In news that surprised even the most astute investment business insiders, the Boston-based mutual fund company Eaton Vance has been crowned the No. 1 publicly traded stock in the last 25 years.

According to FactSet Research Systems of Norwalk, Conn., Eaton Vance's annualized return of 32% since 1979 put the company ahead of such Wall Street princes as Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and Wal-Mart Stores.

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