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5-Stock Recommendations Review, Five Years Later

In this episode of Rule Breaker Investing: Review-a-palooza! The Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner is joined by The Motley Fool's Maria Gallagher to review 10 stock recommendations from past 5-Stock Samplers, including the first ever 5-Stock Sampler. Discover how these samplers have performed over the years against the market and whether they're still active recommendations.

Also, don't miss Fool School, where David goes through the topics covered and much more.

To catch full episodes of all The Motley Fool's free podcasts, check out our podcast center. To get started investing, check out our quick-start guide to investing in stocks. A full transcript follows the video.

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This video was recorded on September 8, 2020.

David Gardner: September is the month that I picked my first ever 5-Stock Sampler for Rule Breaker Investing. It was my 11th podcast at the time, and the date was Sept. 2, 2015. I thought at the time, hey, I pick a lot of stocks for Motley Fool Stock Advisor and Motley Fool Rule Breakers -- done that for a long time. Why wouldn't I pick a few for free as a free sampler, if you will, here on Rule Breaker Investing. I likened it to when you go to your favorite grocery store and they put out a few free samples of something tasty. That day, I picked five stocks for the next five years, and I said at the time, I think they'll beat the market and let's check back in in five years.

Well, it's been exactly five years, and in the intervening time, I've gone on to pick 25 more 5-Stock Samplers, including last week's 5 Stocks Indistinguishable from Magic. The vast majority of them have beaten the market, a much higher percentage than I ever would have thought, but we have had a few losers. So, get ready for some glory and some pain for this Review-a-palooza! episode, only on this week's Rule Breaker Investing.

Welcome back to Rule Breaker Investing, it's a delight to have you join with us. This week last week, I picked 5 Stocks Indistinguishable From Magic, borrowing the Arthur C. Clarke, that lovely phrase from him. And I will say, in the intervening week, where the market has not been strong, they don't look very magical seven days later, but let's hope one, two, and three years later that my 5 Stocks Indistinguishable From Magic have created some magic. May be a good opportunity, if you did not hear that episode last week, to listen to it and maybe even to act on some of it because you're getting a discount from what listeners last week got looking at those five stocks. But yeah, five stocks is in the air because I've made a habit, and in some ways a podcast career anyway, of picking 5-Stock Samplers every 10 weeks or so, five a year, going back to September of 2015.

And because the calendar doesn't change very much, if you do something around this time, and every 50 or so weeks you repeat it, you end up doing this multiple times. So I picked a bunch of samplers, as it turns out, because of the calendar, in September. Which means, when September rolls around every year, here we are reviewing past ones, and a lot of them. So, I'm very happy, shortly, to be joined by my pal and analyst Maria Gallagher here from The Motley Fool to go over two of our past 5-Stock Samplers, but I want to get a couple of bookkeeping items out of the way first.

The first is, well, as I mentioned, we'll be reviewing two 5-Stock Samplers, one from five years ago this month and another from three years ago this month. So that's what we have in store. But I also want to mention, for people who are enjoying Motley Fool Live, that we have something special happening on our website this week and next week. So from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. every day, that one-hour eastern time, we're doing Fool School for Fools of all ages, but primarily high school and up. We are covering every topic that we think students would want to know, whether you're a younger student or a student of life. We're going to start with saving, debt, college, and best financial habits this week. And then next week, we're going to shift to investing, get started investing one and two, mindset, investing 101, looking at financial statements, more complicated things. And then finally, Andy Cross, our Chief Investment Officer, and I will be closing it out on Friday September 18 with why Fools win. So, one hour of programming for those who are looking for a little bit of extra schooling this strange Fall where a lot of us are physically distanced or doing things online. Some parents may be casting around for things to do -- well, we're giving you something to give, we hope, the gift of a lifetime to your kids, nieces, nephews, grandkids in the form of Fool School this week and next.

And speaking of next week, next week's show, we will finally be getting rid of 5-Stock Samplers and we'll be into one of my favorite recurring topics on this podcast and that is, company culture tips. Now, this is maybe the sixth or seventh in the series where I have my pals Kara Chambers and Lee Burbage on from The Motley Fool's People team, and we share how to improve your company culture and things that we're trying here at The Fool. Some things have worked, some things have not. We share all of those things with you in this series.

