June 17, 2024
Here are the 20 best performing stocks of March — and the 20 worst

Here are the 20 best performing stocks of March — and the 20 worst

(Updated with closing prices on March 31.)

Technology stocks dominated during March, with remarkable gains for a sector that tumbled last year. Meanwhile, two high-profile bank failures took their toll on the financial sector — but maybe that sector performed better than you expected.

Below are lists of the month’s best and worst performing stocks in the S&P 500 SPX, followed by lists for the Nasdaq-100 Index NDX and the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA.

First, take a look at how the 11 sectors of the S&P 500 fared for the month. Performance and forward price-to-earnings valuations for the broad indexes are below the sectors:

Index March price change 2023 price change 2022 price change Forward P/E Forward P/E as of Dec. 30, 2022 Forward P/E as of Dec. 31, 2021
 Information Technology  10.9% 21.5% -28.9% 24.4 20.0 28.2
 Communication Services  10.4% 20.2% -40.4% 16.2 14.4 20.9
 Utilities  4.6% -4.0% -1.4% 17.7 18.8 20.4
 Consumer Staples  3.8% 0.2% -3.2% 20.2 20.6 21.4
 Consumer Discretionary  3.0% 15.8% -37.6% 25.2 21.5 34.2
 Health Care  2.1% -4.7% -3.6% 17.1 17.7 17.2
 Industrials  0.6% 3.0% -7.1% 18.5 18.4 21.2
 Energy  -0.5% -5.6% 59.0% 10.2 9.8 11.1
 Materials  -1.3% 3.8% -14.1% 16.5 15.7 16.6
 Real Estate -2.1% 1.0% -28.4% 17.0 17.1 25.3
 Financials  -9.7% -6.0% -12.4% 12.4 12.9 16.1
S&P 500 3.5% 7.0% -19.4% 17.9 16.8 21.5
Dow Jones Industrial Average 1.9% 0.4% -8.8% 16.7 16.6 18.9
Nasdaq Composite Index 6.7% 16.8% -33.1% 26.0 22.4 31.6
Nasdaq-100 Index 9.5% 20.5% -33.0% 25.0 21.0 30.6
Source: FactSet

All price changes in this article exclude dividends.

The IT sector has seen a considerable rebound this year, accelerating in March. The communications Services sector has trailed closely.

Sector placement can be confusing for some companies when considering how they are perceived by investors. Both Meta Platforms Inc. META and Alphabet Inc. GOOGL are in the communications sector. Both are among the best performers in the S&P 500 during March, listed below.

Read: What tech bust? Big Tech stocks gained $2 trillion in roaring start to 2023

Despite such a strong showing for the benchmark index, only 261 stocks in the S&P 500 rose during March. This reflects the index’s weighting by market capitalization.

Here are the 20 stocks in the S&P 500 that performed best for the month:

Company Ticker March price change 2023 price change 2022 price change Forward P/E Forward P/E as of Dec. 31
Intel Corp. INTC 31.0% 23.6% -48.7% 40.0 14.6
First Solar Inc. FSLR 28.6% 45.2% 71.9% 26.3 29.4
Advanced Micro Devices Inc. AMD 24.7% 51.3% -55.0% 28.9 17.8
Salesforce Inc. CRM 22.1% 50.7% -47.8% 26.5 23.7
Meta Platforms Inc. Class A META 21.2% 76.1% -64.2% 19.6 14.7
Arista Networks Inc. ANET 21.0% 38.3% -15.6% 27.2 22.3
Nvidia Corp. NVDA 19.6% 90.1% -50.3% 57.9 34.4
Adobe Inc. ADBE 19.0% 14.5% -40.7% 23.6 21.8
Illumina Inc. ILMN 16.7% 15.0% -46.9% 121.1 66.0
Microsoft Corp. MSFT 16.0% 20.6% -28.7% 27.2 23.1
Insulet Corp. PODD 15.4% 8.3% 10.6% 213.1 260.4
Alphabet Inc. Class A GOOGL 15.2% 17.6% -39.1% 18.7 16.9
MarketAxess Holdings Inc. MKTX 14.6% 40.3% -32.2% 48.0 37.1
Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. CMG 14.5% 23.1% -20.6% 37.8 32.3
Kroger Co. KR 14.4% 10.7% -1.5% 10.9 10.6
Cooper Cos. Inc. COO 14.2% 12.9% -21.1% 27.2 25.6
General Electric Co. GE 12.9% 14.1% -11.3% 38.6 16.2
FedEx Corp. FDX 12.4% 31.9% -33.0% 12.8 11.2
Newmont Corp. NEM 12.4% 3.9% -23.9% 21.5 24.9
Activision Blizzard Inc. ATVI 12.2% 11.8% 15.1% 21.6 19.6
Source: FactSet

Click on the tickers for more about each company.

