The Winners and Losers of 2020

Plus500 | Thursday 31 December 2020

This year has been one of the toughest for some businesses, but also has brought great fortune to others. With the global COVID-19 pandemic either wiping out some companies into bankruptcy or just being hurt, others have looked on the bright side of the pandemic effect.

Here is a look at some of 2020’s winners and losers.

2020 stock market

Winners of 2020

1. Bitcoin

This has been Bitcoin’s (BTCUSD) biggest year yet, as since the beginning of the year it has more than quadrupled its value and yesterday’s high reached just over $29,000. More traders are turning to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as the U.S. dollar has weakened possibly due to the Fed cutting interest rates to zero.

2. Big Tech 

With COVID-19 keeping people at home, big tech giants welcomed an increase in online shopping, workplace solutions and stay at home technology.

Big tech giants all thrived with online stay-at-home consumer usage such as Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT), Alphabet (GOOG), Amazon (AMZN) and Facebook (FB).

Zoom Video Communications (ZM) surged 425% this year due to people working from home with workplace meetings becoming the new norm online.

Online streaming giant Netflix (NFLX) had an interesting year as more people turned to the T.V. instead of going to closed movie theaters. Up until October this year, Netflix shares jumped more than 63%.

3. Cannabis

This year four more U.S. states approved cannabis for recreational use on December’s Election Day, resulting in the drug being legal in 13 states. After president Biden’s transition into the new electoral role began, Cannabis stocks (BGCANG) rose again. In September this year, it is estimated that Cannabis sales grew about 38%.

Losers of 2020

1. Travel

Corona lockdowns also meant less vacations and travel to work. This resulted in Oil (CL) taking one of the biggest plunges out of all the commodities this year. American multinational oil and gas company ExxonMobil (XOM) confirmed on Wednesday that it will take a writedown of up to US$20 billion. 

Some automobile sectors felt the sting such as the car rental giant Hertz filing for bankruptcy early in the pandemic. The restrictions also negatively affected the airline, hotels and cruise sectors this year. 

On the contrary, Tesla (TSLA) rose to new highs with a year to date change of almost 700%.

2. Banks 

Since the Great Recession, this was the worst year for American banks. Only six months into the year and credit concerns were high. Loans were in jeopardy as tens of billions of dollars were lost. To cover large debts, many U.S. banks have set aside recovery funds in the billions. The Bank of America (BAC) dropped 15.8% since the beginning of the year.

3. Retail

As millions lost jobs due to mall closures during lockdowns, shops in malls struggled to stay afloat and some went into bankruptcy. Neiman Marcus, JCPenney, and Lord & Taylor were among some that fell bankrupt. America's biggest mall operator Simon Property Group (SPG) suffered major losses during lockdowns, hitting as low as 43.8 per share on March 15th. However, as a result of this, online retail saw an increase.

With the global pandemic putting some businesses in the drain and others soaring high, it remains unclear if a new vaccine will revive those markets affected in 2020. What will 2021 bring?


Get more from Plus500

Expand Your Knowledge

Videos & Articles help you expand your trading knowledge.

Prepare Your Trades

Our Economic calendar helps you explore global market events.

Trade Without Surprises

Understand the full costs of your trades now for better expense management later.


This information is written by Plus500 Ltd. The information is provided for general purposes only, and does not take into account any personal circumstances or objectives. Before acting on this material, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and, if necessary, seek professional advice. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. It does not constitute financial, investment or other advice on which you can rely. Any references to past performance, historical returns, future projections, and statistical forecasts are no guarantee of future returns or future performance. Plus500 will not be held responsible for any use that may be made of this information and for any consequences that may result from such use. Hence, any person acting based on this information does so at their own discretion. The information has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research.

Need Help?
24/7 Support