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Philip van Doorn

May 6, 2020, 9:18 a.m. EDT

These 10 S&P 500 companies increased sales faster than Amazon in a coronavirus-tainted quarter

Big winners included Vertex, Netflix, AMD and five exchange operators

By Philip van Doorn, MarketWatch

Netflix reported a 28% increase in first-quarter revenue from a year earlier.

We’re right in the thick of first-quarter earnings season, and while it is looking bad as consumers and companies suffer from the coronavirus shutdown, there are still companies that are growing rapidly.

Through May 4, 273 companies among the S&P 500 (S&P:SPX)  had reported earnings for their fiscal quarter ending March 21 or later; 147 of them, or 54%, reported declines in sales from a year earlier. Three months from now, we likely will be looking at even worse results, given that the U.S. economy has borne the brunt of the COVID-19 shutdown in the current quarter. The S&P 500 hit a record high on Feb. 19, and states began issuing stay-at-home orders in the third week of March that are only now beginning to be lifted.

What follows is a list of companies that reported the largest increases in quarterly sales from a year earlier among the 273 S&P 500 companies that reported results through May 4. The list is filtered to exclude companies whose revenue increased significantly because of transformative acquisitions. Those are listed below.

Here’s the filtered list of 12 companies that increased revenue the most:

Company Ticker Industry Increase in quarterly sales from a year earlier Total return - 2020 Total return - 2019
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NAS:VRTX) Biotechnology 76.9% 21% 32%
Cboe Global Markets Inc. (BATS:CBOE) Securities exchanges 52.9% -21% 24%
Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NAS:AMD) Semiconductors 40.4% 15% 148%
MarketAxess Holdings Inc. (NAS:MKTX) Securities exchanges 35.7% 21% 81%
ServiceNow Inc. (NYS:NOW) Information Technology Services 32.6% 26% 59%
Nasdaq Inc. (NAS:NDAQ) Securities exchanges 30.2% 0% 34%
CME Group Inc. Class A (NAS:CME) Securities exchanges 29.0% -14% 10%
Intercontinental Exchange Inc. (NYS:ICE) Securities exchanges 28.7% -3% 24%
Netflix Inc. (NAS:NFLX) Cable/Satellite TV 27.6% 32% 21%
Prologis Inc. (NYS:PLD) Real-estate investment Trusts 26.7% -2% 56%
Amazon.com Inc. (NAS:AMZN) Internet Retail 26.4% 25% 23%
Intel Corp. (NAS:INTC)   Semiconductors 23.5% -3% 31%
 Source: FactSet

You can click on the tickers for more about each company.

You will need to scroll across the table to see all of the data.

It is no surprise to see Netflix (NAS:NFLX)  and Amazon.com (NAS:AMZN)  on the list of rapid first-quarter revenue growers at a time when most people are staying home and most retail businesses are closed.

The increase in securities trading activity starting in the second half of February led to five exchange operators appearing on the list of rapid revenue growers.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NAS:VRTX)  topped the list on the strength of its new Trikafta medication for cystic fibrosis, partially offset by declines in other medications.

Prologis (NYS:PLD)  and Intel (NAS:INTC)  both benefited from the continued growth of the datacenter industry.

Read: Nvidia has become a power broker for the next wave of datacenter technology

Here are the companies excluded from the list because their revenue increases mainly resulted from large acquisitions:

• Truist Financial (NYS:TFC)  is the new name for BB&T after it acquired SunTrust.

• Hasbro (NAS:HAS)  completed its acquisition of Entertainment One in December.

• Centene Corp. (NYS:CNC) acquired WellCare Health Plans in January.

• Principal Financial Group (NAS:PFG)  acquired Wells Fargo’s institutional retirement management and trust businesses in July 2019.

• Invesco (NYS:IVZ)  acquired OppenheimerFunds in May 2019.

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