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The Pandemic Economy: Which Stocks are Weathering the Storm?

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The Pandemic Economy infographic

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.

Bizarro Market

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 selectionPerformance (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.

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Maps

Mapped: The 10 U.S. States With the Lowest Real GDP Growth

In this graphic, we show where real GDP lagged the most across America in 2023 as high interest rates weighed on state economies.

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The Top 10 U.S. States, by Lowest Real GDP Growth

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

While the U.S. economy defied expectations in 2023, posting 2.5% in real GDP growth, several states lagged behind.

Last year, oil-producing states led the pack in terms of real GDP growth across America, while the lowest growth was seen in states that were more sensitive to the impact of high interest rates, particularly due to slowdowns in the manufacturing and finance sectors.

This graphic shows the 10 states with the least robust real GDP growth in 2023, based on data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Weakest State Economies in 2023

Below, we show the states with the slowest economic activity in inflation-adjusted terms, using chained 2017 dollars:

RankStateReal GDP Growth 2023 YoYReal GDP 2023
1Delaware-1.2%$74B
2Wisconsin+0.2%$337B
3New York+0.7%$1.8T
4Missississippi+0.7%$115B
5Georgia+0.8%$661B
6Minnesota+1.2%$384B
7New Hampshire+1.2%$91B
8Ohio+1.2%$698B
9Iowa+1.3%$200B
10Illinois+1.3%$876B
U.S.+2.5%$22.4T

Delaware witnessed the slowest growth in the country, with real GDP growth of -1.2% over the year as a sluggish finance and insurance sector dampened the state’s economy.

Like Delaware, the Midwestern state of Wisconsin also experienced declines across the finance and insurance sector, in addition to steep drops in the agriculture and manufacturing industries.

America’s third-biggest economy, New York, grew just 0.7% in 2023, falling far below the U.S. average. High interest rates took a toll on key sectors, with notable slowdowns in the construction and manufacturing sectors. In addition, falling home prices and a weaker job market contributed to slower economic growth.

Meanwhile, Georgia experienced the fifth-lowest real GDP growth rate. In March 2024, Rivian paused plans to build a $5 billion EV factory in Georgia, which was set to be one of the biggest economic development initiatives in the state in history.

These delays are likely to exacerbate setbacks for the state, however, both Kia and Hyundai have made significant investments in the EV industry, which could help boost Georgia’s manufacturing sector looking ahead.

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