In investing, a general rule of thumb is that stocks will return roughly 7%-10% per year over the long term. Using the Rule of 72 as a guide, investors can expect to double their initial investment every seven-to-10 years, on average.
Of course, that's simply the average. If you had the foresight to buy these three companies a mere 52-weeks ago, you'd be sitting on returns in excess of 100%.
GPUs: The brightest spot in the technology industry
Graphics processing units (GPU) manufacturers have been on fire. The two largest GPU manufacturers, NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) and AMD (NASDAQ:AMD), are both up approximately 150% during the past one-year period. The overall industry is in the midst of positive tailwinds: The growth of eSports and virtual reality functionality will most likely lead to a large upgrade cycle for both companies.
It's folly to assume that both companies are in the same place financially. AMD has consistently struggled with profitability, and is viewed as more of a turnaround investment. In the last few years, NVIDIA has gobbled up market share to the detriment of AMD, rising from 60% add-in board unit market share in 2014 to nearly 80% as of the end of 2015. NVIDIA has transitioned to a platform company, with solutions for gaming, VR, and even automotive markets.
Recently, both companies have introduced new graphics architecture: NVIDIA announced its Pascal in May, while AMD introduced Polaris soon thereafter. With favorable industry tailwinds, it's likely both companies can continue to power higher.
One Chinese stock that's swimming against the tide
The last year hasn't been positive for the greater Chinese stock market, with the Shanghai Composite Index down 15% during this time frame. As far as economic conditions, the country is cooling a bit: The World Bank now expects fellow Asian country India to surpass the country from a GDP growth standpoint. One stock that seems to be unaffected is Chinese social network Weibo (NASDAQ:WB), which has increased approximately 130% in the last year.
Two factors are leading Weibo's over performance. The first is the company's huge increase in monthly active users. In its annual filing, Weibo reported 236 million monthly active users, or MAUs, in December 2015, up 34% from its 175.7 million the company reported in in December 2014. Additionally, 83% of Weibo's MAUs accessed Weibo from their mobile devices in 2015; 63% of the company's advertising and marketing revenue was from high-growth mobile.
The second reason is that the company has been rumored to be an acquisition target for the past year. Chinese etailer Alibaba has been mentioned as the potential acquirer. Alibaba already owns approximately 30% of Weibo, and current Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang is on Weibo's board of directors.
If you're looking for a stock positioned to grow from increased internet activity from a growing Chinese middle class, keep Weibo on your watchlist.