Read Tomi Kilgore’s detailed guide to the wealth of information available for free on the MarketWatch quote page.

Intel Corp. INTC was the best performer among the S&P 500 in March. A long-term chart for the stock is below the Nasdaq-100 list further down.

Here are the worst 20 performers in the benchmark index in March, mainly reflecting investors’ concerns about regional banks:

Company Ticker March price change 2023 price change 2022 price change Forward P/E Forward P/E as of Dec. 31
First Republic Bank FRC -88.6% -88.5% -41.0% 4.1 17.1
Zions Bancorporation N.A. ZION -40.9% -39.1% -22.2% 4.8 7.3
Comerica Inc. CMA -38.1% -35.1% -23.2% 4.7 6.6
Charles Schwab Corp SCHW -32.8% -37.1% -1.0% 12.5 17.1
KeyCorp KEY -31.5% -28.1% -24.7% 6.1 7.5
Lincoln National Corp LNC -29.2% -26.9% -55.0% 2.5 3.4
Truist Financial Corp. TFC -27.4% -20.8% -26.5% 6.9 8.2
Citizens Financial Group Inc. CFG -27.3% -22.9% -16.7% 6.2 7.7
Huntington Bancshares Inc. HBAN -26.9% -20.6% -8.6% 7.4 9.0
Fifth Third Bancorp FITB -26.6% -18.8% -24.7% 7.0 8.2
U.S. Bancorp USB -24.5% -17.3% -22.4% 7.1 8.6
M&T Bank Corp. MTB -23.0% -17.6% -5.5% 6.8 7.7
Regions Financial Corp. RF -20.4% -13.9% -1.1% 7.3 8.6
Wells Fargo & Co. WFC -20.1% -9.5% -13.9% 7.7 8.0
PNC Financial Services Group Inc. PNC -19.5% -19.5% -21.2% 8.6 9.8
MetLife Inc. MET -19.2% -19.9% 15.8% 6.7 8.7
Synchrony Financial SYF -18.6% -11.5% -29.2% 5.5 6.4
Dish Network Corp. Class A DISH -18.2% -33.5% -56.7% 8.0 8.6
American International Group Inc. AIG -17.6% -20.4% 11.2% 7.6 10.0
Boston Properties Inc. BXP -17.3% -19.9% -41.3% 24.1 31.3
Source: FactSet

First Republic Bank FRC of San Francisco was the worst-performing stock in the S&P 500 for March because of deposit outflow in the wake of similar trouble that caused the failures of Silicon Valley Bank on March 10 and the failure of Signature Bank of New York on March 12.

Read: Here’s how First Republic Bank’s tailspin started and why it hasn’t stopped.

And: How the FDIC has set a ‘baseline’ for troubled commercial real estate

One reason the financial sector declined “only” 9.7% in March was the reclassification of sectors by S&P Dow Jones Indices. Visa Inc. V, Mastercard Inc. MA and PayPal Holdings Inc. PYPL all moved to the financials sector from the tech sector and were up for the month. Two other large components of the financial sector — Berkshire Hathaway Inc. BRK and S&P Global Inc. SPGI — rose during March. The five companies together have a combined market cap of $1.41 trillion, or 31% of the sector’s $4.57 trillion market cap.

