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Investors Business Daily
Investors Business Daily

9 Stocks Jumped 200% In 3 Years Since Covid Rocked The World

It's been three years since the Covid crash tanked the S&P 500. But there's been still plenty of ways to make money since.

Nine stocks in the S&P 500, including vaccine maker Moderna, energy firm EQT and materials firm Steel Dynamics, soared 200% or more from the market's Feb. 19, 2020 peak prior to the Covid crash, says an Investor's Business Daily analysis of data from S&P Global Market Intelligence and MarketSmith. That's a remarkable gain if you consider the S&P 500 tanked nearly 34% from the Covid peak until hitting rock bottom on March 23, 2020, says Bespoke Investment Group.

Yes, the S&P 500 is up since then. But it's trailing long-term averages.

"The U.S. stock market proxied by the SPY ETF has posted a total return of 24.4% in the three years since Covid hit," Bespoke said. "While stock market returns are now below average over the last three years, the real extreme has been in the bond market."

Assessing The Covid Years

The Covid crash and subsequent rally put S&P 500 investors through the wringer. But the SPDR S&P 500 Trust still managed to move higher. But other unexpected twists and turns have kept investors hopping.

"Small caps and midcaps have outperformed large caps, while value has outperformed growth," Bespoke said. "Of the various growth and value ETFs across the three market cap thresholds, mid-cap value is up the most at 37.6%, while large-cap growth is up the least at 19.2%."

Here's another shocker: Energy is the S&P 500 post-Covid sector winner. "Energy is up the most over the last three years with a gain of 79.4%, while Communication Services is the only sector down at -2.9%," Bespoke found.

And if you thought you could hide from drama in bonds, that didn't work out. "The aggregate bond market ETFs have posted total returns of -9.5% since Feb. 19, 2020," Bespoke said. "The only fixed income ETF listed that's up over the last three years is the inflation protected Treasury ETF that's up 1.35%."

So what are the big winners in the S&P 500?

Moderna: The Covid Champion

Given the immediate demand for a Covid vaccine, it's not surprising to see one of its pioneers top the charts. But the level of outperformance is still a little shocking.

Moderna shares shot up more than 745% from the start of the Covid crash. The stock took off as the company showed how its mRNA technology could be used to quickly inoculate humans against potential scourges. The health care company, overnight, went from losing nearly $2 a share in 2020 to making $28.29 a share in 2021.

But big S&P 500 winners weren't just companies exposed to conquering Covid. Investors also seek stability, which they get with EQT. The company is a major natural gas producer. It's also a stable profit producer yielding 1.9% annually. Shares are up more than 415% from the Covid crash.

Similarly, Steel Dynamics isn't a sexy high-tech company. But lately, S&P 500 investors don't want one. The company's shares are up nearly 330% in the past three years. The steel producer only yields 1.1%, but profit exploded following Covid. The company's profit per share jumped more than 40% in 2022.

Covid wasn't fun for anyone to live through. But at least there have been ways to make some money in the meantime.

Top S&P 500 Stocks Since Covid Crash

Company Ticker Ch. Sector
Moderna 746.2% Health Care
EQT 415.1 Energy
Steel Dynamics 329.0 Materials
Onsemi 279.4 Information Technology
Quanta Services 276.5 Industrials
Enphase Energy 252.4 Information Technology
Freeport-McMoRan 252.6 Materials
Nucor 242.8 Materials
Tesla 222.7 Consumer Discretionary
Sources: IBD, S&P Global Market Intelligence, change from Feb. 19, 2020

Follow Matt Krantz on Twitter @mattkrantz

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