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If was seven years ago today the stock market hit rock bottom, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Wednesday, and since that generational low in 2009, the market caught fire and hasn't looked back. That's why Cramer took a few minutes to recap the top stocks since the bottom.
Cramer said the top stock, General Growth Properties (GGP) , which is up 9,975% since 2009, was not a household name that most investors would recognize. However, numbers two through four -- Regeneron (REGN) , Under Armour (UA) and Wyndham Worldwide (WYN) -- were all hiding in plain sight.
Extra Space Storage (EXR) was another big winner investors may have missed, but moving down the list to Priceline (PCLN) , Signet Jewelers (SIG) and semiconductor maker Qorvo (QRVO) , were easy to spot. Rounding out the top 15 were United Airlines (UAL) , L Brands (LB) and Cramer fave Starbucks (SBUX) , also household names.
Cramer said he still endorses owning a good index fund as a way to get into stocks, but as all of these top stocks show, finding real gems with outstanding performance isn't out of reach for even the smallest investor.
One-Dimensional 3D Systems
Are the 3-D printing stocks catching fire again after a long two-year hiatus? 3D Systems (DDD) has seen its shares rise 37% in 2016, prompting Cramer to take a closer look.
Cramer noted the 3-D printing stocks were on fire in the post-recession era, with 3D Systems rallying 910% between 2012 and 2014, only to round-trip and give back all of those gains.
What went wrong? Cramer said 3D Systems was on an acquisition binge, buying no fewer than 16 companies in 2011 and 2012. That was a red flag for Wall Street because the company was simply buying its growth.
The strategy at 3D Systems was to buy up all of the talent in the industry, a strategy that went wrong very fast when company management admitted that it didn't care about profits or margins and simply planned to continue spending money on more acquisitions.
By 2015, 3D Systems finally abandoned its losing strategy of buying up everything in sight, and its interim CEO is giving investors new hope for a recovery. Cramer said he's not among the bulls in this case because this company has shown little that it’s on the road to recovery.