I should also mention that I use culture to invest on, I'm trying to invest in the best company cultures in the world. Culture usually outlasts the people who work in it or the products or services. And so, when you and I can identify great culture and get invested in it, well, that's a great investment approach, too. So we tend to talk about investing, but a lot of it is for small businesses and for entrepreneurs. And our theme next week, and wouldn't you want us to do this, is working-from-home culture tips. So what has The Motley Fool done since my brother Tom Gardner, our CEO, closed Fool offices the first week of March? What are we doing? What are we learning? We're going to learn a lot from you, too, because we always invite, via our email address RBI@Fool.com, or of course, you can always tweet us @RBIPodcast, any tips or thoughts you have about working from home. So that'll be our subject next week.

Alright. Well, let's get started with this week's Review-a-palooza! And 5 Great Stocks You've Never Heard Of were on my mind Sept. 13 of 2017. So we are recording this the afternoon of Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020 -- that means, technically, this three-year 5-Stock Sampler will not end yet. The numbers we're going to go over today will be fixed finally by the end of this week. There's a chance they'll change, but probably not enough in our favor to make this a winning 5-Stock Sampler. But when we do talk about winners and winners-win, I think Maria Gallagher is a winner, I get to work with her every day and I want to introduce and welcome Maria back to this podcast. Maria, how are you doing?

Maria Gallagher: I'm good, thank you. Thanks so much for having me.

Gardner: Could you briefly describe how you got to The Motley Fool and what you do?

Gallagher: Sure. So my name is Maria. I've been at The Fool a little over two years. I started as an intern on The Motley Fool Asset Management team two summers ago, and then I've been on upstairs and The Fool backside team for a year-and-a-half now.

Gardner: Wonderful. And so, you and I have gotten to work together on and off over the years, but definitely on now as you make your contributions to services that I work on, Stock Advisor being the largest of its kind. In fact, we actually think the Motley Fool Stock Advisor may be the largest such service in the entire world. We have a lot of members who rely on advice to, we hope, beat the market. Now, I'm sorry to say that this particular 5-Stock Sampler was not a market beater, Maria. It is three years ago this month, Sept. 13. I don't know if that was a Friday, but it feels like there's some Friday the 13th [laughs] in this particular group of stocks.

So you and I looked these over earlier. Let me give the accounting first. So the stock market, which is always what we're trying to beat, is up 26.1% since Sept. 13, 2017. So we'll just round that to 26%. And that's what we're trying to beat. Now, this is one of the more unusual 5-Stock Samplers in that not one, but two of these companies were subsequently bought out. That's right, they were purchased by another company, which pumped their stocks up briefly but left us without some of our better players to keep swimming forward. So let's go there first, Maria.

I mentioned Sept. 13 being the opening day. Well, by June 6, 2018, Orbital ATK, ticker symbol OA, got bought out. Maria, can you share a little bit about what Orbital ATK is and what happened?

Gallagher: So Orbital is a traditional aerospace and defense company, so there's a lot of focus on aerospace and missile defense systems. And it was bought out in June of 2018 for $7.8 billion from Northrop Grumman. It's now in the Innovation Systems of their revenue. And they are targeting strategic intercontinental ballistic missiles -- which I just think was a great phrase that I wanted to throw in. But so, they are now a part of a different company.

Gardner: Yes. And ICBMs, for those who remember the Cold War, that's especially, I think, back to an earlier era of history where those were very significant. But Orbital ATK conducted a lot of aerospace work and, you know, was a solid company. It was at $108/SHARE three years ago this month. Got bought out by Northrop Grumman, as Maria mentioned, at $134.50. So, yeah, it was up 25%, the market was up 11%. We got a +14% when it got pulled off this scorecard as part of Northrop Grumman.

And then it was less than a year after that, Maria, that our second company, the Ultimate Software Group, ticker symbol ULTI, itself got bought out. What happened there?

Gallagher: So that was interesting. That was a private equity buyout for $11 billion. And that was led by private equity firm Hellman & Friedman. And that was a cloud-based management system for HCM, which is Human Capital Management.

