As the old saying goes, "hindsight is 20/20." So, although there was no sure-fire way of knowing what would have had the highest yields in 2009, let's take a look at the investments that would have given your pockets some padding.
From coffee makers to commercial vehicle manufacturers, the stock market provided investors with some of the largest returns of the year.
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- Diedrich Coffee (DDRX) -- YTD Return: 9,700%. Who would have thought a coffee company could deliver such astronomical returns? Since going public in 1996, shares of Diedrich Coffee has spent most of their time trading under $5 per share. Shares reached an all-time low of 21 cents per share in March of this year before skyrocketing to over $35.
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Fund investing can be used to reduce risk, which often comes with reduced returns. These funds held on to the returns, and then some.
The exchange-traded funds (ETF) below provide an investing alternative for those who want to participate in the commodities market without really trading commodities. Gasoline and metal provided some of the best returns of the year.
- United States Gasoline Fund, LP (UGA) -- YTD Return: 88%. The United States Gasoline Fund invests in futures contracts on unleaded gasoline. UGA started the year on a sputtering note, but in May, shares built some upward momentum and have settled around $35. The gains in 2009 are sizable, however shares of this ETF climbed as high as $67 last year.
Initial Public Offerings
Two of the most profitable IPOs of 2009 came from Chinese companies involved in water treatment.
- Tri-Tech Holding (TRIT) -- YTD Return: 174%. Tri-Tech Holding went public in September 2009 and has delivered an impressive debut. The company helps the Chinese government with technical services to manage the country's water supplies. TRIT investors are riding the wave; shares have risen from under $9 in September to over $22 at the end of November.
It is easy to identify which securities could have made you rich in 2009, but remember, the past is not always an accurate indication of what is to come. To insure your comfort with the range of possibilities for potential investments, be sure to evaluate risk associated with a security's expected returns before you invest.