Continuing with my 2020 year-in-review series (first post), let’s take a look at U.S. sectors and industries. Technology stocks had a banner year again led by semiconductors (Exhibit 1). Surprisingly, retailers and wider consumer discretionary sector had great returns as well, despite the pandemic. Biotech (health crisis) and materials did well also. Energy (again!), real estate and financials ended up at the bottom of the performance table. On the longer timeframe, it’s amazing to see most sectors compounding at mid-teen rates over the last 10 years (almost 14% for the S&P 500).
Exhibit 1 – 2020 Performance for Domestic Sectors & Industries
Let’s also take a look at some individual stocks. Exhibit 2 shows 20 best performing companies in the S&P 500. We all have heard about Tesla’s unstoppable march, but there were many other amazing returns. The average return for the top 20 was $144% compared to “only” 92% for the 2019 crop. Tesla just made the list as it was added to the index on December 21. There were, however, many high-flyers that aren’t in the S&P. Exhibit 3 shows top 20 for the much-broader Total Stock Market index, but I did screen out companies with 12/31/20 market cap of less than $1 billion to focus on larger names. On this list Tesla drops to number seven and is the only S&P 500 member. This list mostly consists of vaccine/biotech names, renewable energy/electric cars and stay-at-home plays (Zoom just missed it at #22 with 396% return).
Exhibit 2 – 2020 Top Performing S&P 500 Stocks
Exhibit 3 – 2020 Top Performing Stocks ($1B+)
The laggards are almost exclusively pandemic pain points with cruise lines and airlines as well as whole bunch of energy names. Also represented are couple of retail/office real estate trusts and the perennial dog Wells Fargo (Exhibit 4).
Exhibit 4 – 2020 Bottom Performing S&P 500 Stocks
On the international front, the countries performed roughly in-line with their success in handling the Coronavirus, maybe with the exception of the United States (Exhibit 5). I’m sure there are a variety of other factors at play but it certainly seems to be the main one here.
Exhibit 5 – 2020 Single Country Performance
In the next post, I’ll finish the annual reviews by looking at the economic numbers (hint: it’s a mess).