David is a tech journalist who loves old-school adventure games, techno and the Beastie Boys. He's currently on the finance beat. David is a tech journalist who loves old-school adventure games, techno and the Beastie Boys. He's currently on the finance beat.
‘Stay-at-home’ stocks like Netflix and Zoom thrived in the first half of 2020. But as Black Lives Matter protests swept across the US in June, a very different kind of company surged: guns and ammo stocks.
Not only have US-listed guns and ammo stocks outperformed the world’s biggest tech companies this year, but they’ve even eclipsed companies that benefitted most from the world’s transition into remote work and education.
[Read: No, THIS is how much $10K worth of dot-com bubble stock is worth today]
In fact, when the S&P 500 (SPX) index, a popular benchmark for the wider US market, fell by more than 2% last Friday to erase all of its June gains, tech giants and stay-at-home stocks followed suit. But almost simultaneously, guns and ammo stocks rose by a similar amount.
Guns and Ammo vs. Stay-at-Home
To compare stay-at-home stocks against guns and ammo, Hard Fork built two new indexes: the Guns and Ammo 7 (GAX) and the Stay-at-Home 21 (SHX), having first debuted the GAX earlier this month.
Aside from those two, we used the NYSE’s FANG+ index to chart US tech giants like Amazon and Apple, the NDX as a benchmark for the wider tech sector, and the SPX to gauge the overall US market.
For the SHX, we adopted the list of stay-at-home stocks shared by CNBC’s Jim Cramer a few weeks back, but we’ve added social media vanguard Twitter into the mix just for good measure.
Overall, SHX is up 7%; FANG+ 26%; and NDX 12%. On the other hand, GAX is up a teeth-clenching 37%. The wider US market (as shown by SPX) is negative for the year, down 6.3% as of market open on June 30.
GAX and SHX: Top performing stocks
The GAX surge can be attributed to stellar rallies by ammo makers Vista Outdoors (VSTO) and Smith & Wessen Brands (SWBI) — both more than doubled in value this year.
In supporting roles, Sportsman’s Warehouse (SPWH), which sells semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15, is up 78% year-to-date, while firearm aficionados Sturm & Ruger is up 55%. Now, the real trick for the GAX is to retain its spectacular growth in the second half of 2020.
As for our internet-adjacent stay-at-home stocks: the endlessly-bullish video comms firm Zoom Video returned the most, up 262% for the year. Craft marketplace Etsy and ecommerce darling Shopify were the next best, having risen by 128% and 126% respectively.
Update 16:55, June 30: This piece has been updated to adjust the SHX and GAX indexes so that they are price weighted, much like the Dow Jones index.
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