The 10 Best Tech Stocks of All Time

The best tech stocks today have been helping the market hit record highs seemingly every other day.

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The best tech stocks today have been helping the market hit record highs seemingly every other day. That’s no secret. Less well-known is how technology has delivered such a disproportionate amount of the market’s lifetime wealth creation.

We know of tech’s outsize role because a finance professor made a startling discovery about the stock market: Over a 90-year span, 96% of all stocks collectively performed no better than risk-free one-month Treasury bills. After analyzing the lifetime returns of 25,967 common stocks, Hendrik Bessembinder determined that just 1,092 of those stocks – or about 4% of the total – generated all of the $34.8 trillion in wealth created for shareholders by the stock market between July 1926 and December 2016. Even more striking, a mere 50 stocks accounted for almost 40% of that amount.

You can see where this is heading. Of these elite 50 names, fully one in five is a tech stock. In other words, when it comes to lifetime wealth creation, the best tech stocks have punched well above their weight.

Before we get to our profiles of the 10 best-performing tech stocks of all time, a word of caution. Accurately identifying the precious few “home run” stocks amid the many thousands of underachieving names is extremely difficult. Your portfolio is more likely to suffer because you guessed wrong and failed to invest in the top long-term winners, says Bessembinder of Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business.

A better alternative to trying to find a needle in a haystack? To paraphrase Jack Bogle, the Vanguard founder and pioneer of index investing: Just buy the haystack. “The results reinforce the importance of diversification,” Bessembinder says, “and low-cost index funds are an excellent way to diversify broadly.”

Without further ado, here are the 10 best tech stocks of all time.

The 10 stocks are listed in reverse order of the dollar amount of lifetime wealth creation, which includes reinvested dividends. Current stock data as of Jan. 25, 2018. Analysts' ratings provided by Zacks (opens in new tab). For more details on Bessembinder's study methodology and findings, download a copy of his paper, "Do Stocks Outperform Treasury Bills?" (opens in new tab)

Dan Burrows
Senior Investing Writer, Kiplinger.com

Dan Burrows is a financial writer at Kiplinger, having joined the august publication full time in 2016.


A long-time financial journalist, Dan is a veteran of SmartMoney, MarketWatch, CBS MoneyWatch, InvestorPlace and DailyFinance. He has written for The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Consumer Reports, Senior Executive and Boston magazine, and his stories have appeared in the New York Daily News, the San Jose Mercury News and Investor's Business Daily, among other publications. As a senior writer at AOL's DailyFinance, Dan reported market news from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and hosted a weekly video segment on equities.


Once upon a time – before his days as a financial reporter and assistant financial editor at legendary fashion trade paper Women's Wear Daily – Dan worked for Spy magazine, scribbled away at Time Inc. and contributed to Maxim magazine back when lad mags were a thing. He's also written for Esquire magazine's Dubious Achievements Awards.


In his current role at Kiplinger, Dan writes about equities, fixed income, currencies, commodities, funds, macroeconomics and more.


Dan holds a bachelor's degree from Oberlin College and a master's degree from Columbia University.


Disclosure: Dan does not trade stocks or other securities. Rather, he dollar-cost averages into cheap funds and index funds and holds them forever in tax-advantaged accounts.