You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

10 Stocks That Would Have Made You Rich

InvestorPlace Logo By Dan Burrows of InvestorPlace | Slide 1 of 11: A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during the afternoon of  December 18, 2014 in New York City.

These big winners can offer valuable lessons and insights

As every investor should know by now, past performance is not an indication of future returns. That said, looking back at what the market and individual stocks have done over the long haul can offer valuable lessons and insights for the future.

The last 10 years don't feel like they've been very kind to equity investors, and it's true that returns have been disappointing compared to long-term averages.

The S&P 500 is up 118% over the decade on a total return basis (ice appreciation plus dividends). Adjusted for inflation, that comes to an annualized return of 6%. Going back to the 1800s, the market has delivered an annualized gain after inflation of almost 7%.

The shortfall isn't really a disaster, but it certainly set back any number of investors and retirees. It's even more painful when considering the returns of the hottest stocks of the last 10 years. A sizable enough stake in any of these names a decade ago would have made an investor rich by now.

One takeaway from the list of hottest stocks of the last 10 years is the emergence of biotechnology. Fully half the top 10 are biotech stocks. On the other hand, the list also shows that it's not absolutely necessary to be part of a high-growth industry to put up eye-popping returns.

Another takeaway is that with a few exceptions, today's big stars are absent from the list. Apple (AAPL), for example, has a total return of 2,184% over the last decade, according to S&P Capital IQ, but that doesn't allow it to crack the top 10.

The lesson there is that the best-performing stocks of the future are likely to be names no one's heard of or cares about now.

Here are the 10 best stocks of the last 10 years -- stocks that would have made you rich by now -- on a total return basis. (In order to avoid a list being dominated by one-time penny stocks, we limited our search to the Russell 1000.)

Read More: The 10 Best Stocks for the Next 10 Years

© Andrew Burton/Getty Images

More from InvestorPlace

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon