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Google is up 1,700% since its IPO. But these stocks have done better.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai
Chesnot | Getty Images
Google CEO Sundar Pichai

Alphabet has climbed 1,700 percent since it went public a dozen years ago under the name Google, but 10 other S&P 500 stocks, mostly in tech, have eclipsed the search giant's gains.

"Most of the innovation's coming out of that sector," said Paul Hickey, co-founder of Bespoke Investment Group. He noted the outperforming tech firms were generally software-focused companies that have harnessed scale to generate revenue.

Topping the list is a whopping 11,600 percent gain by Monster Beverage, followed by a 6,900 percent rise in Priceline shares. Illumina is up nearly 6,600 percent and Apple almost 4,700 percent, while salesforce.com is up almost 2,500 since Google went public on Aug. 19, 2004.

"You always worry about valuations, overpricing, but there might be a premium for what some of the disruptors may provide in an overall slow growth environment," said Ben Pace, CIO of HPM Partners.

Also among the top S&P 500 performers over the last 12 years are three of the so-called "FANG" stocks — Facebook, Amazon.com, Netflix and Google — these growth names were particularly popular last year when a very narrow group drove much of the S&P 500's performance in 2015.

To be sure, those super-strong gains don't come without a lot of volatility. All the big fliers have had a big fall, sometimes more than 60 percent.

"Some of them have really turned into really good, solid businesses and they've really grown into their multiples," said Thomas Lee, co-founder and head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors. He noted it's a good reminder that sometimes investors "can't be multiple sensitive."

Netflix is up more than 4,000 percent and Amazon.com is up more than 1,800 percent. Facebook wasn't publicly traded at the time of Google's IPO. Shares of the social network have gained more than 220 percent since its IPO on May 18, 2012.

"I don't think the FANG stocks are as important as they were in 2015," said Marc Chaikin, CEO of Chaikin Analytics. "They're doing well, which is always a comfort, but it is the average stock in the S&P that's propelling the market to new highs."

Over the last 12 years, the broad S&P 500 index is up nearly 100 percent to record highs. That's far less than Google's gains, but the historically high price-to-earnings ratio for the index raises concerns for bull market skeptics.

Investors may also want to watch when growth stocks start losing momentum.

"You're not going to be able to buy (the outperformers) cheap," Hickey said. "They tend to have much more volatility. You have to have a pretty strong stomach to ride the wave."

And external pressures, such as slow global growth, can also weigh. Under pressure from the sluggish economic recovery and post-financial crisis regulation, financials dominate the S&P 500 laggards since Google's IPO. AIG is nearly 95 percent lower, Citigroup off nearly 90 percent and Bank of America 65 percent lower over that time.