Coronavirus: the best and worst stocks across the globe

The impact of coronavirus on each sector has varied by country. Here, we’ll go through some of the best and worst performing stocks during the Covid-19 pandemic, broken down by leading indices in different countries.

The information in this article is based on company share price return in the first half (H1) 2020. We’ve looked at these companies by sector, and some sectors have performed better than others according to the geographic location. We’ve also looked at the overall sector performance in terms of average share price return for each index.1

To finish, we analysed the sectors that could perform the best and worst in H2 2020 and beyond, based on the sectors that historically perform well during a recession, and those that historically perform well immediately after.

Global best and worst stocks in H1 2020

Below, you’ll see tables showing the best and worst performing companies according to share price return in H1 2020.

Best performing global stocks in H1 2020

Location Index Company Share price return Sector
1 UK FTSE All-Share BATM Advanced Communications +266.9% Information technology
2 Japan Topix GMO Cloud K.K. +176.5% Information technology
3 Australia ASX 200 Afterpay +130.1 % Information technology
4 US S&P 500 Apache Corp +94.0% Oil, gas and fuel
5 Spain IBEX 35 Cellnex Telecom +48.4% Communication services
6 Singapore Straits Times Index Mapletree Logistics Trust +19.5% Real estate
7 France CAC 40 Worldline +17.2% Information technology

Worst performing global stocks in H1 2020

Location Index Company Share price return Sector
1 UK FTSE All-Share Hyve Group -88.2% Communication services
2 US S&P 500 ViacomCBS Inc -73.9% Communication services
3 Australia ASX 200 Flight Centre Travel Group -73.6% Consumer discretionary
4 Spain IBEX 35 Banco de Sabadell -66.9% Financials
5 Japan Topix Sanden Holdings Corp -65.6% Consumer discretionary
6 France CAC 40 Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield -61.1% Real estate
7 Singapore Straits Times Index SATS -42.5% Industrials

Select a country from the list below to learn more about its best and worst performing stocks during the Covid-19 pandemic. Scroll to the end of each section to get the data for the best and worst performing sectors in that country.

UK stocks: best and worst performers

For UK stocks, we looked at the performance of the constituents of the FTSE All-Share index. The FTSE All-Share contains around 600 of the more than 2000 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange, including all constituents of the FTSE 100, 250 and Small Cap indices.

Performance of FTSE stocks in H1 2020

From 31 December 2019 to 30 June 2020, the 10 best performing stocks on the FTSE All-Share were:

Company Share price return Sector
1 BATM Advanced Communications +266.9% Information technology
2 Premier Foods +147.8% Consumer staples
3 CMC Markets +143.2% Financials
4 Petropavlovsk +122.1% Materials
5 Indivior +111.5% Healthcare
6 AO World +76.5% Consumer discretionary
7 Fresnillo +72.7% Materials
8 Ocado Group +67.3% Consumer discretionary
9 Avon Rubber +66.4% Industrials
10 Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust +56.3% Not applicable (investment trust)

The 10 worst performing stocks on the FTSE All-Share in the same period were:

Company Share price return Sector
1 Hyve Group -88.2% Communication services
2 Amigo Holdings -84.7% Financials
3 Superdry -77.8% Consumer discretionary
4 Ted Baker -77.1% Consumer discretionary
5 Capita -76.1% Information technology
6 Hammerson -74.5% Real estate
7 Cineworld Group -73.8% Communication services
8 John Menzies -73.7% Industrials
9 Micro Focus International -72.4% Information technology
10 Firstgroup -71.9% Industrials

Sector performance on average share price return for FTSE All-Share stocks

Using the wider list of companies on the FTSE All-Share,1 the best performing sector on the index in terms of average share price return in H1 2020 was healthcare, and the worst was energy.

Sector Average share price return
1 Healthcare +5.1%
2 Materials -1.8%
3 Information technology -2.1%
4 Utilities -6.5%
5 Consumer staples -8.2%
6 Financials -19.0%
7 Industrials -24.5%
8 Real estate -27.4%
9 Consumer discretionary -30.3%
10 Communication services -34.2%
11 Energy -45.7%

US stocks: best and worst performers

For US stocks, we looked at the performance of companies listed on the S&P 500. The S&P 500 is an index that tracks the performance of the 500 largest companies listed on the numerous stock exchanges in the US.

