What’s the Best Performing Stock of the Last Few Years?

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The following is an excerpt from Richard Russell's Dow Theory Letters

What's the best performing stock of the last few years? Would you believe it -- it's a leading seller of bolts, screws and nuts. (Their products are known as threaded fasteners in the trade.) The name of the hot company is Fastenal.

The stock has been trading for 25 years. The stock has as gone from 13 cents on October 19, 1987 to a recent $50.85. Over the past year Fastenal has gained 60%.

The company stocks thousands of varieties of bolts, nuts, screws and cotter pins in 2,600 stores and serves retail and wholesale customers. For many companies, Fastenal's products are absolutely essential. Whole factories can shut down for lack of one of Fastenal's specially threaded bolts. Fastenal has no serious competition. It would be too difficult to compete with Fastenal's thousands of products for spot delivery. In other words, while Fastenal's products are mundane, many companies can't live without them. If maybe five of a certain bolt is needed, price is absolutely no object. The particular bolt may cost a dollar a piece, but if Fastenal can supply the bolt immediately, the price doesn't mean a thing.

Fastenal had 45 stores in 1987, which was the year its owner decided to take Fastenal public. The company offered 100,000 of the million shares to its employees. Up to date, the price of Fastenal has risen 38,565% and today the company has a market value of $15 billion. It has stores in all 50 states and has also moved into Mexico, Canada, Asia and Europe.

Lesson -- Deal in products that everyone needs. Supply those products in varieties that are beyond the capabilities of any other purveyor. Then offer your products for immediate delivery.

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