The 10 Best Stocks of the Bull Market: Can They Keep It Up?

Investing in the best-performing stocks during this long bull market was a lot like winning the lottery.

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Investing in the best-performing stocks during this long bull market was a lot like winning the lottery. With cumulative returns ranging from 1,810% to 9,654%, the 10 hottest members of Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index turned modest investments into vast fortunes.

If you had invested $10,000 in shares of the top performer, General Growth Properties (symbol GGP (opens in new tab)), in March 2009, you would have suffered through a nail-biting bankruptcy. But had you held tight, your stake would be worth a remarkable $965,400 today. The same investment in Alaska Air Group (ALK (opens in new tab)) would have netted $181,000—far more than you would have had if you had invested the same sum in Vanguard 500 Index (VFIAX (opens in new tab)), a mutual fund that tracks the S&P 500.

After such fabulous runs, shareholders need to ask whether it’s time to cash in these lottery-like winnings or continue to hang on—not in hopes of duplicating the results of the past 7½-plus years, but of simply beating the market. To help them decide, and to help those who are thinking about buying these super stocks now, we take a look at the 10 best performers from March 9, 2009, through October 6, 2016, explain what made them shine and assess their prospects.

Stocks are listed in order of performance during the period. Prices and related data are as of October 20. Price-earnings ratios are based on estimated year-ahead earnings

Kathy Kristof
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Kristof, editor of SideHusl.com (opens in new tab), is an award-winning financial journalist, who writes regularly for Kiplinger's Personal Finance and CBS MoneyWatch. She's the author of Investing 101, Taming the Tuition Tiger and Kathy Kristof's Complete Book of Dollars and Sense. But perhaps her biggest claim to fame is that she was once a Jeopardy question: Kathy Kristof replaced what famous personal finance columnist, who died in 1991? Answer: Sylvia Porter.