Gardner: Yeah, very successful company. One of the things I remember when we first picked it for Rule Breakers way back before this was, and I think it was Matt Argersinger, our longtime analyst who selected it. But this is a company where people loved to work at this company. Now, at The Motley Fool, when you get a new stock pick from us, we've generally looked at the cultures of the companies. We care a lot. We look at Glassdoor and other things, even though Glassdoor, itself, for those who know that online tool that allows employees to rate their marketplaces, often it's a small sample size. It can be a little bit overrated because you're not really hearing from everybody, but for those who did hear about from Ultimate Software, they loved working at the company. And as you mentioned Human Capital Management, basically kind of managing your human resources, traditional HR department, using cloud-based software -- that was the Ultimate Software Group's ultimate goal. And it really was a great stock pick. It was at $187.19/SHARE three years ago. It was bought out for $331.50 by the private equity firm. That gave us a 77% return (audio gap 00:10:54-00:11:30) a lot of hope, though they had a big future, I'll be sad. For example, when Marvel, one of our best stock picks in Motley Fool Stock Advisor, yeah, the superhero company, when it was bought out by Disney, I was sad that day. I do believe, as great as Marvel has been with Disney -- and let's face it, Disney has greatly propelled Marvel -- nevertheless, it was such a small company, it's gone on to such great heights. If we had a pure-play ownership of Marvel, I bet we would have done even better. But then again, Maria, sometimes companies get a decent premium, and you're like, well, OK, well, the private equity company bought them and we'll move on.

In your admittedly shorter investing career, since you're significantly younger than I am, and congratulations for that, have you had any experience of buyouts? Do you have any developed opinions around these kinds of things?

Gallagher: I think that it's interesting. Private equity generally looks, from what I understand, a lot of times it's more short term, so it's focused a lot on cuts and efficiency. And so, I know that it's common -- sometimes companies will go private equity and then spun out again, which I think is interesting. I think that happened with Levi. So Levi became public again as of the beginning of last year. And so, I think it's interesting, it generally focuses on that efficiency, and then sometimes it'll get spun out again and sometimes it won't.

Gardner: And well said, and you're absolutely right, we've had a bunch of our companies in Stock Advisor and Rule Breakers acquired by private equity and then spun out some years later. And if and when that happens, we take a second look. Often, they've been restructured, most of the value that could have been squeezed out of in the near term has been, so they're not necessarily as attractive. And yet, when good companies come back out, I'm still willing to take a look. So, that's it for those two companies, and now let's talk briefly about the other three.

And part of the fun of this sampler was intentionally selecting more obscure companies, expecting certainly, hoping that they would beat the market. When you and I talked earlier this morning about this, you were like, I haven't really heard of any of these companies, which I hope you had fun learning more about, but that's because they are obscure. I'm going to give them alphabetically, the three others in this 5-Stock Sampler, Blackbaud (NASDAQ: BLKB), Littelfuse (NASDAQ: LFUS), and NuVasive (NASDAQ: NUVA). These three companies, the ticker symbols BLKB, for Blackbaud; LFUS, for Littelfuse; and then, NuVasive is NUVA. Now, each of these companies is down between 5% and 31%. And given that the market is up substantially more than that, all three have badly underperformed over these three years.

Of these three, Maria, which one interests you the most?

Gallagher: I think, from an intellectual standpoint, Blackbaud I find very interesting. So it manages databases for nonprofits. So they raise money, they track the money, keep up with the statistics of fundraising. And it had to shift its business model into more of a SaaS [software-as-a-service] model, so that made it kind of a tough couple of years for them. And then, between February and March of this year, it was down 37%. It's rebounded a little bit, rebounded about 30% since then, but a big problem for them during COVID is they do a lot of work with organizations like museums, performing art centers, and theaters, all of which are shut down for a probably significantly long time due to the coronavirus. So I had never heard of this company before.

And I think it's really interesting. We look a lot at companies that have a lot of optionality, but I also think that there is something to be said for companies that really succeed within a niche, and so the idea of succeeding within the databases for nonprofit seems really interesting to me.

