Here are the S&P 500’s best and worst stock performers of 2018 – MarketWatch


Considering how much coverage there has been of the strengthening U.S. economy, demand for workers and a massive tax cut that has boosted corporate earnings, 2018 has been a disappointing year for the stock market overall. Investors seem to be disappointed as they look ahead.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average














DJIA, -0.32%












 has returned 3.5% with dividends reinvested through Dec. 4, while the S&P 500 index














SPX, -0.15%












 has returned 2.8%.

As the year nears its close, it’s time to look at what stocks have fared best — and worst.

Sectors and the next two years

Here are total returns (with dividends reinvested) for all 11 sectors of the S&P 500 index through Dec. 4:

S&P 500 sector 2018 through Dec. 3 Sept. 28 through Dec. 4 2017 3 years 5 years 10 years 15 years
Health Care 14.3% -2.0% 22% 37% 86% 362% 320%
Utilities 9.6% 6.7% 12% 47% 76% 199% 348%
Consumer Discretionary 8.1% -10.4% 23% 36% 77% 512% 339%
Information Technology 6.9% -11.3% 39% 63% 123% 526% 336%
Real Estate 4.6% 2.9% 11% 22% 66% 347% 273%
Consumer Staples -0.9% 2.5% 13% 19% 48% 218% 288%
Financials -5.8% -5.9% 22% 37% 65% 227% 62%
Industrials -6.0% -10.4% 21% 33% 53% 278% 247%
Energy -6.8% -13.3% -1% 11% -12% 76% 232%
Communications Services -8.5% -9.2% -1% 12% 20% 122% 178%
Materials -9.6% -7.1% 24% 25% 35% 228% 197%
S&P 500 index 2.8% -7.0% 22% 37% 67% 295% 244%
Source: FactSet

The health-care sector is this year’s big winner, and that may not be much of a surprise, considering the demographic trends, innovation and overall increasing in spending. But you might be surprised that utilities have performed so well. In fact, they have beaten the performance of the S&P 500 for most long-term periods, showing perhaps how comforting it can be to invest in companies with protected monopolies and municipal contracts that ensure profits. The table also shows how the index and sectors have performed so far in the fourth quarter: poorly overall, but utilities have shined.

Based on weighted aggregate estimates, analysts expect S&P 500 companies to increase their earnings per share by 23.6% this year from 2017. But that factors in a massive cut to the top federal corporate income-tax rate to 21% from 35%.

Looking ahead, and leaving the sectors in the same order, here’s how much analysts expect sales and EPS to increase over the next two years:

S&P 500 sector Estimated change in sales – 2018 Estimated change in sales – 2019 Estimated change in sales – 2020 Estimated EPS growth – 2018 Estimated EPS growth – 2019 Estimated EPS growth – 2020
Health Care 6.9% 7.5% 5.2% 16.1% 7.1% 9.2%
Utilities -0.3% 3.0% 1.9% 7.5% 5.3% 5.1%
Consumer Discretionary 9.0% 5.8% 4.8% 18.3% 9.8% 12.8%
Information Technology 10.5% 4.6% 5.9% 19.8% 7.8% 10.5%
Real Estate 13.6% 4.4% 5.2% 6.0% 3.8% 6.5%
Consumer Staples 3.9% 3.3% 3.7% 11.9% 4.6% 7.0%
Financials 6.0% 3.4% 3.7% 31.0% 9.6% 9.8%
Industrials 8.2% 5.1% 4.1% 20.6% 10.7% 13.4%
Energy 19.6% 7.6% 1.0% 97.8% 22.3% 15.8%
Communications Services 15.0% 9.4% 6.8% 13.3% 6.2% 11.0%
Materials 17.5% 2.7% 3.9% 25.8% 6.6% 12.0%
S&P 500 index 9.0% 5.5% 4.3% 23.6% 8.7% 10.5%
Source: FactSet

Even among sell-side equity analysts, who typically accentuate the positive, sales and earnings growth are expected to cool off next year, with improvement for most sectors in 2020.

S&P 500 winners and losers in 2018

Here are the 10 S&P 500 stocks that have performed the best during 2018 through Dec. 4:

Company Ticker Industry Total return – 2018 through Dec.4 Total return – Sept. 28 through Dec. 4 Total Return – 2017
Advanced Micro Devices Inc.














AMD, +0.85%











Semiconductors 105% -32% -9%
TripAdvisor Inc.














TRIP, +1.09%











Other Consumer Services 83% 24% -26%
Advance Auto Parts Inc.














AAP, -1.36%











Specialty Stores 79% 6% -41%
Abiomed Inc.














ABMD, +1.77%











Medical Specialties 75% -27% 66%
Fortinet Inc.














FTNT, +2.82%











Computer Communications 68% -20% 45%
HCA Healthcare Inc.














HCA, -0.91%











Hospital/Nursing Management 64% 2% 19%
Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.














CMG, +0.33%











Restaurants 62% 3% -23%
Under Armour Inc. Class A














UAA, +3.13%











Apparel/Footwear 62% 10% -50%
Illumina Inc.














ILMN, +0.15%











Biotechnology 53% -9% 71%
McCormick & Co. Inc.














MKC, -0.04%











Food: Specialty/Candy 51% 15% 11%
Source: FactSet

You can click the tickers for more about each company, including news, profiles, estimates, charts, price ratios and ratings.

