The stock has gone nowhere. I've touted its killer business model, celebrated its industry-dominating position, gushed over its cash-clad balance sheet, and put its CEO on a pedestal. I've even lobbied David and Tom Gardner to add it to Stock Advisor's monthly Best Buys Now.

I bet my own money on it.

Yet despite all my praise and all my cheerleading, and a killer earnings report earlier this month, the stock won't budge. In fact, over the past 12 months, while the market climbed to new post-meltdown highs, my stock wallowed, stumbled, and then fell sharply.

Yeah, I'm looking pretty bad on this one. And Stock Advisor members have let me know about it. They're frustrated, and so am I.

But I'm going to keep telling them to hold on, because there's a very real chance they could make 408% on their money if they can be patient for a just a bit longer.

408%? Come Again?
Let me illustrate with a sampling of once-similarly frustrated firms:


Down Period

Performance Over
Down Period

10-Year Performance

DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV)

4/30/04 to 1/30/06
(1 year, 9 months)



Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX)

8/31/06 to 9/30/08
(2 years, 1 months)



Apollo Group (Nasdaq: APOL)

6/1/04 to 8/30/06
(2 years, 3 months)



Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM)

9/29/00 to 4/1/02
(1 years, 6 months)



Stryker (NYSE: SYK)

6/30/04 to 6/30/06
(2 years)



McDonald's (NYSE: MCD)

12/31/01 to 1/30/03
(2 years, 1 month)



Data provided by Capital IQ.

Even though these companies endured punishing declines that lasted for at least a year, and sometimes much longer, they still managed impressive, market-crushing gains of 408% on average over the last 10 years. That's even more impressive considering the broader market was actually down 18% over that same stretch.

How did they pull off these kinds of gains? Because while investors were busy giving up on them during ugly times, these companies were quietly growing their sales and profits, building market share, and developing new, can't-miss products and services. Once the market finally woke up to the story, their stocks rebounded sharply. Patient investors who held on through thick and thin were rewarded...BIG time.

My favorite going-nowhere stock
Since hitting its own peak back in July 2008, my stock -- Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq: ATVI) -- now sits about 50% lower, a dreadful performance over a year and seven months. Yet by all accounts, the Activision of today, after the massive success of its Call of Duty and Guitar Hero franchises, and the merger with Vivendi, is a much stronger company.

Do I think Activision can have the type of great performance that these other winners have had? You bet, but it will take time and, yes, patience. The video game industry is in the doldrums right now, but it's still one of the fastest growing entertainment mediums on the planet, and Activision is the top dog. New versions of World of Warcraft and Starcraft coming out this year will be major – no, mega -- hits. Plus, Activision sits on a mountain of more than $3 billion in cash, $1 billion of which it has set aside to buy back its own stock in the years to come. The rest will go toward developing the next generation of blockbuster video games, keeping Activision's growth engine in overdrive.

I just need to stop fixating on day-to-day price swings and stay focused on the bigger picture: Activision is a quality business with humongous potential, and it's trading at its lowest price in quite some time. I don't want to lose sight of that.

In fact, I can't afford to lose sight of that. Any day now the market is going to catch on to the story, and if I sell out before then, I'll miss out on some huge gains.

Your ticket to 408% returns
Finding great stocks and holding them through those inevitable -- and sometimes heart-wrenching -- down periods sure isn't easy. But that's Job No. 1 for me and my fellow teammates at Stock Advisor. Our recommendations are beating the market by more than 50% on average since the service started in 2002.

Take a free 30-day trial to see all our top ideas for new money today. We're pretty sure we've got some 408% contenders on our scorecard. They're worth checking out, because patience is a terrible thing to waste.

Matthew Argersinger wrote puts on Activision Blizzard, and can't wait for the Starcraft II launch later this year, but doesn't own any of the other stocks mentioned. Apollo Group, Quest Diagnostics, and Stryker are Motley Fool Inside Value choices. Activision Blizzard is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Motley Fool Options has recommended a synthetic long position on Activision Blizzard. The Fool owns shares of Activision Blizzard and Stryker. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.