These are the 10 best-performing stocks of this century

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Stocks can soar and plunge on a daily basis, but over time, the companies that consistently and responsibly grow their operations and show clear signs of progress tend to be rewarded by investors.

The 10 best-performing stocks in the S&P 500 index since 2000 are listed below, starting with number 10.

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10. Ross Stores

10. Ross Stores

Return: 4,161%

Ross Stores is the largest off-price retailer in the US, offering discounts of 20% to 60% on name-brand apparel, footwear, and other items compared to department and specialty stores. The company opened its first Ross Dress for Less in 1982 and now runs more than 1,700 stores across 38 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam.

Ross Stores has grown its revenue from $2.7 billion in the year to February 2001 to $15 billion last fiscal year, and net income from about $152 million to $1.6 billion over the same period.

9. Apple

9. Apple

Return: 4,900%

Apple is one of the most valuable companies in the world with a market capitalization of more than $800 billion. Its founders, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, together with current CEO Tim Cook, have revolutionized computing, communication, entertainment and other industries with products such as the iPod, iPad, iPhone, and Macintosh, and services such as the App Store, Apple Pay, and iTunes.

The tech titan sold close to 218 million iPhones last fiscal year. It has grown its net sales from just under $8 billion in the year to September 2000 to $266 billion last fiscal year, and net income from $786 million to $59.5 billion over the same period.

8. Mastercard

8. Mastercard

Return: 5,495%

Mastercard, founded in 1966, is one of the world's largest payment-services companies. It issues credit and debit cards under the Mastercard, Maestro, and Cirrus brands. It has more than 800 million cards in circulation, and recorded $5.9 trillion in gross dollar volumes in 2018, according to its annual report.

The group has grown its revenue from about $1.4 billion in 2000 to $15 billion last year, and its net income from $118 million to $5.9 billion over the same period.

7. Idexx Laboratories

7. Idexx Laboratories

Return: 6,082%

Idexx Laboratories provides veterinary diagnostics, practice-management software, and biological testing in more than 175 countries. Its products and services are used to treat small pets, livestock, and poultry, to test water quality and dairy products, and to analyse human patients' electrolytes and blood gases.

Idexx has grown revenues from $367 million in 2000 to $2.2 billion in 2018, and net income more than tenfold to $377 million over the same period.

6. Ansys

6. Ansys

Return: 6,657%

Ansys provides engineering-simulation software and services to customers including General Electric, Samsung, Ford, and Philips. Its offerings are used by engineers, designers, researchers, and students across industries including aerospace and defense, automotive, energy, consumer products, healthcare, and sports.

Ansys has grown its revenues from about $74 million in 2000 to $1.3 billion in revenue last year, and net income from $16 million to $419 million over the same period.

5. Intuitive Surgical

5. Intuitive Surgical

Return: 7,961%

Intuitive Surgical specialises in minimally invasive, robotic-assisted platforms, and services. More than 44,000 surgeons are trained to use its da Vinci surgical system, which has been deployed in more than 5 million procedures, including 1 million last year. The company has installed nearly 5,000 Da Vinci systems in hospitals worldwide, according to its latest annual report.

Intuitive has grown its sales from about $27 million in 2000 to $3.7 billion last year, and swung from a net loss of around $19 million to $1.1 billion in net income over the same period.

4. Equinix

4. Equinix

Return: 8,502%

Equinix connects more than 9,800 companies to their customers and partners through its data centers and interconnection platform. Netflix, AT&T, Ford, and PayPal use its hub to access services such as cloud storage from Amazon, Google, and Microsoft.

Equinix has grown from revenues of $13 million in 2000 to $5.1 billion last year, and transformed a net loss of $120 million into net income of $365 million over the same period.

3. Tractor Supply

3. Tractor Supply

Return: 10,240%

Tractor Supply is the largest retailer of farm-and-ranch supplies and equipment in America. Founded in 1938, it boasted 1,940 stores across 49 states at the end of 2018, according to its annual report. Livestock and pet products accounted for 47% of its net sales, while hardware, tools, and truck products made up 22%. Seasonal, gift, and toy products generated 19%, and clothing and footwear and agriculture products made up the balance.

Tractor Supply has grown its net sales more than tenfold in less than 20 years, from $759 million in 2000 to to $7.9 billion in 2018. It also boosted its net income from $16 million to about $532 million over the same period.

2. Netflix

2. Netflix

Return: 30,359%

Netflix boasted more than 139 million subscribers in over 190 countries at the end of 2018. The on-demand video-streaming platform has drawn and kept subscribers by spending billions on the rights to TV series such as "Friends" and "The Office" and producing original shows such as "Stranger Things," "The Crown," and "13 Reasons Why."

Netflix has grown its sales from about $36 million in 2000 to $15.8 billion last year, and swung from a net loss of $57 million to net income of $1.2 billion over the same period.

1. Monster Beverage

1. Monster Beverage

Return: 70,511%

Monster Beverage has vastly outperformed all other S&P 500 stocks since 2000. It sells a range of drinks under brands such as Monster Energy, NOS, and Full Throttle. Its share price has surged from below $0.10 in January 2003 to more than $63, lifting its market value from less than $1 million to almost $35 billion.

The group has grown its net sales from about $80 million in 2000 to $3.8 billion in 2018, and net income from $4 million to $993 million over the same period.

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