There was a fun item in the Wall Street Journal over the weekend touting the best-performing U.S. stock over the past 30 years. It's not Apple or Google or any other big name, but little-known Balchem, which is up 107,099 percent since the end of 1985. It's gone from less than a dollar per share to 56 as of last week.
Balchem, which makes flavorings, fumigating gases and nutritional additives for animal feed, isn't that little, though - its total stock market value is about $1.7 billion. Since the end of 1985, Balchem has gained an average of 26.2 percent annually, compared with 10.3 percent for the S&P 500.
Not many stocks ever return 100,000 percent, but over the past 30 years, 44 U.S. stocks have generated total returns of 10,000 percent or more, according to FactSet. Those include Home Depot, Amgen, Nike, UnitedHealth Group, Danaher, Altair, Kansas City Southern, Apple and Altria Group.