Performance of S&P 500 stocks in H1 2020

From 31 December 2019 to 30 June 2020, the 10 best performing stocks on the S&P 500 were:

Company Share price return Sector
1 Apache Corp +94.0% Oil, gas and fuel
2 Advanced Micro Devices +73.6% Semiconductors
3 NVIDIA Corp +71.5% Semiconductors
4 NortonLifeLock +66.8% Software
5 DexCom +64.6% Health care equipment & supplies
6 Albemarle Corp +62.3% Chemicals
7 Paycom Software +60.8% Software
8 ServiceNow +60.3% Software
9 L Brands +52.4% Specialty retail
10 Domino's Pizza +51.7% Hotels, restaurants & leisure

The 10 worst performing stocks on the S&P 500 in the same period were:

Company Share price return Sector
1 ViacomCBS -73.9% Communication services
2 DuPont de Nemours -69.2% Materials
3 ABIOMED -63.3% Healthcare
4 BorgWarner -62.3% Consumer discretionary
5 Phillips 66 -61.5% Energy
6 HollyFrontier Corp -60.8% Energy
7 Kohl's Corp -60.3% Consumer discretionary
8 CF Industries Holdings -59.7% Materials
9 Leggett & Platt 59.5% Consumer discretionary
10 Walgreens Boots Alliance -59.2% Consumer staples

Sector performance on average share price return for S&P 500 stocks

Considering the wider list of constituent companies on the S&P 500,1 the best performing sector on the index in terms of average share price return in H1 2020 was healthcare, and the worst was energy.

Sector Average share price return
1 Healthcare +9.7%
2 Information technology +5.3%
3 Consumer staples -1.3%
4 Communication services -3.0%
5 Materials -5.2%
6 Industrials -7.0%
7 Utilities -7.6%
8 Consumer discretionary -13.6%
9 Real estate -16.5%
10 Financials -17.4%
11 Energy -42.0%

Australian stocks: best and worst performers

For Australian stocks, we looked at the performance of the companies listed on the ASX 200. The ASX 200 measures the performance of the 200 largest companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.

Performance of ASX 200 stocks in H1 2020

From 31 December 2019 to 30 June 2020, the 10 best performing stocks on the ASX 200 were:

Company Share price return Sector
1 Afterpay +130.1% Information technology
2 Saracen Mineral Holdings +77.9% Materials
3 Silver Lake Resources +73.1% Materials
4 Fortescue Metals Group +71.5% Materials
5 NEXTDC +66.1% Information technology
6 Evolution Mining +63.5% Materials
7 Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp +61.4% Healthcare
8 Appen +59.9% Information technology
9 Mesoblast +59.6% Healthcare
10 Elders
+59.1%
Consumer staples

The 10 worst performing stocks on the ASX 200 in the same period were:

Company Share price return Sector
1 Flight Centre Travel Group -73.6% Consumer discretionary
2 Southern Cross Media Group -71.2% Communication services
3 oOh!media -70.8% Communication services
4 Webjet -67.1% Consumer discretionary
5 Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield -59.5% Real estate
6 Corporate Travel Management -56.0% Consumer discretionary
7 Oil Search -55.7% Energy
8 Virgin Money UK -51.3% Financials
9 Avita Therapeutics -50.5% Healthcare
10 G8 Education -50.2% Consumer discretionary

Sector performance on average share price return for ASX 200 stocks

Across the wider list of ASX 200 constituents,1 the best performing sector on the index in terms of average share price return in H1 2020 was information technology, and the worst was energy.

Sector Average share price return
1 Information technology +11.4%
2 Healthcare +10.1%
3 Consumer staples +6.6%
4 Materials +3.9%
5 Utilities +2.5%
6 Communication Services -10.6%
7 Financials -15.2%
8 Consumer discretionary -16.1%
9 Real estate -18.4%
10 Industrials -21.3%
11 Energy -30.1%

Singapore stocks: best and worst performers

For companies in Singapore, we chose to look at the share price performance of the constituents of the Straits Times Index (STI). This index tracks the performance of the top 30 companies listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange.

