Philip van Doorn

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April 1, 2020, 6:37 a.m. EDT

These 30 S&P 500 stocks actually rose during the disastrous first quarter

Technology companies dominate list led by companies with potential COVID-19 drugs

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By Philip van Doorn, MarketWatch


Bloomberg
Shares of Netflix rose 16% during the first quarter, as the S&P 500 index fell 20%.

Even during a brutal first quarter for the stock market, there were some winners as COVID-19 quickly changed the way people live and work in the U.S.

Thirty stocks among the S&P 500 index rose, and many of the companies are in the business of facilitating remote work, entertainment and commerce. Two of the top five gainers were the pharmaceutical companies farthest along in testing treatments for the novel coronavirus, while a third of the total could be considered technology companies.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.20% had its worst quarter since 1987, and the S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.51%  sank 20% for its worst performance since the fourth quarter of 2008.

Here’s how the 11 sectors of the S&P 500 performed during the first quarter (excluding dividends), sorted from “best” to worst:

S&P 500 sector Price change - first quarter, 2020 Price change - 2019
Information Technology -12.2% 48.0%
Health Care -13.1% 18.7%
Consumer Staples -13.4% 24.0%
Utilities -14.2% 22.2%
Communication Services -17.2% 30.9%
Consumer Discretionary -19.6% 26.2%
Real Estate -19.8% 24.9%
Materials -26.6% 21.9%
Industrials -27.4% 26.8%
Financials -32.3% 29.2%
Energy -51.1% 7.6%
Source: FactSet

The information-technology sector continued to be the best-performing sector, after blowing away all the other sectors last year.

Here are the 30 S&P 500 stocks that rose during the first quarter:

Company Ticker Price change - 2020 Price change - 2019 Industry Sector
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203149337/composite REGN 30.0% 0.5% Biotechnology Health Care
Citrix Systems Inc. /zigman2/quotes/206700852/composite CTXS 27.6% 8.2% Software Information Technology
Netflix Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202353025/composite NFLX 16.0% 20.9% Cable/Satellite TV Communication Services
Digital Realty Trust Inc. /zigman2/quotes/206785129/composite DLR 16.0% 12.4% Real-estate investment Trusts Real Estate
Gilead Sciences Inc. /zigman2/quotes/210293917/composite GILD 15.1% 3.9% Biotechnology Health Care
Clorox Co. /zigman2/quotes/206443229/composite CLX   12.8% -0.4% Household/Personal Care Consumer Staples
Nvidia Corp. /zigman2/quotes/200467500/composite NVDA 12.0% 76.3% Semiconductors Information Technology
SBA Communications Corp. Class A /zigman2/quotes/208397406/composite SBAC 12.0% 48.9% Real-estate investment Trusts Real Estate
MSCI Inc. Class A /zigman2/quotes/202905332/composite MSCI 11.9% 75.1% Investment Managers Financials
Rollins Inc. /zigman2/quotes/206314900/composite ROL 9.0% -8.1% Other Consumer Services Industrials
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202259802/composite VRTX 8.7% 32.1% Biotechnology Health Care
Equinix Inc. /zigman2/quotes/208927761/composite EQIX 7.0% 65.6% Real-estate investment Trusts Real Estate
T-Mobile US Inc. /zigman2/quotes/204659678/composite TMUS 7.0% 23.3% Wireless Telecommunications Communication Services
Biogen Inc. /zigman2/quotes/201531540/composite BIIB 6.6% -1.4% Biotechnology Health Care
J.M. Smucker Co. /zigman2/quotes/203835894/composite SJM 6.6% 11.4% Food: Specialty/Candy Consumer Staples
Jack Henry & Associates Inc. /zigman2/quotes/201857446/composite JKHY 6.6% 15.1% Information Technology Services Information Technology
Akamai Technologies Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203072268/composite AKAM 5.9% 41.4% Internet Software/Services Information Technology
Eli Lilly and Co. /zigman2/quotes/200106384/composite LLY 5.5% 13.6% Pharmaceuticals Health Care
Amazon.com Inc. /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN 5.5% 23.0% Internet Retail Consumer Discretionary
Newmont Corp. /zigman2/quotes/205356474/composite NEM 4.2% 25.4% Precious Metals Materials
AmerisourceBergen Corp. /zigman2/quotes/201066379/composite ABC 4.1% 14.3% Medical Distributors Health Care
Kroger Co. /zigman2/quotes/206215053/composite KR 3.9% 5.4% Food Retail Consumer Staples
Old Dominion Freight Line Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205822689/composite ODFL 3.7% 53.7% Trucking Industrials
Hormel Foods Corp. /zigman2/quotes/209170265/composite HRL 3.4% 5.7% Food: Meat/Fish/Dairy Consumer Staples
Progressive Corp. /zigman2/quotes/202480455/composite PGR 2.0% 20.0% Property/Casualty Insurance Financials
Crown Castle International Corp /zigman2/quotes/202885080/composite CCI 1.6% 30.9% Real-estate investment Trusts Real Estate
ServiceNow Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202729495/composite NOW 1.5% 58.6% Information Technology Services Information Technology
DaVita Inc. /zigman2/quotes/204229673/composite DVA 1.4% 45.8% Medical/Nursing Services Health Care
Activision Blizzard Inc. /zigman2/quotes/200717283/composite ATVI 0.1% 27.6% Videogames Communication Services
Microsoft Corp. /zigman2/quotes/207732364/composite MSFT 0.0% 55.3% Software Information Technology

You can click the tickers for more about each company, including news coverage.

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

If one uses a liberal definition for what makes a “tech company,” they make up more than a third of the list. Listed “tech” companies that aren’t included in the S&P 500 technology sector included Amazon.com /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN +1.51% , which is part of the consumer discretionary sector; Netflix /zigman2/quotes/202353025/composite NFLX +2.39% and Activision Blizzard /zigman2/quotes/200717283/composite ATVI +0.05%  in the communications services sector; and Digital Realty Trust /zigman2/quotes/206785129/composite DLR -0.51%  and Equinix /zigman2/quotes/208927761/composite EQIX +0.03% , which are organized as real-estate investment trusts even though their business focus is providing data-center services.

Microsoft is at the bottom of the list, with its shares rising a penny during the first quarter to $157.71, from $157.70 on Dec. 31. Microsoft was the only component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average to increase for the quarter.

Don’t miss: These 60 large U.S. companies are ‘susceptible to a dividend cut,’ according to Jefferies

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Philip van Doorn covers various investment and industry topics. He has previously worked as a senior analyst at TheStreet.com. He also has experience in community banking and as a credit analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York.

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