rate the stocks believe this bank is incredibly well-run. Consistent loan growth, large deposits, good standing for cryptocurrency, and higher earnings make this bank one of the best performing stocks in the market.

11. Builders FirstSource Inc (BLDR)

Stock price on August 28, 2021: $53.25

12-month stock growth rate: 70.968%

Type: middle cover

Residential construction is in great demand. BLDR provides building materials, components and construction services to builders. It offers affordable materials, proactive growth decisions, and effectively meets industry housing requirements, giving it a market value of $10.1 billion.

12. XPO Logistics (XPO)

Stock price on August 28, 2021: $88.44

12-month stock growth rate: 68.361%

Type: middle cover

Along with a logistic company, XPO also operates a transport company that works with 18 countries. They provide supply chains, warehouses and ship to 27 countries. This company has a steady financial momentum with significant profits along the way giving it a market value of $9.9 billion.

13. Intuitive Surgical Inc (ISRG)

Stock price on August 28, 2021: $1036.52

12-month stock growth rate: 42.505%

Type: big hat

ISRG develops and manufactures da Vinci (robotic) surgical systems. Including all tools and accessories needed for invasive surgery. With an annual market return of 48.89%, ISRG had one of the best stock metrics in the game.

14. Fortinet Inc (FTNT)

Stock price on August 28, 2021: $316.06

12-month stock growth rate: 143.078%

Type: big hat

Revenues that grew more than 30% in mid-2021, sales increased 41%. FTNT provides cloud-based cybersecurity software. Speaking of numbers, revenue is expected to be around $3.25 billion, making this a top performing stock to buy.

15. Tesla Corporation (TSLA)

Stock price on August 28, 2021: $711.92

12-month stock growth rate: 60.821%

Type: big hat

Tesla has exceeded analysts’ expectations with increased revenue and earnings of $720 per share in 2021. Tesla’s growth year-over-year is steady and keeps going strong. Although it may seem like an expensive stock at times, with its ups and downs, some analysts still believe in Tesla and its ability to rise.

16. Adobe Inc (ADBE)

Stock price on August 28, 2021: $658.52

12-month stock growth rate: 27.512%

Type: big hat

Profit growth and cash flow growth are equally important for business expansion. Adobe is still one of the best performing stocks this year as well. Earnings per share is a growth rate of 37.5% and is also expected to grow 17.1% over the studied industry average of 10.7%. The company’s cash flow growth also remained flat at 35.5%.

17. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc (CMG)

Stock price on August 28, 2021: $1,918.95

12-month stock growth rate: 47.441%

Type: big hat

Yes, she played a part in Chipotle’s massive stock price comeback by eating her lip-smacking food. We all did. Regardless, a new CEO, rapidly growing digital sales, a push into catering and delivery services, and the opening of new restaurants have led to Chipotle’s stellar performance.

18. Apple Inc (AAPL)

Stock price on August 28, 2021: $148.50

12-month stock growth rate: 19.061%

Type: big hat

Apple’s revenue increased year-over-year by 36%. It has also grown into other areas such as wearables, accessories, iPads, services such as Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple News+, and a new credit card.

19. Align Technology Inc (ALGN)

Stock price on August 28, 2021: USD 701.98

12-month stock growth rate: 133.499%

Type: big hat

Manufacturer of digital 3D scanners and scanners Invisalign has achieved success with its most advanced clear calendar system that works wonders. They have over 9 million users and the number is growing. With the value and firmware offered to patients, ALGN is now one of the top performing stocks today.

20. Zoom Video Communications Inc (ZM)

Stock price on August 28, 2021: $340.81

12-month stock growth rate: 13.881%

Type: big hat

While 2020 has been devastating for most companies, for ZM, it has made it a pandemic success story. To help employees and businesses around the world work and communicate, Zoom has been one of the most useful tools when working from home. The company made a total of $882 million during the fourth quarter of this year.

Why it’s not likely to pick the best performing stocks

All people who have ever bought a stock think that it is the best performing stock. Otherwise why would they buy it?

But you are more likely to pick a losing stock than one that makes you very rich. This is a statement backed by 90 years of research.

From 1926 to 2015, there were 25,782 outstanding stocks. Yes, I know the number sounds low, but half of the stocks that are listed disappear within seven years.

During these 90 years, the stock market value increased by $32 trillion. But more than half of it came from Only the best 86 companies. 86 of 25728! The remaining wealth was created by the largest 1,000 shares. Only 4% of all companies ranked among the “best performing stocks”. In other words, the other 96% of stocks were losers.

Do you still think it is easy to pick winning stocks?

This is another piece of data. If you were to buy and hold stocks from 1926 to 2015, four out of seven stocks you bought would yield lower returns than if you had invested in one-month US Treasuries.

Simply investing in the best performing companies of the past year will not work either. 12 of the top 20 performers from the above list had a negative return in the year prior to that.

Stage stores are a classic example. It grew 941% to $8.12 in 2019. But its price tag in 2013 was just under $29. Before its astronomical ascent in 2019, Stage Stores had a cosmic downfall and lost almost all of its value.

you may wonder. Well, I understand that picking individual stocks is difficult, and the odds of success are low. But what is the solution then?

Best way to invest in stocks

index funds.

Index funds invest in a basket of stocks and aim to mimic an index like the S&P 500. They don’t try to pick winners (which we know is difficult). They are not trying to “beat the market”. Their goal is be the market.

Passively managed index funds outperform actively managed funds more than 90% of the time. It shows that those who try to beat the market and get huge returns fail miserably.

On the other hand, an index fund allows you to own the entire market, which has historically provided positive returns.

Since 1926, S&P has given an annual return of 10.21% for 92 years. At this rate, your invested money will double approximately every seven years.

Because of all these reasons, I recommend putting 90% of your investment in stocks into index funds instead of trying to pick winning stocks. You can use the remaining 10% to “scratch your itch” to buy individual stocks after doing your due diligence.

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