Every night on Mad Money Jim Cramer tells you that if you pick stocks carefully, and if do your homework, you can beat the pros.
That is, if you identify companies with attractive fundamentals, strong balance sheets, good management teams and an ability to grow profits, you can thrive in the stock market.
"On the show's 8th anniversary, it felt like a good time to illustrate just how much you could have beaten the pros," said Cramer.
Starting with the benchmark, had you put money in a fund that mirrored the S&P 500 on March 15th, 2005 – when Mad Money started – the fund would have returned 52%.
However, if you'd used the Mad Money strategy of picking high quality stocks and investing your money in them – you would have done a lot better.
Following is a look at 8 top performers over the last 8 years – from March 15, 2005 to March 15, 2013.
(Because share price fluctuates, total gains are approximate. Also, the following stocks all had market caps large enough at the time to be cited on CNBC television and therefore may not be the absolute best performers. "You won't find any of those single digit names that we never could have told you about, Cramer said with customary candor.)
Core Labs gained more than 1000% over the past 8 years.
"Core is a company that uses technology to help oil producers get more crude out of the ground, and we've been behind this one for ages," said Cramer.
"I think it still has plenty of room to run," he said.
Salesforce.com gained more than 1000% over the past 8 years. This stock is a Cramer 'fave'
"I've been recommending this stock repeatedly ever since Salesforce's visionary CEO, Marc Benioff, came on the show in November of 2008—right in the midst of the financial meltdown—and told us his company would be just fine."
BioMarin has gained about 1200% over the last 8 years.
It's also an orphan drug maker and develops treatments for rare diseases. This is an example of a spec play that Cramer talks so much about and how they can generate big profits.
NewMarket gained more than 1,500% over the last 8 years.
"NewMarket is a specialty chemicals company that's mainly focused on making chemicals used to improve the refining process," Cramer explained.
Not only does Cramer like that the company is involved in a rapidly growing industry, he said it's also a very shareholder friendly company.
"NewMarket retired 23% of its share count since 2007, and it paid a big $25 special dividend back in November. Honeywell should buy them, if you ask me, but no one has."
Alexion gained more than 1,500% in 8 years.
This orphan drug maker specializes in treatments for patients who suffer from rare and life-threatening diseases.
Although Cramer got behind this name in 2010, he wished he'd hit the buy button 8 years ago.
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Netflix gained more than 1800% during the last eight years.
Cramer thinks this company would fit perfectly with Apple and said as much on Wednesday March 23th
"You know I think Netflix, the king of streaming video over the Web with more than 27 million U.S. subscribers, is so hot that Apple should just buy the whole darned thing in order to bring back the patina of growth. Two birds, one stone."
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals gained over 2,700% during the last eight years.
"Regeneron stands as a testament to the power of speculation, especially when it comes to biotech stocks. Regeneron has been a horse—last year it was the best performer in the NASDAQ—another terrific example of money that you could have actually made by owning an individual stock," Cramer said.
And Cramer thinks this stock could have more catalysts.
"In addition to Eylea, their revolutionary macular degeneration drug, Regeneron has a new anti-cholesterol drug that could be a total breakthrough for everyone who can't take the current statin treatment."
Priceline gained over 3,000% during the last 8 years.
Despite the massive gains, Cramer still thinks Priceline is attractive.
"We have recommended this stock many, many times over the years, and it remains the best of breed online travel play with a terrific kicker, the soon to close merger with Kayak."
On March 6, 2013 Cramer said Priceline had a strong international strategy, a key factor in his recent bullish outlook.
Also he thinks Priceline's decision to purchase Kayak should boost the bottom line.
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