Continuing with my 2021 year-in-review series (first post), let’s take a look at U.S. sectors and industries (Exhibit 1). In a major change of leadership, energy, real estate and financials had a phenomenal year. Before you get too excited about energy names, look at the longer-term returns which are still atrocious. Homebuilders, semis and retail continued their runs from 2020. On the bottom of the table we have gold miners (gold price dropped in a high inflation year), biotech and internet which slowed down after years of torrid growth.
Exhibit 1 – 2021 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. It’s a mix of 2020’s dogs bouncing back and big performers continuing their runs. There are lots of energy names left for dead. Moderna’s COVID vaccine played a major role with initial rollout and boosters last year. Ford got the markets excited with a major bet on electric cars including a well-received battery-powered F-150. NVIDIA is continuing to crush in with AI, crypto mining, Metaverse and other computing-heavy applications. There are a few real estate names that have done nicely as well as a mix of story stocks (what’s up with Bath & Body Works?).
Exhibit 2 – 2021 Top Performing S&P 500 Stocks
The laggards are also a list of reversals like several gaming stocks and continuing horror shows like Norwegian Cruise Lines (Exhibit 3). PayPal and Twitter clipped their big 2020 gains and TV plays (Discovery and ViacomCBS) are in steady decline.
Exhibit 3 – 2021 Bottom Performing S&P 500 Stocks
On the international front, of the major countries USA remained near the top with only Austria and Taiwan doing better (Exhibit 4). There seems to be some relationship between performance and vaccination status but it’s not all there was. Energy heavy Canada did well, as did Russia until late in the year when they started massing troops on Ukrainian border. Turkey is an economic horror show bringing up the rear. China didn’t do too well either with Xi flexing state control muscles to bring tycoons and theirs companies to heel. There are also a number of Latin American countries that just can’t get out of their own way.
Exhibit 4 – 2021 Single Country Performance
I’ll finish the annual reviews by looking at the economic numbers when GDP is released in couple of weeks.