At a high level, I like to think increase in stock price as a function of primarily 3 items
a. Growth : Put simply, sales figures and YoY growth in them
b. Efficiency : Using lesser resources per unit of sales/production, put simply Operating margin
c. Multiple Expansion : Entirely market driven, multiple market is willing to pay; primarily PE ratio
Obviously there are multiple nuanced items which affect prices, but everything can be categorised as an either/or in the above three buckets. Different industries primarily move on different parameters, Cyclicals move due to efficiency; FMCG/Durables moves due to growth and multiple expansion. Capital intensive industries move due to efficiency. Then the are industries which start off as capital intensive industries and develop a strong enough brand pull to show characteristics of durables and so on and so forth. Different metrics such as ROE, ROCE, ROIC, PEG are outcomes of above three business/market factors.
To answer your question, what went right for these stocks, I am attaching a sheet for which shows primarily which lever pulled the top 10 stocks into stratosphere
The red ones were in losses during that period. Growth would be common theme across all so included in only companies where it made sizeable difference.
Among the three factors Growth and Multiple expansion are relatively less difficult to understand and make a reasonable future assumption. Understanding efficiency is whole another beast and would require deep understanding of factors of production and raw materials market cycles.
To reiterate the point raised by @dineshssairam on hindsight bias, there were far more companies that were better on multiple business fronts than the above stated companies. To have picked up these companies and have significant amount of capital invested into them would have required an immense amount of foresight and more than one’s fair share of luck.
Good management, low capital requirements, favourable and growing business environment, Opportunity of growth remain as valid pillars of returns as they were in 2008-09.