2020 has been a devasting year for many businesses, and this has translated into the fastest stock market decline the world has ever seen.
Between February and March this year, the S&P 500 declined by over 30% – the fastest bear market from an all-time high in history.
The COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown have also stopped people from travelling, which resulted in a crash in the oil price.
So significant was the drop in demand that oil prices in the United States turned negative for the first time in history as producers ran out of storage space.
The combination of the coronavirus pandemic and the crude oil market collapse saw many companies lose over 50% of their market cap between February and March.
The good news for investors is that markets are already recovering, fuelled by the belief that economic growth will rapidly return once the COVID-19 pandemic is contained.
Just like the rapid decline experienced by equity markets in February and March, the rebound is equally fast.
The S&P 500, for example, has gained around 30% since its March lows, which essentially signals the end of the bear market.
The biggest beneficiaries of this recovery were tech companies with strong balance sheets and good growth opportunities.
Investors favoured tech giants like Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook, which now account for a large percentage of the US stock market.
Biggest winners and losers on the JSE
Sasfin Securities deputy chairman David Shapiro has revealed some of the biggest winners and losers on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).
The biggest winners were gold miners like Gold Fields, AngloGold Ashanti, and Harmony Gold.
Naspers and Prosus also showed strong growth on the back of the success of Tencent and the tech industry in general.
On the other end of the scale, travel and tourism, property, and retail shares were particularly hard-hit.
The chart below, provided by Shapiro, shows how much money you would have now if you invested R100 in these companies on 1 January 2020.
Biggest winners and losers in the United States
The biggest winners in the United States were all prominent tech companies like Tesla, Netflix, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, and Google.
There were a few standout performers which benefitted from the lockdown and work-from-home environment, like video conferencing provider Zoom and video game company Activision Blizzard.
The biggest losers were air travel companies like Delta Airlines and aircraft manufacturers such as Boeing, as well as banks like Wells Fargo and Citigroup.
The chart below, provided by Shapiro, shows how much money you would have now if you invested $100 in these companies on 1 January 2020.