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8. Apple
Apple

3-year average
Revenue Growth: 52%
Profit Growth: 70%
Total Return: 60%

Some had worried that the loss of Steve Jobs might hinder the seemingly relentless forward march of Apple. They needn't have. Since Jobs passed away last year, Apple's share price has risen almost 80%. In August, the iPhone maker overtook Microsoft as the largest-ever U.S. company by stock-market value. The only negative spot so far this year came when the company fell short of Wall Street's expectations with a rare earnings miss in the third quarter due to lower-than-expected iPhone sales. That said, the 26 million iPhones sold still represented a 22% increase over the same period in 2011 - not too shabby, considering the hotly anticipated release of the iPhone 5 may have delayed purchases by some holdouts. Sales of the iPad hit a record in the last quarter, up 84% year-on-year, but the iPhone remains the undisputed king of growth at Apple. -- N.S.

Get stock quote: AAPL
Revenue ($ millions): $142,360
Net Income ($ millions): $38,617
Sectors: Technology
What businesses do you think are primed to grow in this economy?
From the September 24, 2012 issue.

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To qualify, a company -- domestic or foreign -- must be trading on a major U.S. stock exchange; file quarterly reports to the SEC; have a minimum market... More
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