Advanced Micro Devices














AMD, +0.85%












 is this year’s winner, at least so far, exemplifying how volatile an industry group semiconductors can be. The stock has more than doubled this year, even though it has fallen 32% during the fourth quarter as the information technology sector has pulled back 11%.

What’s missing from the list? A mention of any of the so-called FAANG stocks — Facebook














FB, +1.23%












Amazon














AMZN, +1.92%












Apple














AAPL, -1.09%












Netflix














NFLX, +2.77%












  and Google parent Alphabet














GOOG, +1.81%













GOOGL, +1.57%












After big gains for much of the year, all have now plunged more than 20% from recent peaks, putting them in bear-market territory. That’s even though some still have sizable gains for the year to date.

Read: Howard Gold says there’s a darker message for investors in the FAANG selloff

It is human nature to want to pile on a recent winner. Investors also shy away from “bargain shopping” among stocks that have been falling, even when recent decliners include companies they long admired but whose stocks they have believed were overpriced. George Young of Villere & Co. recently discussed this psychological trap that hurts performance.

With that said, here’s a summary of analyst opinion about the S&P 500 winners:

Company Ticker Share ‘buy’ ratings Share neutral ratings Share ‘sell’ ratings Total analyst ratings Closing price – Dec. 4 Consensus price target Implied 12-month upside potential
Advanced Micro Devices Inc.














AMD, +0.85%











41% 44% 15% 34 $21.12 $23.26 10%
TripAdvisor Inc.














TRIP, +1.09%











11% 71% 18% 28 $63.22 $58.92 -7%
Advance Auto Parts Inc.














AAP, -1.36%











48% 52% 0% 25 $178.19 $192.68 8%
Abiomed Inc.














ABMD, +1.77%











92% 8% 0% 12 $327.18 $448.10 37%
Fortinet Inc.














FTNT, +2.82%











40% 57% 3% 30 $73.38 $85.32 16%
HCA Healthcare Inc.














HCA, -0.91%











63% 30% 7% 27 $142.13 $149.78 5%
Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.














CMG, +0.33%











38% 44% 18% 34 $468.35 $462.31 -1%
Under Armour Inc. Class A














UAA, +3.13%











18% 56% 26% 34 $23.34 $21.11 -10%
Illumina Inc.














ILMN, +0.15%











62% 33% 5% 21 $334.21 $356.18 7%
McCormick & Co. Inc.














MKC, -0.04%











16% 69% 15% 13 $151.56 $127.67 -16%
Source: FactSet

Here are this year’s 10 worst-performing S&P 500 stocks:

Company Ticker Industry Total return – 2018 through Dec.4 Total return – Sept. 28 through Dec. 4 Total Return – 2017
Coty Inc. Class A














COTY, -3.28%











Household/Personal Care -59% -36% 12%
General Electric Co.














GE, +0.96%












 
Industrial Conglomerates -57% -36% -43%
Mohawk Industries Inc.














MHK, +1.41%











Home Furnishings -56% -31% 38%
Affiliated Managers Group Inc.














AMG, +1.36%











Investment Managers -48% -23% 42%
Newfield Exploration Co.














NFX, -2.38%











Oil & Gas Production -45% -40% -22%
Western Digital Corporation














WDC, +1.30%











Computer Peripherals -45% -26% 20%
Invesco Ltd.














IVZ, -3.35%












 
Investment Managers -44% -13% 25%
Dentsply Sirona Inc.














XRAY, -0.92%











Medical Specialties -44% -2% 15%
L Brands Inc.














LB, +1.12%











Apparel/Footwear Retail -41% 11% -4%
PG&E Corporation














PCG, -2.69%











Electric Utilities -40% -42% -25%
Source: FactSet

Surprise: General Electric














GE, +0.96%












 isn’t the worst S&P 500 performer of 2018, at least through Dec. 4. Rather, it’s Coty














COTY, -3.28%












 which has been on a steadily downward path since February. The beauty products manufacturer named Pierre Laubies as its new CEO on Nov. 12, after a disappointing earnings report sent its shares down 23% on Nov. 7.

Here’s a summary of analyst opinion about the S&P 500 losers:

Company Ticker Share ‘buy’ ratings Share neutral ratings Share ‘sell’ ratings Total analyst ratings Closing price – Dec. 4 Consensus price target Implied 12-month upside potential
Coty Inc. Class A














COTY, -3.28%











33% 56% 11% 18 $7.93 $10.70 35%
General Electric Co.














GE, +0.96%











41% 50% 9% 22 $7.28 $11.77 62%
Mohawk Industries Inc.














MHK, +1.41%











45% 45% 10% 22 $121.30 $139.72 15%
Affiliated Managers Group Inc.














AMG, +1.36%











73% 27% 0% 11 $105.15 $149.22 42%
Newfield Exploration Co.














NFX, -2.38%











50% 50% 0% 28 $17.23 $33.44 94%
Western Digital Corporation














WDC, +1.30%











40% 60% 0% 30 $43.04 $64.30 49%
Invesco Ltd.














IVZ, -3.35%











50% 50% 0% 18 $19.53 $24.97 28%
Dentsply Sirona Inc.














XRAY, -0.92%











33% 67% 0% 15 $36.81 $43.27 18%
L Brands Inc.














LB, +1.12%











30% 60% 10% 30 $33.02 $36.02 9%
PG&E Corporation














PCG, -2.69%











44% 50% 6% 18 $26.75 $39.87 49%
Source: FactSet

Don’t miss: Money-management CEO sees ‘significant slowdown’ in economy, shifts to less-risky investments

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