Gardner: That's really well put, and I agree. In fact, I first picked this stock in Motley Fool Rule Breakers back on Nov. 15, 2006, so it has been almost a 14-year hold. Now, as you mentioned, Maria, with the decline in just the last year, it was at a high of $120 in 2018, I was feeling great about this 5-Stock Sampler right around then, but since then, it's been about cut in half, which has caused Blackbaud's long-term results to be an underperformer. For us in our 14 years, we're up 160%, market is up 230%. So basically it has underperformed. But I still like it, and I do think as our economy comes back and gives rebounds, that not-for-profit management space, which Blackbaud is a significant player in, should rebound, as well, so we'll see. But not early enough for this three-year 5-Stock Sampler unfortunately ill-timed, if you will, or just a bad pick on my part. Blackbaud has underperformed. And just to put a number on it, Blackbaud down 31%, market, over the three years, up 34%. It's under 65%, which pretty much wiped out the benefits of Ultimate Software and Orbital ATK.

Would you like to say anything about Littelfuse or NuVasive?

Gallagher: Sure. I actually think all of these companies, like I said, I hadn't heard of them before, but they're all very interesting. And so, Littelfuse is a leader in circuit protection, which are electronic switches and automotive centers. It works with a lot of sensors and it's usually in components that are used in larger devices and equipment, so that's, like, appliances and automobiles. So that in itself is generally kind of a cyclical business. And obviously also right now, 2020 has been rough because of production and demand impacts because of the coronavirus. So it was sold off steeply in the pandemic, now it's just 6.6% below its 52-week high. But I think that it's also a really interesting thing, and if you believe that people will buy cars again soon and if people are going to do more trips within the U.S., that may be something that's interesting to think about, too.

Gardner: I agree. And this is one of those companies that has just a ton of components. They're not just selling a few widgets. To create an extreme contrast, Apple is selling, kind of, just like the iPad, iMac, iPhone. Of course, Apple is the largest company by market cap in the world, so it turns out you can actually get really big off of relatively few Stock Keeping Units, or SKUs, but Littelfuse is the opposite. Of course, it's much, much smaller than Apple, but it has a ton of different components that people buy to plug into different things to make electricity and other things happen, or circuits breaking in order to keep the electricity under control.

Well, this is, unfortunately, also a stock that's underperformed. Now, it's only down 4.5% in the three years, but again, with the market up 34%, that means it's been a significant underperformer. This was one of the stocks that really nosedived in March, though. The stock dropped from about $200 at the start of the year to $100 by March. It is back to $175. You're right, Maria, it's back near 52-week highs. So I hold out a lot of hope. And by the way, all three of these companies that are still trading remain active recommendations. And we hope that they'll beat the market from here, but we're looking backwards with this Review-a-palooza! because that's what we do when we review 5-Stock Samplers. And this one, unfortunately, an underperformer.

Finally, NuVasive, a word or two on that?

Gallagher: Sure. So, NuVasive is a surgical treatment for spinal disorders, and it's differentiated because it comes in from the side of your body, so it works differently than most spinal treatments. It was actually up 56% in 2019 -- it had increased market share from low single digit to mid-to-high single digit within the space. But it was, once again, hit very hard with the coronavirus, and it was down 61% in the deepest parts of March to April. It has rebounded a little bit, but not as much as I would think. But being a quite innovative company that I think will continue to do pretty well, but it has been really hard hit by the coronavirus.

Gardner: And indeed, it has been a poor stock pick, I'm sorry to say. And it's a double rec in Motley Fool Rule Breakers, it's underperforming both of those positions. So when you take it all in all, you have five stocks, only three of which are still trading, and averaging their performance +10.5% over these three years; the market, by contrast, up 26%, as I already mentioned. I should point out, by the way, that the market is actually up about 34% from three years ago. But of course, when you average in marking Orbital ATK and Ultimate Software against the market in briefer periods, that's why it averages to 26% for this group. And that means, we underperformed by 15% per stock, which makes this particular 5-Stock Sampler the single worst that I have ever picked on this podcast.

