At the beginning of the year as the coronavirus first started to wreak havoc on our lives, few could have imagined a subset of stocks could still manage to perform so well by being in the right place at the right time, or simply by executing better than their peers. But many did, providing outsized gains for those smart and lucky enough to hold onto them.
TheStreet's top 25 stocks of the year, which we rolled out over the past two weeks, included many familiar names but also a handful of newer ones. Here's a complete look at the stocks our writers and editors voted the 25 best of 2020:
The sizzling electric carmaker captured the attention of investors everywhere in 2020 with an almost 700% rise year-to-date and its recent addition to the S&P 500 index. Perhaps, then, it should come as no surprise that 12 of our 16 panelists voted Tesla as the stock of the year. Through the course of the year, the company managed to become one of the ten most valuable companies in the world, despite starting the year outside of the top 100.
2. Zoom Video (ZM) - Get Zoom Video Communications, Inc. Class A Report
The San Jose, Calif-based videoconferencing firm won legions of new users during the pandemic, but its business success is likely to continue long after the pandemic is just a bad memory.
The Cambridge, Mass.-based biotech company used its novel approach to vaccine development to rapidly develop and test a candidate in mere months, compared with a more standard multi-year process, and saw its stock surge more than 600% this year as a result.
With massive growth in its top line in 2020 thanks to COVID-related spending, Amazon now trails only Apple and Microsoft in market cap among publicly-traded firms. And despite ramping up spending on shipping and hiring, Amazon has remained quite profitable this year with analysts polled by FactSet on average expecting the company to generate $25.1 billion in free cash flow.
During 2020, Netflix managers battled bandwidth bottlenecks and furious assaults from a host of worthy competitors. And yet the streaming giant still managed to raise prices, yet again.
It's been an all-around great year for Nvidia as earnings have benefited from exposure to secular growing trends in gaming and the Data Center, one major acquisition was completed and an even larger deal was announced, and there were several key product launches and new partnerships announced to support growth in the years to come.
The Chinese electric vehicle company has been greatly benefiting from the continued shift to EVs, as well as subsidies supporting that shift in China. Shares have increased more than 12-fold this year.
Apple experienced yet another strong year in 2020 and is further set for even bigger things in the next two to three years with chips coming in-house on the new Macs, fuller integrations of apps and phone operating systems on all devices, Services continuing to build and a host of new 5G offerings on the way.
Investors are finally accepting the fact that Walmart, the world's largest retailer, is in position to compete with Amazon head-to-head, with the key to its success being the company's surge in online sales.
Costco has been a clear winner during the pandemic from a consumer who wants quality products at low prices. The company has delivered double-digit percent total comps since June. Meanwhile, membership fee income has grown, and retention rates are strong.
Pet adoption is up as a result of remote work, and Chewy also has plenty of options to enter new areas of the pet industry (they previously entered the pharmacy space and began offering online vet visits) as the company looks to become the one-stop-shop for any and all pet needs.
This past year saw Roku rise up strongly and gain significant market share. It was one of the best-performing tech names in 2020, rising a whopping 164%, and that could continue in the year ahead.
Online luxury marketplace Farfetch is finally seeing its value realized by Wall Street, having delivered more than 70% revenue growth each quarter this year. A big recent run-up has added to its stellar gains in 2020, making it one of the best-performing stocks with a market cap above $5 billion.
In 2020, Spotify moved from the world’s most popular music streaming service to the biggest story in digital audio entertainment with its big investment in podcasts. The change means better margins and a new revenue stream.
In a year when many retailers filed for bankruptcy, Nike has experienced tremendous e-commerce growth, with digital sales surging 82% in the quarter that ended in August. It’s done that by focusing on direct-to-consumer sales and optimizing its digital presence with superior technology, membership programs, platforms and leadership.
Uber has been able to compensate for the decline of its core business of ride-sharing in 2020 by focusing on growing its food-delivery service Uber Eats, including through its acquisition of Postmates. Shares have risen more than 70% this year.
Alibaba has benefited from the resurgence in the Chinese economy, the only major nation to post positive growth this year. But Alibaba is so much more than simply e-commerce. The spinoff of its massive and omnipresent Ant Group will eventually happen, giving rise to China’s preeminent fintech company.
With the successful launch of the super-fast, solid-state PlayStation 5, Sony is set to dominate the $145-billion video game industry for years to come, alongside the Xbox Series X. Sony’s stock performance this year is one of the factors that’s driven the Nikkei to its highest level in almost 30 years.
As digital ad prices plummeted in the wake of the pandemic, The Trade Desk’s programmable digital ad platform has benefitted from the failure of smaller players. Now the company is leveraging its new scale to attract media buyers and new partners like Alibaba, Baidu and TikTok, and its stock has risen almost 260% this year.
Law enforcement solutions provider Axon continues to benefit from a transition in its business toward body cameras, storage and related services, which is lessening the influence of the Taser business. Shares are up almost 75% year to date.
The legendary brand name was written off and left for dead earlier in the year amid sales declines and debt concerns. But the company cut costs and handily beat estimates the past two quarters, and shares have recovered from as low as $1.25 in March to as high as $36 recently.
A reclamation project, activist interest helped put GameStop back on the radar, and a revenue-sharing agreement with Microsoft announced in October put some wind back into its sails. Shares have risen almost 174% year to date.
23. Tencent Holdings (TCEHY)
Tencent's Q3 earnings were up 30.1% with the key driver a large increase in online entertainment. The videogame maker has the world’s most popular video game in Honor of Kings, a multiplayer battle game that recently crossed 100 million daily active users. Tencent, of course, also runs WeChat, the “super app” that is all things to all people in China.
Copper is up 25% this year and has one of the tightest commodity fundamentals with demand overshooting supply as the market is in deficit. Freeport McMoRan has solid management, best gearing to Copper/Gold by-products, clean margins and one of the best deposits out there.
The price of gold is up about 24% this year and Newmont is the world's largest producer of the precious metal. As the Federal Reserve has printed more money, we get more inflation in the system, and that tends to favor gold as an asset.
Amazon, Nvidia, Apple, Walmart, Costco and Nike are holdings in Jim Cramer’s Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells these stocks? Learn more now.