Although there have certainly been bumps along the way, overall it's been a terrific decade for stock investors: The S&P 500 has returned about 14% annually during the past 10 years. Notably, some of the index's heaviest weighted components are up far more than that. For instance, Apple (AAPL) has returned about 31% annually; Amazon (AMZN), 42% per year; and UnitedHealth Group (UNH), 29%.
Such stock market successes are often well deserved. During the past 10 years, many of the market's best performers (including the trio mentioned above) have carved out economic moats, thanks to their innovation, brand, scale or network effect, and investors have rewarded them for it. And as is often the case, investors continue to reward them: Apple, Amazon, and UnitedHealth are all outperforming the market this year, too.
Susan Dziubinski does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar's editorial policies.