Keep Calm and Invest!

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During the first decade of the 2000s, the S&P 500 fell about 24%. But even in this decade, if you had a $10,000 portfolio with $9,700 of it tracking the S&P 500 and just $300 invested in Panera (NAS: PNRA) , your total return would have been more than 25% -- beating the market by nearly 50 percentage points. In these unpredictable times of credit downgrades, a potential Eurozone breakup, and sputtering growth, it's important to remember: No matter how temperamental the market, there are always potential winners.

A rising multibagger lightens all losses
One of the greatest takeaways from Peter Lynch's One Up on Wall Street is this:

 If six out of 10 of my stocks perform as expected, then I'm thankful. Six out of 10 is all it takes to produce an enviable record on Wall Street.

And if you choose a stock like the bakery chain Panera, you might only need one really big winner. This is because for ordinary stock purchases, the greatest loss can only be 100%, whereas the upside is unlimited. Yet Panera wasn't even close to the best performer for the decade. If you'd picked diet-food maker Medifast (NYS: MED) for that 3% allocation, it would have pulled your entire portfolio up more than 460%!

Other top stocks
Consumer-facing companies like Panera and Medifast have some of the greatest business models because of the size of their markets. For Panera, every single human is a potential customer, which makes growth almost unlimited. And Panera's careful growth strategy during tough times, like when it slowed store growth from 95 in 2007 to just 55 in 2008, helped Panera increase returns without overreaching its market.

For Medifast, every single human that may have eaten too much at Panera is a potential customer. With the proportion of the overweight and obese population rising from 56.9% in 2000 to 64.5% in 2010 according to the CDC, along with a higher prevalence of diabetes, Medifast's specialty weight loss and diabetes diets rode an upward trend in a down market.

Coffee peddler Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NAS: GMCR) and energy-drink pusher Monster Beverage (NAS: MNST) (formerly known as Hansen Natural) also had caffeinated returns of over 7,000% over the decade, and both could also count every single person as a possible stomach for their products. Green Mountain benefited from its purchase of Keurig in 2006, which now boasts 80% market share of single-serve coffee. Monster saw its energy drink take off, fighting with industry leader Red Bull for market share. Both companies multiplied their revenues in the face of a bad economic decade.

The multibaggers are out there
Keep calm and invest! No matter if gold skyrockets, the Fed creates trillions out of thin air, or natural gas spikes, there is a stock out there now that will help you beat the market. And remember, you only need six out of ten stocks to perform well, or one out of thirty to perform monstrously, in order to be envied on Wall Street.

One stock that might be a multibagger in this tumultuous market is the Motley Fool's chief investment officer's top stock for 2012. This stock is growing its dividend yield while mimicking a proven model -- learn all about it in our free report!

At the time this article was published Fool contributorDan Newmanwould love to see some different trends. He also holds no shares of any companies mentioned above.  Follow him @TMFHelloNewman. The Motley Fool owns shares of Panera Bread.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Panera Bread, Monster Beverage, and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, as well as creating a lurking gator position in Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 - 2012 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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