It has been 100 days since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic. Hundred days and more than 100,000 deaths later, the United States wears a new look. The economy has taken a massive beating, with the country almost locked down for two months and businesses suffering like never before.
More than 40 million people have filed for unemployment benefits since the outbreak and even a whopping $3 trillion stimulus now seems not enough. Wall Street too had a roller-coaster ride with stocks hitting a low in March. But the Dow exited the bear market on Mar 26, and since then all three major indexes have had a dream run. However, a few businesses found an opportunity to cash in on during the pandemic, while most are still bleeding. The tech sector certainly remains the biggest winner and is likely to continue driving the market.
Coronavirus Changes Global Economy
The pandemic has rattled the entire global economy and the United States has been one of the major casualties. The White House was initially slow in its response to the pandemic but as the cases started to increase, the country almost had to be shut down with people ordered to stay at home. Factories and stores had to be shuttered and the economy came to a standstill.
This saw companies losing billions of dollars and more than 26 million losing their jobs in just a few weeks. Travel, civil aviation, hotels and restaurants and retailers became the biggest casualties. While biotech firms and pharmaceutical companies ramped up development of a potential vaccine to treat the deadly coronavirus, the Fed announced multiple rounds of stimulus packages that totaled over $3 trillion to breathe life into the economy.
Three months down the line, states have started reopening and restrictions are being relaxed but with more COVID-19 cases being reported from several states, fears of a second wave are hauting.
Braving the Pandemic
There’s a sea change in the pre- and post-pandemic world. Work and learn from home have become the new culture, while social distancing has changed business completely.
When coronavirus started spreading in the United States, predictions were bleak, which ended the bull market for tech stocks that drove the markets for the past few years. However, among the 11 sectors of the S&P 500, information technology has been the one of the biggest winners 100 days into the pandemic.
The Technology Select Sector SPDR’s (XLK) 38% return in the past 90 days is a testimony to the fact the tech rally has legs thanks to work and learn from home, and social distancing. Needless to say, shares of cloud-based software companies and cybersecurity companies that support shelter-in-place/work-from-home infrastructure have been outperforming the broader market.
Another big winner during this period has been the consumer discretionary space. Stockpiling on fears of the virus spreading gave a big boost to the sector. With demand for essential goods surging during the lockdown, companies dealing in consumer staples and discretionary witnessed a massive push thus aiding their profits. The Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR’s (XLY) has returned 34.7% in the past 90 days.
We suggest five stocks with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) that you may consider in the new locked in world as there is no immediate sign of a vaccine or cure the virus. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Zoom Video Communications, Inc.ZM has been benefiting from the work-from-home and online learning. Zoom uses AI to schedule video meetings and for a host of other things such as organizing attendee details and transcripting details.
The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is more than 100%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 181% over the past 60 days.
B&G Foods, Inc. BGS along with its subsidiaries manufactures, sells and distributes high quality, shelf stable, frozen food and household products across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.
The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 21.3%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 19.2% over the past 60 days.
The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. HAIN produces, distributes, markets and sells various natural and organic foods as well as personal care products. It offers groceries, non-dairy beverages and frozen desserts, flour and baking mixes, cereals, condiments, cooking oils, and infant and toddler food.
The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 19.7%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 2.3% over the past 60 days.
Logitech International S.A. LOGI is a global leader in peripherals for personal computers and other digital platforms, which develops and markets innovative products in PC navigation, Internet communications, digital music, home-entertainment control, video security, interactive gaming and wireless devices.
The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 5.1%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 3.7% over the past 60 days.
eBay Inc. EBAY operates as an online shopping site that allows visitors to browse through available products listed for sale or auction through each company's online storefront.
The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 21.9%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 14.6% over the past 60 days.
5 Stocks to Soar Past the Pandemic: In addition to the companies you learned about above, we invite you to learn about 5 cutting-edge stocks that could skyrocket from the exponential increase in demand for “stay at home” technologies. This could be one of the biggest buying opportunities of the decade.
See the 5 high-tech stocks now>>
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