It goes without saying that 2020 has been a very challenging year. The 11-year-old raging bull stock market over the course of a month has died and turned into a roaring bear market with the major equity indexes down over 30% so far from the top. The coronavirus is mostly to blame, along with an inconveniently timed oil price/share war with Russia and Saudi Arabia. Now we are in an insta-recession, in which suddenly millions of workers have nowhere to go for work, millions of businesses are on the ropes, schools are closed, and more U.S. states are ordering residents to shelter in place and not leave home.
While the news is all bad, there still managed to be some stock winners holding their own in 2020. It may seem hard to worry about stocks and sectors, but what is so unimpressive about a winning company at this time is that the week of March 19, 2020, was the worst week for the major indexes since the financial crisis of 2008, and now all of President Trump’s touted stock market gains have vanished.
Stocks sold off by 4% on Friday with very few investors expecting anything but bad news over the weekend, and that made for a weekly loss of 15% for the S&P 500 and a loss of 17% for the Dow Jones industrials. Even the bond market has been in disarra,y with the Federal Reserve making broad efforts to stabilize the yield curve and to increase collateral for the banks to maintain liquidity.
24/7 Wall St. has tracked multiple stocks from the S&P 500 and other large-cap stocks that actually closed up for the past week and that are also still up for the year-to-date performance metric. It is a small list, and we gave two runners up and also then expended the potential list of current winners to non-S&P 500 stocks that still had a market capitalization of $10 billion or more.
Hormel Foods Corp. (NYSE: HRL) has seen a mighty comeback, and its prepackaged foods offerings seem to be winning as everyone wants to hoard food. Hormel stock closed up 6.4% in the past week and is still barely positive for the entire year.
Clorox Co. (NYSE: CLX) had a bad performance of −7.5% on Friday, and the stock is down over 15% from its absolute highs. That said, Clorox stock closed up almost $10 this last week for a weekly gain of 5.7%, and its shares are still up 15.5% since the close of 2019. Clorox has a 2.2% yield, and its mainstay bleaching and cleaning products are now hard to find and in high demand because “that bleach just kills everything.”
Citrix Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CTXS) may have closed down 4.7% on Friday, but it is still a work-from-home winner despite being down 15% from its absolute highs. Its shares closed up 5% for the past week, and they are up 7.6% so far in 2020.
Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) was dead money throughout the end of 2019, but its remdesivir is still among the hopeful existing drugs that could be used as a potential coronavirus treatment. It also received an expanded age group approval of Epclusa for children with chronic hepatitis C infection. Even after Friday’s loss of more than 6%, Gilead closed up 3.5% and it is up 12.7% year to date. Despite any major sales growth expectations, Gilead is valued at only about 11 times expected earnings and it has a 3.7% dividend yield.
J.M. Smucker Co. (NYSE: SJM) is another packaged foods winner, known for peanut butter, despite a 4% loss on Friday. Its shares were up just over 1% on the week, and they are barely positive year to date. It is also valued at about 12 times expected earnings and yields more than 3.3%.
Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) needs little explanation as the top independent grocery store. Having Warren Buffett as a new shareholder didn’t hurt either. Kroger did close down 7% at $31.77 on Friday, but that is still up 3.5% for the week and was over 9.5% higher year to date. Without trying to judge Kroger’s earnings or revenues as a win on revenues and perhaps with higher operating costs during the coronavirus, it is valued at 13 times expected earnings.
Two honorable mentions were also noticed due to their “stay-at-home” winner categories and their performances still fitting most of the criteria for “holding their own” in a major bear market.
Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) is getting an honorable mention here because the shares would have met the criteria had it not been for the last 90 minutes of Friday trading. Even after a 1.85% drop to $1,846.09, Amazon was up 3.4% last week and is down just under 0.1% year to date. Amazon stock is deemed a winner in the new “everyone-stuck-at-home” economy with a massive hiring pledge despite nosebleed valuations.
Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) also gets an honorable mention as a must-have for the stay-at-home population. It did not get gutted by Disney+ after all, and it actually closed up slightly positive on Friday despite the sell-off. Netflix stock may still be down 15% from its highs, but it lost just 1% in this last week and is still up almost 3% year to date.
If we expand the criteria out to market capitalization areas of $10 billion or more to keep a broader focus on the larger economy stocks and to avoid most of the individual high-flying and volatile coronavirus-winner stocks, there are still several others that would have fit the bill of being up for the past week and still higher year to date. Some of these are coronavirus winners of course, but that should be expected. Without explanations, they are as follows:
- BioNTech SE (NASDAQ: BNTX)
- Moderna Inc. (NASDAQ: MRNA)
- Chewy Inc. (NYSE: CHWY)
- Zoom Video Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: ZM)
- Teledoc Health Inc. (NYSE: TDOC)
- Okta Inc. (NASDAQ: OKTA)
- RingCentral Inc. (NYSE: RNG)
If you want to know how the new crash and bear market stack up against history, here is a broad view of the bear markets and major sell-offs since 1900.