Performance of STI stocks in H1 2020

From 31 December 2019 to 30 June 2020, the 10 best performing stocks on the STI were:

Company Share price return Sector
1 Mapletree Logistics Trust +19.5% Real estate
2 Mapletree Industrial Trust +16.9% Real estate
3 Ascendas Real Estate +12.0% Real estate
4 Wilmar International +7.0% Consumer staples
5 Venture Corp +6.7% Information technology
6 Singapore Exchange -4.0% Financials
7 Keppel Corp -10.3% Industrials
8 Capitaland Commercial Trust -10.4% Real estate
9 Yangzijiang Shipbuilding -12.2% Industrials
10 Genting Singapore
-13.7%
Consumer discretionary

The 10 worst performing stocks on the STI in the same period were:

Company Share price return Sector
1 SATS -42.5% Industrials
2 Singapore Airlines -41.9% Industrials
3 Comfortdelgro Corp -37.7% Industrials
4 Jardine Strategic Holdings -31.2% Industrials
5 Jardine Cycle & Carriage -29.8% Consumer discretionary
6 Singapore Telecommunications -25.5% Communication services
7 Hongkong Land Holdings -25.1% Real estate
8 Jardine Matheson Holdings -22.9% Industrials
9 Thai Beverage -22.7% Consumer staples
10 City Developments -22.5% Real estate

Sector performance on average share price return for STI stocks

Considering data for the wider list of STI constituents,1 the best performing sector on the index in terms of average share price return in H1 2020 was real estate, and the worst was industrials. To be clear, at the time of writing (25 August 2020) the STI did not include any companies from the energy, healthcare, materials or utilities sectors, so those categories have not been included in the table below.

Returns marked by an asterisk are representative of only one company in that sector, because there were no other companies in that category listed on the STI at the time of writing.

Sector Average share price return
1 Real estate +8.1%
2 Information technology +6.7%*
3 Consumer staples -9.9%
4 Financials -12.9%
5 Consumer discretionary -21.7%
6 Communication Services -25.5%*
7 Industrials -25.9%

Japanese stocks: best and worst performers

For Japanese stocks, we looked at the constituents of the Topix index – which tracks the performance of domestic Japanese companies listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Performance of Topix stocks in H1 2020

From 31 December 2019 to 30 June 2020, the 10 best performing stocks on the Topix were:

Company Share price return Sector
1 GMO Cloud K.K. +176.5% Information technology
2 Change Inc +167.5% Information technology
3 Ir Japan Holdings +162.9% Industrials
4 Ebase Co +156.6% Information technology
5 Nippon Rietec Co +140.6% Industrials
6 Baycurrent Consulting +140.1% Industrials
7 Dle +136.2% Communication services
8 Retail Partners Co +136.1% Consumer staples
9 Cybozu +117.0% Information technology
10 Grace Technology
+112.5%
Industrials

The 10 worst performing stocks on the Topix in the same period were:

Company Share price return Sector
1 Sanden Holdings Corp -65.6% Consumer discretionary
2 Vision Inc/Tokyo Japan -62.5% Communication services
3 And Factory Inc -60.8% Communication services
4 Greens Co -60.2% Consumer discretionary
5 Pepper Food Service Co -59.8% Consumer discretionary
6 Aoyama Trading Co -57.7% Consumer discretionary
7 istyle -57.1% Consumer discretionary
8 Tokyo Rope -56.1% Materials
9 Sanyo Shokai -55.4% Consumer discretionary
10 Phil Company -55.0% Industrials

Sector performance on average share price return for Topix stocks

Using data for the wider list of Topix constituents,1 the best performing sector on the index in terms of average share price return in H1 2020 was consumer staples, and the worst was real estate.

Sector Average share price return
1 Consumer staples +2.6%
2 Information technology -2.4%
3 Healthcare -4.8%
4 Communication services -5.6%
5 Utilities -7.6%
6 Industrials -11.9%
7 Materials -12.4%
8 Financials -15.9%
9 Energy -16.6%
10 Consumer discretionary -17.5%
11 Real estate -22.4%

French stocks: best and worst performers

For French stocks, we looked at the performance of the constituents of the CAC 40. This index tracks the performance of the 40 most significant companies of the 100 listed on Euronext Paris.

Performance of CAC 40 stocks in H1 2020

From 31 December 2019 to 30 June 2020, the 10 best performing stocks on the CAC 40 were:

Company Share price return Sector
1 Worldline +17.2% Information technology
2 Schneider Electric +13.8% Industrials
3 Hermes International +13.5% Consumer discretionary
4 Air Liquide +12.5% Materials
5 L'Oreal +11.4% Consumer staples
6 STMicroelectronics +9.75% Information technology
7 Sanofi +7.7% Healthcare
8 Teleperformance +7.7% Industrials
9 Dassault Systemes +6.1% Information technology
10 Atos
+3.3%
Information technology

The 10 worst performing stocks on the CAC 40 in the same period were:

Company Share price return Sector
1 Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield -61.1% Real estate
2 Airbus -49.5% Industrials
3 Societe Generale -49.4% Financials
4 Renault -43.4% Consumer discretionary
5 Accor -42.0% Consumer discretionary
6 Arcelormittal -34.9% Materials
7 Safran -32.4% Industrials
8 Publicis Groupe -31.8% Communication services
9 Peugeot -31.1% Consumer discretionary
10 Credit Agricole -29.5% Financials

Sector performance on average share price return for CAC 40 stocks

Looking at the wider list of companies on the CAC 40,1 the best performing sector on the index in terms of average share price return in H1 2020 was healthcare, and the worst was real estate. Values marked by an asterisk are representative of only one company, because there was only one company in that sector listed on the CAC 40 at the time of writing.

