Let's say you bought all 30 of today's Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) stocks 20 years ago, then held them until today. OK, so only 27 of them existed that long ago, but you get my drift. Which of these elite stocks would have delivered the strongest returns over two decades?

The answers might surprise you. The only consumer-centric company in the top three turns out to be Nike (NYSE:NKE). The other two are utterly boring businesses: health insurer UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) and industrial giant United Technologies (NYSE:UTX).

These three stocks have totally demolished the Dow over the last 20 years, each in its own way. But they do share one crucial quality.

In the video below, Fool analyst Anders Bylund uncovers the secret that helped Nike, UnitedHealth, and United Technologies crush the market in the long run, and he explains how you can use this trick to find the next multidecade market-beater.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Nike and UnitedHealth Group. The Motley Fool owns shares of Nike. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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