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Only The Strong Will Survive This Meltdown

Mar. 04, 2020 1:00 PM ETBALL, CLX, KO, KMB16 Comments
Erik Conley profile picture
Erik Conley


  • Here are 25 stocks that have held up during the crash.
  • It's a mixed bag but there are themes to notice.
  • All these stocks are on my personal watchlist.
  • Looking for a portfolio of ideas like this one? Members of The ZenInvestor Top 7 get exclusive access to our model portfolio. Get started today »

The table below lists the stocks on my watchlist that have bucked the recent downtrend and shown a YTD gain. (No easy feat.)

The table is sorted in order of highest to lowest YTD gain. There are other stocks that have bigger gains but they're not on my watchlist. I'll make a few observations about this list and follow with charts of 5 stocks that interest me.

Top of the list is Ball Corp. (BLL), a consumer discretionary stock that makes containers and packaging. You've probably seen or maybe even purchased Ball jars at Target (TGT), Walmart (WMT), Kohl's (KSS) or other general retail merchandisers. Why this stock is leading the pack is a little puzzling to me, and to the analyst community who seem to hate it. Maybe someone can weigh in with a comment on this?

There are other consumer stocks on the list, like Clorox (CLX), Colgate (CL), Coke (KO) and Kimberly-Clark (KMB). This makes sense because these are defensive names and they offer at least a modicum of shelter from the storm.

Big, legacy tech is well represented by names like Adobe (ADBE), Nvidia (NVDA), Intuit (INTU), Motorola (MSI), Microsoft (MSFT), and even the long-suffering HP Inc. (HPQ). Perhaps the FAANG crowd decided to switch to legacy tech names to reduce volatility while maintaining exposure to the sector?

Healthcare is represented with names like Regeneron (REGN), Gilead (GILD), and West Pharma (WST).

Financial Services are represented by names like T. Rowe Price (TROW), S&P Global (SPGI) and Moody's (MCO).

Even energy is represented with names like NextEra Energy (NEE), Eversource Energy (ES) and CMS Energy (CMS).

It's a motley crew of names, some of which make intuitive sense and others make me scratch my head. But they all share one important feature - they are up in price this year

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This article was written by

Erik Conley profile picture
Trader, analyst & portfolio manager, from 1975 - 2001. Former head of equity trading at Northern Trust Co. in Chicago. Now a private investor, founder of a nonprofit investor advocacy firm, and private investing coach. It gives me great satisfaction to teach retail investors the same skills and strategies that I used with my high net worth clients as a private wealth manager. It may be a cliche, but giving something back to the community is more rewarding to me than helping very rich people get even richer.

Analyst’s Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Seeking Alpha's Disclosure: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. Any views or opinions expressed above may not reflect those of Seeking Alpha as a whole. Seeking Alpha is not a licensed securities dealer, broker or US investment adviser or investment bank. Our analysts are third party authors that include both professional investors and individual investors who may not be licensed or certified by any institute or regulatory body.

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Comments (16)

Thanks for the list! I will keep & add to my watch list.
Any serious crash that last years could happen and strong companies and being diverse will do little if anything.
Don’t leave out PM. For the past week or so their were several days it was the only ticker I had in the green. As for the melt down, we have more pain coming. Hopefully people will stop selling? As for buying, there will be better prices soon. The virus is real.
Buyandhold 2012 profile picture
I like almost all of the stocks mentioned in this article as long as they are not overpriced when purchased.
Montanasteve profile picture
@Buyandhold 2012

"I like almost all of the stocks mentioned in this article as long as they are not overpriced when purchased."

Thanks for the sage advice, BH, which loosely translates to:

"Don't gamble; take all your savings and buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don't go up, don't buy it."

Not that you would ever sell, of course.
Erik Conley profile picture
Thanks, Will Rogers.
Buyandhold 2012 profile picture

"Not that you would ever sell, of course."

Of course.
Buyandhold 2012 profile picture
What meltdown?

The stock market is way up today.

And I went to the bank today and deposited by AbbVie and Abbott Labs dividend checks so I am a very happy man.

AbbVie, by the way, is up 4.77% today and Abbott Labs is up 5.36% today.
Erik Conley profile picture
Good for you, BH. Sincerely.
BLL is an odd mix of businesses. They make aluminum cans for beer, soda and possibly the energy drinks that are popular. They also have a space business that builds scientific and defense instruments and spacecraft. They were involved with the JWST mirror and deployment (it’s the Hubble space telescope replacement). Trying to assess them against any competition would be very difficult.
Erik Conley profile picture
@67bmer Thanks very much!
Chris Valley profile picture
Analysts frequently blow smoke ads cover for their institutional trading desks.

Ball is like a duopoly in cans. So it has the "bunker down" trade covered.

Also... the business managers are pretty well incentivized and aligned with return on invested capital and it's got some pretty good value investor hedge fund types in the holders.

Some bank analysts can't seem to figure out the forest of humans in the stack of cans.
Erik Conley profile picture
@Chris Valley Great note, thanks.
Just a heads-up. NEE, ES and CMS are not truly “Energy” stocks. They are utilities. Nice little article otherwise.
Erik Conley profile picture
Thanks, A Pitts. (Readers please take note of this.)
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Related Stocks

SymbolLast Price% Chg
Ball Corporation
The Clorox Company
The Coca-Cola Company
Kimberly-Clark Corporation

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