The Biggest Pandemic Losers

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With President Biden declaring that “the pandemic is over” on 60 Minutes last night, we thought we’d take a look at stock market performance since the pandemic began. At its peak on January 3rd, 2022, the S&P 500 was up more than 40% from its closing price on February 19th, 2020 – the peak reading for the index prior to the COVID Crash. After entering bear market territory in 2022, the S&P is currently only 14% above its pre-COVID high. In the Russell 1,000 – another large-cap index – 41% of stocks are now trading below their closing price on February 19th, 2020. 20% of stocks in the index are down more than 20%! Given that two and a half years have passed, we think it’s safe to say that any stock down 20% from pre-COVID levels has been a “pandemic loser.” At least at this point in time.

Below are stocks with market caps above $15 billion that are down at least 20% from their closing price on 2/19/20. Names like Boeing (BA), Delta (DAL), Uber (UBER), and Las Vegas Sands (LVS) were some of the initial “lockdown losers” that never really recovered, but other stocks that were initially viewed as “lockdown winners” are also on the list, like Netflix (NFLX), Meta (META), Spotify (SPOT), and Zoom Video (ZM). Go figure.

Boeing and Intel (INTC) have been two of the biggest losers since pre-COVID with declines of more than 56%. Other “blue chips” that have been crushed since the pandemic hit include Biogen (BIIB), Citigroup (C), General Electric (GE), Verizon (VZ), 3M (MMM), Square (SQ), Disney (DIS), Adobe (ADBE), and Salesforce (CRM). It’s interesting that there’s representation from nearly every sector of the economy on this list. The only sector that’s not included is Energy, which is crazy, since the sector was one of the hardest-hit in the early days of COVID as the price of oil even went negative for a day.

Of course, COVID isn’t the reason why all of these large-cap stocks are now down so much since the pandemic began, but the performance numbers are the performance numbers, and there’s no getting around it. Management at big travel & leisure companies have always wished COVID never happened, but more and more companies in sectors like Tech that thought the pandemic might be a game-changer for them in a positive way are now staring at big 2+ year declines thinking “what the hell just happened.”

Large-cap stocks down since the pandemic began

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Editor’s Note: The summary bullets for this article were chosen by Seeking Alpha editors.



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