Maria, I'm very happy to absolve you of any blame -- you're just coming here to clean up the mess and describe what happened afterward. I will apologize to my listeners, to you, as well, Maria, just because I feel like I should apologize to everyone. This was very disappointing. 5 Great Stocks You've Never Heard Of is the name we put on it; they were not great.

Gallagher: But they are all very interesting. I feel like, sometimes I look at companies and I think, oh yeah, I can see why this did poorly. And I understand intellectually why these didn't outperform, but I do think that the thesis behind all of them is still strong.

Gardner: Well, thank you. And I'm glad you ended with the words "strong," because that's where this podcast is shifting now [laughs] for the second half this week. We're going to take a look two years before that. So maybe a little bit of way-back music, Rick, take us back.

Glad you did it, because yeah, this was the very first 5-Stock Sampler we ever picked, and I listened a little bit to what I was saying five years ago in preparation. And I think my voice has even changed a little bit in five years. I mean, a lot changes in five years, these stocks have, too. But let's, as we like to do with our samplers, let's see how the market has done, first of all. So between Sept. 2, 2015 and Sept. 2, 2020, the stock market rose 81.1%. Now, I'm using the past tense because this 5-Stock Sampler concluded just days ago, these numbers are all official. From 09/02/15 to 09/02/20 market up, S&P 500 up 81.1%.

So the way I like to do this usually, Maria, is let's start with the worst stocks. So there were two stocks that actually lost value among these five over the course of five years, which is a bummer. When you hold a stock for five years and you lose money and the market was up +80%, that's a bummer. Let's go to the worst pick of all, FireEye (NASDAQ: FEYE), ticker symbol FEYE.

Maria, what happened to FireEye?

Gallagher: So people might be familiar with FireEye -- it's synonymous with cybersecurity. And so, what happened with FireEye is pretty interesting. The industry shifted, so instead of selling stand-alone software to customers, more and more of these cybersecurity companies were focused on selling subscriptions in their business model and making them more cloud-based and less one stand-alone. And so, FireEye was pretty slow to respond to this shift within the industry. And so, as of May 2020, only 50% was cloud-based, which is more than half, but we would have assumed it kind of picked up quicker than that. And so, it hasn't been able to shift as well as anticipated.

Gardner: Yeah. And I'm glad you mentioned May 2020, because you and I know that that is an important date -- that is the date in which we actually sold FireEye out of Motley Fool Stock Advisor. So this is a stock that did not make it from a Motley Fool service standpoint all the way through the five years that we had it. But for this five-year sampler, we're scoring it right through to today. So let's fix the numbers. FireEye closed out at $15.24. Here's the bad news -- we recommended it at $37.5, so it lost 59% of its value. And when the market goes up 81%, that means you're 140% behind the market after one pick.

Now, it wasn't the only underperformer, in fact. Now, looking carefully at the numbers, Maria, I see that three of our five here did underperform. One of them was right about on the market, Casey's General Stores, that Midwestern convenience store seller of pizzas was up 73% over these five years, which isn't bad when you consider its business and some of the times we live through -- and yet, it is 8% behind the market.

Maria, have you ever been to a Casey's General Store?

Gallagher: I went to school in Indiana for a year. So I have to believe that in the year I lived in Indiana, I had to have gone once and just was unaware of it, but I've spend most of my time in New York and Boston [laughs], which Casey's General Stores are not in, so I don't think I've been often. But it's pretty interesting. So oil prices are down, but as gas consumption increases, as people work more, especially in these Midwestern states, more and more people are thinking, OK, international travel is not an option the way it was a couple of months ago. So I know more and more people are saying, I'm going to live in a van and go to all the national parks in the U.S. I know at least three people saying that. And so, I think it'll be interesting to see in the next year if this gas consumption, especially in the Midwest, continues. And as people go back to work in those areas, farmers and healthcare workers, who are more essential and less likely to be able to work from home. I think, it's a pretty interesting company still.

