Stocks around the world have been struggling lately, but one group of equities may ultimately benefit from all the fear and uncertainty: so-called megacaps.
Ever since worries over the European debt crisis began to escalate more than a year and a half ago, the biggest American blue-chip stocks have been among the few bright spots for investors.
Since the start of last year, the Russell Top 50 index of the largest-capitalization domestic stocks has climbed more than 14 percent, while the MSCI EAFE index of foreign equities has sunk more than 15 percent and the Russell 2000 index of small-company shares has gained just 1 percent. Tack on dividends and megacap stocks have returned more than 18 percent during a period of heightened volatility and fear on Wall Street.
These giant stocks, with a market capitalization of around $50 billion or higher, managed to avoid losses in what’s been a tough month for many smaller stocks. The megacaps are up around 2 percent in July, while small-cap stocks are off nearly 1 percent.
Because of their size and industry dominance, megacaps have traditionally been seen as a relatively stable spot for equity investors. But their recent outperformance was a notable turnaround for a group that had generally been out of favor since the late 1990s, when shares of giant companies like Microsoft and Cisco Systems dominated the market before the growth stock bubble burst in 2000.Page 1 of 5 | Next Page