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Chart: The 20 Top Stocks of 2020 by Price Return

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The 20 Top Stocks of 2020

The Briefing

  • In 2020, a handful of companies thrived in the face of the pandemic
  • Medical stocks made up nine of the top 20 stocks, followed by seven in the Tech/Online category

Chart: The 20 Top Stocks of 2020, by Price Return and EPS

In the whirlwind of the pandemic, most businesses experienced chaos. From shuttered physical stores to the rapid rise of online activity, only a select few companies successfully weathered the storm.

We look at the 20 top stocks of 2020 by price return (% change), and earnings per share (EPS), which is an indicator of a company’s profitability.

EPS is calculated by dividing a company’s profit by its outstanding shares of common stock. The higher an EPS value, the more profitable a company is deemed.

A Closer Look at the Leaderboard

Tesla’s value surged in 2020, as it raked in 743.4% in returns—the highest of any stock. In fact, it’s the only automaker to enter this list.

RankCompanyIndustry% ChangeEPS, Q3’2020
#1Tesla IncOther (Auto Manufacturer)743.4%$0.27
#2Fiverr International LtdTech/Online (Retail)730.2%-$0.01
#3Twist Bioscience CorpMedical (Biotech)572.8%-$0.36
#4Enphase Energy IncOther (Solar Energy571.5%$0.28
#5Peloton Interactive Cl ATech/Online (Leisure)434.2%$0.20
#6Moderna IncMedical (Biotech)434.1%-$0.59
#7Curevac N VMedical (Biotech)406.7%N/A
#8Sunrun IncOther (Solar Energy)402.4%$0.28
#9Zoom Video Comm Cl ATech/Online (Software)395.8%$0.66
#10Sea Limited Ads Cl ATech/Online (Retail, Leisure)394.9%N/A
#11Denali Therapeutics IncMedical (Biotech)380.6%-$0.54
#12Beam Therapeutics IncMedical (Biotech)380.2%-$0.69
#13Pinduoduo Inc Cl A AdsTech/Online (Retail)369.8%-$0.10
#14Silvergate Cap Corp Cl AOther (Finance/Banks)367.1%N/A
#15Schrodinger IncMedical (Service)365.8%$0.05
#16Fate Therapeutics IncMedical (Biotech)364.6%-$0.68
#17Bilibili Inc Cl Z AdsTech/Online (Leisure)360.4%-$0.45
#18Inari Medical IncMedical (Service)359.4%N/A
#19Alx Oncology Holding IncMedical (Biotech)353.7%N/A
#20Cloudflare Inc Cl ATech/Online (Software)345.4%-$0.09

Zoom comes out on top with $0.66 in earnings per share. This is likely a result of society’s increased reliance on its videoconferencing capabilities, a trend that became clear quite early on last year.

Notable Stocks by Category

If we look at the overall categories, the medical industry pulled in nine of the top 20 stocks in 2020. As the world scrambled to develop an immunization against COVID-19, Moderna was one of the first companies to get there, announcing a vaccine with 94.1% efficacy. As a result, the company showed an impressive 434% in returns.

The Tech/Online category came in second, although slightly more diversification is found here, ranging from software to retail and leisure:

  • In the growing global gig economy, Fiverr’s platform connects freelancers with those in need of their services.
  • Peloton is tapping into the lucrative home fitness market, particularly with people now spending more time at home.
  • Sea Ltd. is a Southeast Asian conglomerate with business verticals across ecommerce, online gaming, and digital payments.

One final interesting observation is that of the stocks in the Other category, two of them deal in the business of solar energy, exhibiting high returns and similar EPS values, likely from a global shift towards cleaner energy sources.

Where does this data come from?

Source: 2020 Price Return (% Change) values are from Investors Business Daily
EPS values come from Macrotrends, the latest data reported by all companies is from Q3’2020.
Methodology: All stocks on the list have an average daily trading volume of 100,000 shares or more and were priced at $12 or higher at the start of the year. Closed-end funds were excluded. Prices and other data shown are as of Dec. 31, 2020. N/A means that EPS data for that company was unavailable.

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Datastream

How Does the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Invest Its Money?

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is funded by a trust that has a portfolio value of over $25 billion. Here’s how it invests its assets.

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Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

The Briefing

  • The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Trust has a total portfolio value of over $25 billion
  • Almost half of the money is invested in Berkshire Hathaway, a holding company run by chairman and CEO Warren Buffett
  • The trust favors industrial stocks, with a 34% weighting in the sector

How Does the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Invest Its Money?