Gardner: And indeed, it is at or near all-time highs, even as we record this podcast. So it is yet another stock that lost about a third of its value just in March, pretty much in March alone this year, but this is a company that's been around for decades. Most of us who've spent a year or more in Indiana and much of the Middle West would recognize Casey's General Stores. And at various points, it's been among the top five of all pizza purveyors in the United States of America by dint of its popular pizza in all those convenience stores. And yeah, but gasoline is a big part of that, as well, as you're pointing out, Maria.

So I first picked this stock in January 2014, and then again in April 2015 for Stock Advisor members. It's about doubled both times. If you net out the alpha, we're slightly ahead of the market over those times, so five, six years, it's been about a market performer, but one of those beloved brands for those who know it. And if you're out there lonely on a dark night somewhere in the Middle West looking for pizza or gas, you're awfully happy that you just happened upon a Casey's, whether it's in Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana, what have you. So, that's it for Casey's, about a market performer, but a slight underperformer.

And then there's the Middleby Corp (NASDAQ: MIDD), Maria. And that is a company where the famous, for us around The Fool anyway, Selim Bassoul, the longtime CEO no longer there, was a driving reason that so many Motley Fool members owned and have owned Middleby stock for a long period of time. It's been a significant winner for many of us, but these last few years, not so much.

Gallagher: Middleby is interesting. So, a lot of their growth is through acquisitions. And so, they do have a lot of debt to fund those acquisitions. And they have pretty strong exposure to the food service industry. So Papa John's, McDonald's, Burger King. And so, as people shift to eating at home more, less dining out, they've been especially hurt within the coronavirus pandemic. And that combined with a pretty hefty debt load, which helps fund those acquisitions, I think, in the past couple months has been a real headwind for Middleby.

Gardner: And for Selim himself no longer to be running this company is a strike against it. It remains an active stock, though, one we recommend. Over these three years, I'm sorry to say, it was down 7%. Now, not down 60% like FireEye, but also not up 73% like Casey's. Nope, this one was down 7%. Which is another -88% in the loss column for this 5-Stock Sampler. Five stocks for the next five years. And I was saying, I hope this group, I think this group will beat the market, five years ago on this podcast. Let's go to the final two stocks to see what happened.

One of these stocks, a longtime Motley Fool favorite, the video game company Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI), ticker symbol ATVI. A long-term hold for us in Stock Advisor. Happy to say that Activision Blizzard, Maria, up 194% over these five years -- that's almost a triple, and more than doubles the market, with a +113% in the win column. What do you get for us on Activision Blizzard?

Gallagher: I really like Activision Blizzard, personally, Call of Duty, for people who aren't familiar with Activision's games. Call of Duty is one of the world's best-selling video game franchises. Sales of that title has exceeded 300 million copies, and it's been the best-selling game in the U.S. for 9 of the past 11 years. So while e-sports gains its prominence while more people are stuck at home and watching other people play video games, there's a super-long trajectory for growth for Activision. And it's not just Call of Duty -- they have Skylanders, they have Prototype. Call of Duty is just kind of their flagship game. And so, I think the future is really bright for e-sports, in general, and these video game makers.

Gardner: And I continue to follow this industry as a gamer myself, just as avidly here at the age of 54 as I did at the age of 49. So, for example, I also will point out, you might know this, Maria, some others will not, that they just resurrected one of their better franchise's first Tony Hawk, the great skateboarder. First Tony Hawk game out in years and years and a big seller last week. Only outsold by the new introduction of Marvel's Avengers for the console platforms, of course, a big property for Disney and Square Enix. So yeah, I would say that Activision Blizzard, its CEO, Bobby Kotick, continue to get it done, and it sure did over these five years, because the stock just about tripled and got us near just about in the positive territory.

But we needed a nudge from one other stock. Really glad I don't exactly remember what was going through my head at the time, but I'm really glad I opened my mouth on this podcast and included ticker symbol MELI, MercadoLibre, as one of the five stocks for the next five years. The price on that day was $109.94; today, it's closer to $1,200. This, I believe, and I keep track of all these spreadsheets, I admit, I have no statistician to help me, so this is from memory -- I believe this is the greatest stock ever picked in a 5-Stock Sampler, because it is up 988% -- that is more than 10 times in value, +10-bagger.

Maria, what has been happening with Mercado Libre over the period 2015 to '20?

