Best performing stocks in February and good stocks to invest in right now

The best performing stocks in February were often companies helping those worried about coronavirus. But what are good stocks to invest in right now?

Best performing stocks in February and good stocks to invest in right now                                 

To say that February has been a mixed bag for the markets would be an understatement. Early in the month, the best performing stocks weren’t hard to come – exchanges around the world were largely shrugging off concerns about the coronavirus.

Unfortunately, things soured as February drew to a close, even though the number of coronavirus cases had started to slow substantially in China. That’s because the outbreak has begun to spread to the likes of South Korea, Italy and Iran – far-flung places where hundreds of patients have been identified. All of this has spooked the markets, triggering mass sell-offs. Good stocks to invest in right now are getting harder to come by.

To illustrate the scale of the problem, just look at what’s happened to the Dow over the past few days. The Dow was rising high at about 29,500 points on 12 February – and at the time of writing, it’s fallen below 26,000. On 27 February, the industrial average tumbled by 1,200 points – the biggest one-day fall on record. This puts the index firmly in correction territory, where there’s a drop of at least 10 per cent from recent highs.

Given the doom and gloom, let’s take a look at the shares that defined February, for good reasons and bad, and explore the stocks to invest in now.

Big fallers in February

You could argue that great stocks to invest in now are those that have fallen the sharpest. While nervy investors are selling, those with a more long-term view can swoop in and secure a profit. But this is easier said than done. Even before the coronavirus outbreak, back in 2018, some analysts were arguing that this market correction was long overdue. Lower share prices could become the new normal – and indeed, things may get worse if countries struggle to control the outbreak.

Let’s take a deep dive into some of the biggest fallers over the course of February. 0'>Apple and 0'>Microsoft have had a pretty torrid time of it, as they admitted that the coronavirus outbreak would affect sales in the current quarter. Since 12 February, Apple’s stock has fallen from about $327 to $273 – a 16.5 per centper cent decline. This is primarily borne out of fears that there could be iPhone shortages because its “just in time” production strategy will be thrown into disarray by lockdowns in China. There has been a similar drop at Microsoft over the same period, of about 16 per cent.

Apple Inc
Daily change
Low: 141.91
High: 145.35
Daily change
Low: 244.24
High: 248.65

Travel companies have also had a trying time – and their shares have been in freefall ever since the true extent of the coronavirus outbreak became clear in China, given how this resulted in a series of flight restrictions.

0'>Carnival, a tour operator that specialises in cruises, is among the biggest casualties. One of its ships, the Diamond Princess, was quarantined for two weeks off the coast of Japan after some passengers on board fell ill with the coronavirus. This would be enough to make holidaymakers think twice about making a booking – but it didn’t help that almost 700 people were struck with COVID-19 while the period of self-isolation took place. Carnival’s shares reached 2020 highs of about 3,700p in London on 17 January. Since then, they’ve crashed to 2,340p – a staggering decline of 58 per cent.

Carnival - USD
Daily change
Low: 8.82
High: 9.11

It’s been a particularly awful month for airlines, too. Long-haul operators such as International Airlines Group and United were initially affected when Wuhan became the epicentre of the outbreak (IAG is down 42.5 per cent since 17 January, while UAL has fallen 28 per cent). With Italy reporting hundreds of cases, and COVID-19 now becoming more prevalent in the UK and the Canary Islands, short-haul airlines are feeling the pain too. Since 11 February, easyJet has crashed by 30 per cent, and Ryanair by 23.5 per cent. That’s the impact of British travellers beginning to rethink their plans of a holiday in continental Europe this summer.

Coronavirus is a recurring theme with many big fallers, but other factors can be at play too. 0'>The Walt Disney Company has been forced to close several of its parks in Asia of late, but a key driver in the collapse of its share price over recent days has been the unexpected, sudden departure of CEO Bob Iger. Shares stood at $139 on 21 February and at $118 on 27 February – down 15 per cent over just four trading sessions.

Walt Disney
Daily change
Low: 92.04
High: 94.66

Best performing stocks in February

Good stocks to invest in right now involve companies that provide services direct to the consumer’s home – either electronically or through deliveries. That said, they may only be a solid bet if lockdowns continue, otherwise demand could start to slip.

Just take a look at Zoom Technologies. It provides video conferencing, a tool that’s undoubtedly going to be useful to people who are forced to work from home. At the start of February, its stock was milling around at about $2.50. In under four weeks, despite the gloom in the markets, it stands at $5.50 at the time of writing – an increase of 120 per cent.

If the coronavirus outbreak continues, some of the other best performing stocks will involve those that offer products people in affected areas will turn to. 0'>Clorox, which manufactures bleach and disinfectant products, has bucked the trend and is up 8.4 per cent since the start of February. It’s no coincidence this comes as people ramp up their hygiene practices to try and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Daily change
Low: 141.81
High: 143.8

Correlation doesn’t imply causation, but it’s interesting how 0'>Domino’s Pizza  has taken a massive leap since 19 February. The stock was trading in the late $200s but then suddenly shot up to about $350 at the time of writing. This surge was likely down to impressive earnings and optimism about new products in the pipeline, but think of it this way: if you were forced to self-isolate because of the coronavirus and out of food in your flat, who would you call?

Dominos Pizza
Daily change
Low: 386.37
High: 391.33

It’s really difficult to know which stocks to invest in now and what the best performing stocks will be long term because we don’t know how far the coronavirus outbreak will run for. Buying the biggest fallers could be risky if the crisis sparks a recession – and equally, taking a position with the biggest risers could prove calamitous if the number of confirmed cases and deaths begins to fall. It’s not an easy time to be in the stock market.

FURTHER READING: Is an Airbnb IPO on the cards in 2020?

FURTHER READING: 10 European AI start-ups you should be keeping an eye on

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