Nasdaq-100

The Nasdaq-100 index is made up of the largest 100 nonfinancial companies in the full Nasaq Composite Index COMP, by market cap. Here are the 10 components of the index that performed the best during March:

Company Ticker March price change 2023 price change 2022 price change Forward P/E Forward P/E as of Dec. 31
Intel Corp. INTC 31.0% 23.6% -48.7% 40.0 14.6
Advanced Micro Devices Inc. AMD 24.7% 51.3% -55.0% 28.9 17.8
Meta Platforms Inc. Class A META 21.2% 76.1% -64.2% 19.6 14.7
Nvidia Corp. NVDA 19.6% 90.1% -50.3% 57.9 34.4
Adobe Inc. ADBE 19.0% 14.5% -40.7% 23.6 21.8
Lululemon Athletica Inc. LULU 17.8% 13.7% -18.2% 30.3 28.3
Illumina Inc. ILMN 16.7% 15.0% -46.9% 121.1 66.0
Microsoft Corp. MSFT 15.6% 20.2% -28.7% 27.2 23.1
Alphabet Inc. Class A GOOGL 15.2% 17.6% -39.1% 18.7 16.9
CrowdStrike Holdings Inc. Class A CRWD 13.7% 30.4% -48.6% 54.1 54.2
Source: FactSet

To put Intel’s 2003 surge into perspective, here’s a 10-year price chart for the stock:

Intel’s stock has surged 24% in 2023 following a 49% decline last year.

FactSet

Read: Intel’s stock set for best month in 22 years as execs lay out plans to take on AMD’s rise in servers

The Dow 30

Here’s how all 30 components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average performed in March:

Company Ticker March price change 2023 price change 2022 price change Forward P/E Forward P/E as of Dec. 31
Intel Corp. INTC 31.0% 23.6% -48.7% 40.0 14.6
Salesforce Inc. CRM 22.1% 50.7% -47.8% 26.5 23.7
Microsoft Corp. MSFT 15.6% 20.2% -28.7% 27.2 23.1
Apple Inc. AAPL 11.9% 26.9% -26.8% 25.8 20.5
Procter & Gamble Co. PG 8.1% -1.9% -7.3% 23.8 25.2
Cisco Systems Inc. CSCO 8.0% 9.7% -24.8% 13.0 13.0
McDonald’s Corp. MCD 5.9% 6.1% -1.7% 25.6 25.1
Boeing Co. BA 5.4% 11.5% -5.4% 146.4 53.7
Amgen Inc. AMGN 4.4% -8.0% 16.7% 13.2 14.2
Coca-Cola Co. KO 4.2% -2.5% 7.4% 23.4 25.2
Walmart Inc. WMT 3.7% 4.0% -2.0% 23.4 21.7
Nike Inc. Class B NKE 3.2% 4.8% -29.8% 30.9 32.6
Visa Inc. Class A V 2.5% 8.5% -4.1% 24.5 24.1
Chevron Corp. CVX 1.5% -9.1% 53.0% 10.8 10.9
International Business Machines Corp. IBM 1.4% -7.0% 5.4% 13.4 14.7
Johnson & Johnson JNJ 1.1% -12.3% 3.3% 14.5 17.0
Walt Disney Co. DIS 0.5% 15.3% -43.9% 20.4 19.5
Verizon Communications Inc. VZ 0.2% -1.3% -24.2% 8.2 7.9
Merck & Co. Inc. MRK 0.1% -4.1% 44.8% 14.5 14.8
Honeywell International Inc. HON -0.2% -10.8% 2.8% 20.3 23.3
Home Depot Inc. HD -0.5% -6.6% -23.9% 17.8 18.7
UnitedHealth Group Inc. UNH -0.7% -10.9% 5.6% 18.2 21.3
3M Co. MMM -2.4% -12.3% -32.5% 11.6 11.5
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. WBA -2.7% -7.4% -28.4% 7.4 8.1
Dow Inc. DOW -4.2% 8.8% -11.2% 14.9 11.5
Caterpillar Inc. CAT -4.5% -4.5% 15.9% 13.9 15.7
American Express Co. AXP -5.2% 11.6% -9.7% 14.1 13.7
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. GS -7.0% -4.7% -10.2% 9.0 9.2
Travelers Cos. Inc. TRV -7.4% -8.6% 19.9% 11.4 12.8
JPMorgan Chase & Co. JPM -9.1% -2.8% -15.3% 9.8 10.4
Source: FactSet

Don’t miss: 11 stocks in the S&P 500 expected to form an exclusive growth club for investors

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