Bill and Melinda Gates have announced they are ending their marriage, but will continue to work together at their foundation.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, launched in 2000, is the largest private philanthropic organization in the United States. It has spent over $50 billion on global public health over the last two decades, including $1.75 billion on COVID-19 relief.

Of course, the foundation’s assets are managed by a trust until they are ready to be distributed to grantees. Here’s a look at how the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Trust invests its assets.

The Portfolio Breakdown

The trust has invested 100% of its holdings in stocks. It holds almost half of its value in Berkshire Hathaway, the holding company run by Warren Buffett.

StockValue% of Portfolio
Berkshire Hathaway$11.8B45.5%
Waste Management$2.6B10.0%
Caterpillar$2.6B10.0%
Canadian National Railway$1.9B7.2%
Walmart$1.6B6.4%
Crown Castle$1.0B3.9%
Ecolab$991M3.8%
UPS$960M3.7%
FedEx$921M3.6%
Schrodinger$518M2.0%
Coca-Cola FEMSA$294M1.1%
Grupo Televisa$213M0.8%
Liberty Global$156M0.6%
Apple$133M0.5%
Amazon$102M0.4%
Alphabet (Google)$102M0.4%
Twitter$15M0.1%
Liberty Latin America$14M0.1%

However, the portfolio is more diversified than initially meets the eye—Berkshire Hathaway itself is invested in almost 50 stocks.

Shrodinger, a healthcare-focused software company that makes up 2% of the trust’s total portfolio, was one of the best performing stocks of 2020 by price returns. The portfolio has also been boosted by delivery companies UPS and FedEx, both of which saw their share prices more than double over the last year as online shopping took off.

While the trust is dominated by U.S.-domiciled companies, a few foreign names do make the list. For example, Canadian National Railway makes up over 7% of the portfolio, while the Latin American bottler Coca-Cola FEMSA makes up just over 1%.

The Future of the Foundation

The trust continues to be managed by a team of outside investment managers, whose decisions have a critical impact on the amount of money the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has to fund its initiatives. For example, if Berkshire Hathaway were to dip 10%, this would drop the portfolio value by more than $1 billion.

In addition, the foundation is funded in part by the Gates’ personal donations—more than $36 billion from 1994 to 2018. Should Bill and Melinda go on to create their own separate philanthropic efforts post-divorce, the foundation may have a smaller portfolio to pull from going forward.

» Like this? Then you might also like The Warren Buffett Empire in One Giant Chart

Where does this data come from?

Source: SEC filings and MarketWatch
Notes: Portfolio holdings are as of December 31, 2020. Stock values are as of market close on May 3, 2021.

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Datastream

How Media Consumption Has Changed Over the Last Decade (2011-2021)

The media consumption landscape in 2021 is shifting. Time spent on media continues to spike, with mobile challenging for the top spot

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changing media consumption

The Briefing

  • Since 2011, media consumption for U.S. adults is up 20% across all categories
  • An average of 4 hours and 12 minutes is spent on mobile devices

Media Consumption in 2021

There are a wide array of apps and life hacks out there designed to help regulate personal internet use and media consumption, but the data suggests they haven’t been working. Today, we consume more media than at any point in time in the last decade.

This data from Recode looks at how many minutes U.S. adults spend on various forms of media, comparing mobile, desktop, radio, television, and magazines.

How Many Minutes are Spent on Media?

In 2021, collective media consumption continues its upward trajectory, and is set to be at the highest it’s ever been. In 2021, overall media consumption among U.S. adults is estimated to be around 666 minutes per day, or 11.1 hours—a 20.2% increase from 2011.

YearMobileDesktopRadioTelevisionMagazinesTotal
2021252509925312666
20202315010025813652
20192085110026414637
20181905210227015629
20171645310228217618
20161365310528718599
20151245610928919597
2014886711129820584
2013746711630621584
2012606812031423585
2011454013131424554

Although media consumption has grown overall, this is predominantly driven by mobile usage. In fact, every category with the exception of mobile has shrunk from their respective peaks. Mobile on the other hand, has grown a whopping 460% in 10 years, from an average daily use of 45 minutes to a staggering 252 minutes.

Consumption by Generation

Disparities in media consumption have a generational aspect that’s worth noting, as well. For instance, older Americans like Baby Boomers still consume media routinely through television. On the other hand, younger cohorts like Millennials and Gen Z tend to consume more through mobile.

Increasing internet use has come with criticism, and is said to be partially responsible for our waning attention spans. With only 1,440 minutes in a day, it remains unknown exactly how many minutes we will continue to direct towards mobile use. But with figures growing 9% last year, we may not have yet reached the peak.

Where does this data come from?

Source: Recode
Notes: 2021 figures are projections by Zenith Media

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