Sector Average share price return
1 Healthcare +7.7%*
2 Information technology +7.1%
3 Consumer staples -5.63%*
4 Materials -11.2%
5 Industrials -14.1%
6 Communication services -17.32%
7 Consumer discretionary -17.37%
8 Utilities -19.4%
9 Energy -27.5%
10 Financials -32.7%
11 Real estate -61.1%*

Spanish stocks: best and worst performers

For Spanish stocks, we looked at the IBEX 35 which is comprised of the 35 most liquid Spanish companies traded on the Bolsa de Madrid – Spain’s main stock exchange.

Performance of IBEX 35 stocks in H1 2020

From 31 December 2019 to 30 June 2020, the 10 best performing stocks on the IBEX 35 were:

Company Share price return Sector
1 Cellnex Telecom +48.4% Communication services
2 Viscofan +25.9% Consumer staples
3 Iberdrola +25.7% Utilities
4 Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy +18.6% Industrials
5 Masmovil Ibercom +11.7% Communication services
6 Endesa +6.4% Utilities
7 Acciona +4.9% Utilities
8 Enagas +1.3% Utilities
9 Red Electrica Corporacion +1.0% Utilities
10 Ferrovial
-13.8%
Industrials

The 10 worst performing stocks on the IBEX 35 in the same period were:

Company Share price return Sector
1 Banco de Sabadell -66.9% Financials
2 Intl Consolidated Airline-Di -66.8% Industrials
3 Melia Hotels International -52.5% Consumer discretionary
4 Merlin Properties -43.2% Real estate
5 Banco Santander -40.6% Financials
6 Repsol -40.2% Energy
7 ArcelorMittal -34.8% Materials
8 Inmobiliaria Colonial -34.2% Real estate
9 Amadeus IT Group -34.2% Information technology
10 Bankia -33.0% Financials

Sector performance on average share price return for IBEX 35 stocks

For the wider list of companies on the IBEX 35,1 the best performing sector on the index in terms of average share price return in H1 2020 was consumer staples, and the worst was energy. Values marked by an asterisk are representative of only one company, since there was only one company in that sector listed on the IBEX 35 at the time of writing.

Sector Average share price return
1 Consumer staples +25.9%*
2 Communication services +9.7%
3 Utilities +2.9%
4 Healthcare -20.0%
5 Industrials -23.8%
6 Materials -26.8%
7 Information technology -33.2%
8 Consumer discretionary -34.5%
9 Financials -36.2%
10 Real Estate -38.7%
11 Energy -40.2%*

What next for stocks?

If we look at the business cycle, it might help to explain what might happen to stocks going forward. There are four stages of the business cycle: the early cycle, the mid cycle, the late cycle and recession.

Currently, many countries are already in or are about to be in recession. This is a period of economic contraction, and it often follows the late cycle in which economic activity reaches its peak. The stocks that historically perform well during a recession are those of utility, healthcare and consumer staples companies.

These opportunities can be considered ‘defensive stocks’, which are usually more resistant to the negative effects of recession. They are also considered to be less cyclical than other opportunities like shares in real estate, information technology, industrials, and communication services companies.

Alternatively, stocks that typically perform badly during a recession present an opportunity to go short and profit from share prices declining.

Looking ahead, stocks that have historically performed well post-recession are those that experience gains during the ‘early cycle’ stage of the business cycle. These include financials, real estate, consumer discretionary, industrials, materials and information technology.

Please note that the business cycle is a hypothesis – it is not always certain which stocks will perform well during or after a recession, and the economic situation brought about by Covid-19 is unprecedented in recent memory.

As previously mentioned with strong stocks during a recession, stocks that typically perform badly post-recession could also present an opportunity to go short and profit from share prices declining.

Footnotes

1 For this article, trusts and other companies that fall into multiple sectors were not included for sector average share price return comparisons.

This information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients. See full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary.

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