The Pandemic Economy: The Stocks Weathering the Storm
When markets get wacky, even the best companies can’t avoid the maelstrom.
Investors were already tiptoeing on broken glass, knowing that the longest U.S. stock market bull run in history was getting long in the tooth.
Then, when the market foresaw the potential damage that could be caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it quickly created a vortex that would suck almost everything into it.
In the last week, markets flipped into an alternate universe. Every major stock got crushed, while suddenly those holding onto stockpiles of toilet paper and soup reigned supreme.
In such unique circumstances, we wondered which companies were weathering the storm of volatility. To do this, we used Finviz to pull up a visualization of S&P 500 performance, then investigating the segments of the market that were doing well in spite of the recent plunge.
|Stock selection||Performance (Mar 5-12)||Components|
|S&P 500||-18.0% 📉||The 500 largest U.S. companies by market cap|
|The Pandemic Economy||+12.7% 📈||Soup, bleach, pizza, and telecommuting stocks|
A few companies not only avoided the chaos — they actually thrived over the last week.
Let’s look at why!
Not Getting Bugged Down
With global travel, events, and social gatherings screeching to a halt, it’s obvious that this is not a winning situation for any typical economy.
However, it’s hard for everyone to simultaneously be a loser, and it’s always inevitable that some stocks will benefit from any crisis — or at least not get hit as hard as their peers.
- Zoom Video Communications (ZM)
There’s no doubt a pandemic is tough on brick-and-mortar companies, but for most white collar workers the show must go on. As a pure play stock in the video conferencing category, Zoom is uniquely positioned as companies shift to more remote work.
- Domino’s Pizza (DPZ)
With people wanting to avoid crowds because of COVID-19, it’s natural to want to order in. Domino’s, as well as other companies that focus on food delivery, stand to benefit in the short term from the virus.
- Campbell Soup Company (CPB)
Campbell is the quintessential counter-cyclical stock, and even more so in a prepping environment. When the global outlook is gloomy, people want to stockpile — and soup is a major pantry staple.
- Teladoc Health, Inc. (TDOC)
If sitting in a doctor’s office with dozens of other sick people can be avoided, it seems it would be regarded as a prudent decision. For this reason, remote health services are an obvious focus for investors during the pandemic.
- The Clorox Company (CLX)
Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Have you heard that you should wash your hands to avoid the spread of the coronavirus? Clorox benefits from this sudden interest in sanitation and cleanliness.
- Everbridge, Inc. (EVBG)
When times are uncertain, global decision-makers want to get as much quality information as possible. Everbridge offers a risk intelligence platform that provides this service.
- Virtu Financial, Inc. (VIRT)
Whether markets are going up or down, large amounts of volume and volatility are a good thing for financial services companies that make money from high frequency trading.
Not all of these companies are in the green — some have simply traded sideways — but on average, they’ve seen a 12.7% bump in price over the last week.
Whether that will last in a fast-changing news environment is another story.
Ranked: The World’s Top Diamond Mining Countries, by Carats and Value
Who are the leaders in rough diamond production and how much is their diamond output worth?
Ranked: World Diamond Mining By Country, Carat, and Value
Only 22 countries in the world engage in rough diamond production—also known as uncut, raw or natural diamonds—mining for them from deposits within their territories.
This chart, by Sam Parker illustrates the leaders in rough diamond production by weight and value. It uses data from Kimberly Process (an international certification organization) along with estimates by Dr. Ashok Damarupurshad, a precious metals and diamond specialist in South Africa.
Rough Diamond Production, By Weight
Russia takes the top spot as the world’s largest rough diamond producer, mining close to 42 million carats in 2022, well ahead of its peers.
Russia’s large lead over second-place Botswana (24.8 million carats) and third-ranked Canada (16.2 million carats) indicates that the country’s diamond production is circumventing sanctions due to the difficulties in tracing a diamond’s origin.
Here’s a quick breakdown of rough diamond production in the world.
|5||🇿🇦 South Africa||9,660,233|
|10||🇸🇱 Sierra Leone||688,970|
|18||🇨🇮 Cote D'Ivoire||3,904|
|19||🇨🇬 Republic of Congo||3,534|
Note: South Africa’s figures are estimated.
As with most other resources, (oil, gold, uranium), rough diamond production is distributed unequally. The top 10 rough diamond producing countries by weight account for 99.2% of all rough diamonds mined in 2022.
Diamond Mining, by Country
However, higher carat mined doesn’t necessarily mean better value for the diamond. Other factors like the cut, color, and clarity also influence a diamond’s value.
Here’s a quick breakdown of diamond production by value (USD) in 2022.
|5||🇿🇦 South Africa||$1,538M|
|9||🇸🇱 Sierra Leone||$143M|
|19||🇨🇬 Republic of Congo||$0.20M|
|20||🇨🇮 Cote D'Ivoire||$0.16M|
Note: South Africa’s figures are estimated. Furthermore, numbers have been rounded and may not sum to the total.
Thus, even though Botswana only produced 59% of Russia’s diamond weight in 2022, it had a trade value of nearly $5 billion, approximately 1.5 times higher than Russia’s for the same year.
Another example is Angola, which is ranked 6th in diamond production, but 3rd in diamond value.
Both countries (as well as South Africa, Canada, and Namibia) produce gem-quality rough diamonds versus countries like Russia and the DRC whose diamonds are produced mainly for industrial use.
Which Regions Produce the Most Diamonds in 2022?
Unsurprisingly, Africa is the largest rough diamond producing region, accounting for 51% of output by weight, and 66% by value.
|Rank||Region||Share of Rough|
Diamond Production (%)
|Share of Rough
Diamond Value (%)
However diamond mining in Africa is a relatively recent phenomenon, fewer than 200 years old. Diamonds had been discovered—and prized—as far back as 2,000 years ago in India, later on spreading west to Egyptian pharaohs and the Roman Empire.
By the start of the 20th century, diamond production on a large scale took off: first in South Africa, and decades later in other African countries. In fact between 1889–1959, Africa produced 98% of the world’s diamonds.
And in the latter half of the 20th century, the term blood diamond evolved from diamonds mined in African conflict zones used to finance insurgency or crime.
Culture3 weeks ago
Ranked: Which Countries Drink the Most Beer?
Wealth1 week ago
Mapped: The Migration of the World’s Millionaires in 2023
Maps3 weeks ago
Mapped: The Deadliest Earthquakes of the 21st Century
Countries1 week ago
Charted: The World’s Biggest Oil Producers
Energy3 weeks ago
What Electricity Sources Power the World?
Technology1 week ago
Which Companies Own the Most Satellites?
Markets3 weeks ago
The 25 Worst Stocks by Shareholder Wealth Losses (1926-2022)
Mining6 days ago
200 Years of Global Gold Production, by Country