While "slow and steady wins the race" is a good maxim for investors to follow, sometimes stocks provide outsized returns right away. And while you shouldn't invest with the idea that a company will double, triple, or even quadruple in value in a short amount of time, it's nice when a stock you own does just that.
Overstock.com (up 370%)
Closeout retailer Overstock.com had traded at fairly stable levels for the past few years, never really deviating much from about $15 to $20 a share. That is, until last September, when its stock began to take off. As of this writing, it trades north of $80 a share.
The rise in stock price coincided with Overstock's announcement that it would be entering the cryptocurrency trading business. The announcement came as bitcoin soared from around $3,000 to $18,000 and was gripping investors. What set Overstock's announcement apart from other coin trading offerings was its decision to do it through the established regulatory framework and be in compliance with SEC and FINRA regulations.
Other companies have begun trying to climb onto the bitcoin and cryptocurrency bandwagon in ways that should have investors scratching their heads, but Overstock.com's coming overhaul appears to be more grounded.
With a 370% gain in value over the past year -- almost 400% in just six months -- a $5,000 investment in Overstock.com would now be worth almost $23,500.
Weight Watchers (up 390%)
It wasn't just Oprah Winfrey's speech at the Golden Globes and the subsequent talk of her running for president that sent Weight Watchers' stock rocketing higher (it did add about 20% or so to its gains, however). Winfrey invested more than $40 million for a 10% stake in Weight Watchers back in 2015 and since then, the weight-loss program has notched a series of successes.
Certainly Winfrey signing on as an investor two years ago helped propel shares higher as the media maven kept her fans up to date on her weight-loss journey via social media. But a change by Weight Watchers positioning itself more as a healthy eating program also helped boost the popularity of the program founded more than 50 years ago. It went from losing members in the year before converting to the new meal plan to reporting back-to-back years of higher member numbers.
And now it has added another social-media-savvy personality to its lineup, music impresario DJ Khaled, who will be using Weight Watchers new Freestyle program, which makes even more food zero-point items, meaning members don't need to track them. Since they're generally healthier than other foods, the weight loss center sees it as an overall benefit to the dieter's well-being.
Recent times have been great for Weight Watchers stock, which would have turned a $5,000 investment in the company one year ago into $24,500 today.
Madrigal Pharmaceuticals (up 524%)
Madrigal Pharmaceuticals has been the big winner from this list over the past year, as its stock has quintupled in value. The rise is largely as a result of its MGL-3196 experimental treatment for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, which is a form of fatty liver disease, showing statistically significant improvements in many key endpoints in a phase 2 clinical trial. The clinical stage biopharmaceutical's drug apparently helps decrease liver fat compared to a placebo, while low-density lipoprotein cholesterol counts and liver enzymes also improved.
Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH, has no FDA-approved treatment on the market so the potential for Madrigal's MGL-3196 to become a blockbuster drug is substantial, especially considering treatment of the condition is seen as one of the biggest markets pharmaceuticals can expect to see over the next decade.
While there are a number of biotechs actively plying these waters, Madrigal Pharmaceuticals' good news has many seeing it out in the forefront. That's also where its stock happens to be after the 500% gain it enjoyed, all of it over the last six months. A $5,000 investment in the biotech one year ago as it was just charting its course would be worth over $31,200 today.