Gallagher: Yeah, I guess, it would give you more than a nudge. [laughs] It's both the e-commerce market leader driving change in consumer products in Latin America, as well as payments behavior. So it's pretty interesting -- e-commerce is only 4.2% of the online sales in the Latin American region compared to the U.S., where it has about 12%, so there's massive room for growth within the marketplace and e-commerce, kind of, like Amazon within Latin America. And then they have Mercado Pago, which is their payment information. And 70% of people in Latin America don't have bank accounts and only 20% to 55% use credit cards. So this, the Pago section, modeled after PayPal, is one of the fastest growing fintech companies in Latin America. So it has a good one-two punch of both the e- commerce platform and the payment platform that are continuing to grow in prominence, especially in this area in Latin America.

Gardner: Very well put. And indeed, this has been one of the best performers that Motley Fool members have owned for years. This is the single greatest stock pick in Motley Fool Rule Breakers history -- it is up 76 times in value since we first picked it in February 2009. So there I was, six years later in September 2015 saying, I like it here, and boy! have we all liked it here, up more than 10 times in value. And yet even today, at its $54 billion market cap, that still doesn't sound like that big a number compared to, I think, where MercadoLibre could be in another five or 25 years.

Maria, is this a stock that you own, and if not, are you considering it for the Gallagher-folio?

Gallagher: Frequently on Fool Live, people will ask, what's one stock you want to own, but don't own. And MercadoLibre is my answer every single time. I don't know why I don't own it. Oh, I think I talk about it too much. [laughs] I think it's too popular in the Fool universe, but I do want to own it -- I just haven't gotten there yet.

Gardner: Understood. Well, this is maybe a nudge to you to go ahead and do so. And to all of our listeners, MercadoLibre, like some other stocks in this 5-Stock Sampler, remains an active stock that we like going forward. So part of the fun of 5-Stock Samplers is just the learning, and that's what Maria helped us do -- she helped us to learn today what had happened and why it happened. But ultimately, we're doing this to be able to act better going forward; otherwise, why are we bothering with this podcast? We're here to help you about tomorrow, talking some about today, and yes, occasionally about yesterday, which is where review-a-paloozas live and breathe.

Maria, I want to thank you again for helping us and joining me this week on Rule Breaker Investing.

Gallagher: Thank you so much for having me.

Gardner: And let's close out the final numbers then. This, the first 5-Stock Sampler ever picked, the stocks are in, the total return was 237.7%, the market 81.1%. So this first-ever 5-Stock Sampler for the Rule Breaker Investing podcast beat the market by 156.6% per stock up and down. Now, you saw that, speaking of up and down, some were up and some were down, but when you take it all in all, and that's what we're always encouraging you to do, not load up on any one stock but diversify across a base of stocks, of course, this is a small base, just a sampler, but delighted to see how one winner wipes out all the losers and leaves you with a lot of money -- market-beating money, left on the table.

Well, I want to thank you again for generously suffering Fools gladly. I want to thank Maria again for her time. We're looking forward to next week. It's our work-from-home edition, company culture tips. Again, my friends Kara Chambers and Lee Burbage will be joining you and me with some of their best ideas about how to make the culture of work-from-home the best it can be.

In the meantime, keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for those big-time numbers in your 5-Stock Samplers, Fool on!

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Selim Bassoul, former CEO, chairman, and president of Middleby, serves as Chief Innovator at The Motley Fool. David Gardner owns shares of Activision Blizzard, Amazon, Apple, FireEye, MercadoLibre, Middleby, NuVasive, and Walt Disney. Maria Gallagher owns shares of Activision Blizzard, PayPal Holdings, Square, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Activision Blizzard, Amazon, Apple, MercadoLibre, Middleby, PayPal Holdings, Square, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends Blackbaud, Casey's General Stores, Littelfuse, and NuVasive and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $60 calls on Walt Disney, short September 2020 $70 puts on Square, long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon, short October 2020 $125 calls on Walt Disney, short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon, long January 2022 $75 calls on PayPal Holdings, long January 2022 $75 calls on Activision Blizzard, and short January 2022 $75 puts on Activision Blizzard. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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