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These are the 20 worst-performing S&P 500 stocks of 2020 — analysts see double-digit rebounds for five of them in 2021

By Philip van Doorn, MarketWatch

The action is concentrated in one sector

(Updates story with year-end closing prices and consensus price targets.)

During the stock market's March plunge, it may have been difficult for you to expect 2020 to end up as a good year for stocks, but incredibly low interest rates from the Federal Reserve, unprecedented federal spending to support the economy and investors' enthusiasm for technology stocks did just that.

While many stocks did well, 198 of the S&P 500 Index's components lost ground in 2020. Further down in this article, you'll find a list of the 20 worst-performing S&P stocks. While Wall Street analysts remain downbeat on some of them for 2021, they foresee a significant recovery for others -- particularly in one industry.

Here's how the 11 sectors of the S&P 500 performed in 2020, as the benchmark rose 16.3%:

Index  Price change - 2020 
Information Technology                42.2% 
Consumer Discretionary                32.1% 
Communication Services                22.2% 
Materials                             18.1% 
Health Care                           11.4% 
Industrials                            9.0% 
Consumer Staples                       7.6% 
Utilities                             -2.8% 
Financials                            -4.1% 
Real Estate                           -5.2% 
Energy                               -37.3% 
                            Source: FactSet 

The coronavirus recession caused demand for oil to plummet, as the cruise industry has shut down and commercial air flights have plummeted. But production cuts have improved the balance between supply and demand. Here's a chart showing continuous front-month futures quotes for West Texas crude oil this year:

That's a remarkable recovery; however, WTI still fell 21% in 2020. This explains why energy-sector companies make up more than half of the year's list of the 20 worst-performing S&P 500 stocks through Dec. 28:

Company                                Ticker   Industry                        Price change - 2020 
 Occidental Petroleum Corp.            US:OXY     Oil & Gas Production            -58% 
 Carnival Corp.                        US:CCL     Hotels/Resorts/Cruiselines      -57% 
 Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.   US:NCLH     Hotels/Resorts/Cruiselines      -56% 
 TechnipFMC PLC                        US:FTI     Oilfield Services/Equipment     -56% 
 United Airlines Holdings Inc.         US:UAL     Airlines                        -51% 
 Marathon Oil Corp.                    US:MRO     Oil & Gas Production            -51% 
 Oneok Inc.                            US:OKE     Oil & Gas Pipelines             -49% 
 HollyFrontier Corp.                   US:HFC     Oil Refining/Marketing          -49% 
 Diamondback Energy Inc.               US:FANG     Oil & Gas Production            -48% 
 Schlumberger NV                       US:SLB     Oilfield Services/Equipment     -46% 
 National Oilwell Varco Inc.           US:NOV     Oilfield Services/Equipment     -45% 
 American Airlines Group Inc.          US:AAL     Airlines                        -45% 
 Apache Corp.                          US:APA     Oil & Gas Production            -45% 
 Royal Caribbean Group                 US:RCL     Hotels/Resorts/Cruiselines      -44% 
 Wells Fargo & Company                 US:WFC     Major Banks                     -44% 
 Vornado Realty Trust                  US:VNO     Real Estate Investment Trusts   -44% 
 Simon Property Group Inc.             US:SPG     Real Estate Investment Trusts   -43% 
 Exxon Mobil Corp.                     US:XOM     Integrated Oil                  -41% 
 EOG Resources Inc.                    US:EOG     Oil & Gas Production            -40% 
 Valero Energy Corp.                   US:VLO     Oil Refining/Marketing          -40% 
                                                                                      Source: FactSet 

Scroll the table to see all the data.

You can click on the tickers for more about each company, including news coverage, charts, financial data and price ratios.

Here's a summary of Wall Street analysts' opinions about these stocks:

Company                                Ticker  Share 'buy' ratings  Share neutral ratings  Share 'sell' ratings  Closing price - Dec. 31  Consensus price target  Implied 12-month upside potential 
 Occidental Petroleum Corp.            US:OXY                    17%                    66%                   17%                   $17.31                  $16.73                                -3% 
 Carnival Corp.                        US:CCL                    11%                    68%                   21%                   $21.66                  $17.95                               -17% 
 Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.   US:NCLH                    35%                    59%                    6%                   $25.43                  $22.46                               -12% 
 TechnipFMC PLC                        US:FTI                    70%                    23%                    7%                    $9.40                  $10.90                                16% 
 United Airlines Holdings Inc.         US:UAL                    39%                    44%                   17%                   $43.25                  $46.29                                 7% 
 Marathon Oil Corp.                    US:MRO                    33%                    54%                   13%                    $6.67                   $7.78                                17% 
 Oneok Inc.                            US:OKE                    32%                    56%                   12%                   $38.38                  $37.30                                -3% 
 HollyFrontier Corp.                   US:HFC                    36%                    53%                   11%                   $25.85                  $29.44                                14% 
 Diamondback Energy Inc.               US:FANG                    90%                    10%                    0%                   $48.40                  $60.03                                24% 
 Schlumberger NV                       US:SLB                    70%                    27%                    3%                   $21.83                  $24.84                                14% 
 National Oilwell Varco Inc.           US:NOV                    44%                    40%                   16%                   $13.73                  $13.42                                -2% 
 American Airlines Group Inc.          US:AAL                    18%                    27%                   55%                   $15.77                  $11.36                               -28% 
 Apache Corp.                          US:APA                    39%                    58%                    3%                   $14.19                  $16.00                                13% 
 Royal Caribbean Group                 US:RCL                    33%                    50%                   17%                   $74.69                  $67.54                               -10% 
 Wells Fargo & Company                 US:WFC                    48%                    48%                    4%                   $30.18                  $33.89                                12% 
 Vornado Realty Trust                  US:VNO                    23%                    46%                   31%                   $37.34                  $41.55                                11% 
 Simon Property Group Inc.             US:SPG                    35%                    65%                    0%                   $85.28                  $92.00                                 8% 
 Exxon Mobil Corp.                     US:XOM                    27%                    61%                   12%                   $41.22                  $48.50                                18% 
 EOG Resources Inc.                    US:EOG                    74%                    26%                    0%                   $49.87                  $63.47                                27% 
 Valero Energy Corp.                   US:VLO                    91%                     4%                    5%                   $56.57                  $64.11                                13% 
                                                                                                                                                                                      Source: FactSet 

So five of these companies have majority "buy" ratings, with analysts expecting the shares to rise by double digits over the next year. All are involved in oil or natural gas production or refining.

As always, if you see any stocks of interests, it's important to do your own research to form your own opinion about a company's prospects.

For more about 2020, click here for a list of this year's best-performing stocks (link) in the U.S. and here for a list of big winners that aren't yet included (link) in the S&P 500 or the Nasdaq-100 indexes.

Don't miss:20 of analysts' favorite large-cap stocks for 2021, including GM, Facebook and Salesforce (link)

-Philip van Doorn; 415-439-6400;


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01-02-21 0816ET

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