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By Paul Schrodt
March 25, 2020
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The stock market is looking precarious in the face of the coronavirus, with investors naturally concerned about how it’ll ravage global economies. If you own stocks, hopefully you know it’s a long game, and you should be prepared for the volatility (in other words, it’s not a time to panic and sell everything).

But while the market has taken a nose dive in the past month, with the S&P 500 losing nearly 30% of its value since hitting an all-time high on Feb. 19, a handful of stocks have actually seen their values go up.

These companies — spanning healthcare, energy, cleaning supplies, and groceries — prove there are always some businesses that thrive in even the worst environments. (Others that saw upticks since February 19 before falling again include Digital Realty Trust, Campbell Soup Company, Take-Two Interactive Software, and MarketAxess Holdings.)

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (REGN)

Current price: $449.53
Feb. 19 price: $400.81
One-month return: 12%

It’s no surprise that as the world reels from a novel virus that’s rapidly spreading through national populations, the pharmaceutical industry stands to benefit. The New York-based biotechnology company Regeneron is among the pharma players developing a COVID-19 vaccine.

Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD)

Current price: $73.96
Feb. 19 price: $66.73
One-month return: 11%

Gilead is another big pharma player climbing amid coronavirus fears. Even without COVID-19, the biopharmaceutical company is a huge developer of antiviral drugs used to treat HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and influenza. It’s currently working on trials to use its Remdesivir drug as a treatment for the coronavirus.

Kroger Co. (KR)

Current price: $30.15
Feb. 19 price: $29.54
One-month return: 0.6%

Surely you’ve noticed the empty shelves at grocery chains lately, looking as though every city has suddenly been hit by a hurricane. One you might visit is Cincinnati-based Kroger, the largest supermarket company in the US. Kroger has recently hired more than 2,000 employees because of coronavirus-related demand and has thousands more openings.

Clorox Co. (CLX)

Current price: $168.32
Feb. 19 price: $164.84
One-month return: 2%

The bleach company has been rushing to produce more disinfectant wipes and other cleaning products as consumers pick up bundles of them (Clorox has even urged people not to buy more than they need).

Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. (COG)

Current price: $16.35
Feb. 19 price: $15.60
One-month return: 5%

Gas prices are hitting lows across the US. While it might seem paradoxical, investors expect that with a drop in crude oil, the country’s supply of natural gas will decrease, consequently lifting gas prices in the future. Cabot is one of America’s biggest and most trusted producers of gas, so its fortunes look bright.

 

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