Your portfolio probably looks pretty bad right now, but it could've been worse if you didn't own any of the more than 600 stocks that moved higher through the first three months of the year. I took a look five stocks with positive returns in the first quarter, and I figured I would go over a few more of the bear-bucking winners. (NASDAQ:AMZN), Masimo (NASDAQ:MASI), and DocuSign (NASDAQ:DOCU) are three names that moved higher in a quarter in which the market headed sharply lower. Let's take a deeper dive into the three market beaters.

Amazon Prime Air drone in the air with clouds and blue sky behind it.

An Amazon delivery drone. Image source:


Being an online retailer is understandably better than being a brick-and-mortar chain these days. Only essential local retailers are staying open across most of the country, and folks riding out the pandemic are encouraged to lean on delivery services and online merchants to prevent having to spend too much time outside. Is it really a surprise to see Amazon shares move 6% higher in the first quarter?

Amazon was already doing a good job of giving folks lots of reasons to turn to its online platform before even considering a trip to the neighborhood strip mall. It's been building out local fulfillment centers that can deliver stocked orders in a day or two, if not within hours. Low prices are possible given its lean and tech-savvy infrastructure. With platforms like its grocery-delivering Amazon Fresh service and same-day delivery Prime Now thriving in this climate, the world's leading online retailer is resilient at the moment. It remains to be seen how healthy Amazon will be at the tail end of this crisis when the economy is on the ropes. But for now, Amazon's a winning business that stands to be on the receiving end of a lot of consumer stimulus-check spending. 


One industry that is naturally seeing an uptick in the new COVID-19 normal is hospital supplies, especially a company offering essential tools. Masimo is a leader in pulse oximetry, the noninvasive gadgetry that helps monitor a patient's blood oxygen level and heart rate. Masimo shares rose 12% through the first three months of the year, and that was before it confirmed last week that business accelerated in the first quarter. 

The company announced on April 1 that it sees product revenue rising 14.5% to 17.5% for the quarter that ended four days earlier. Product revenue had risen 12.8% in 2019, slowing to an 11.5% clip in the final quarter of the year. Masimo did recently announce that during the crisis, it will be making licenses for its rainbow-branded hardware available at no additional charge to hospitals where the devices are already in use -- in response to the current worldwide blood shortage -- a move that is more likely to boost its reputation than sting its finances.  


If Amazon's 6% gain and Masimo's 12% pop were impressive during the market deluge in the first quarter, DocuSign's 25% surge should surely turn heads. The company is the leader in electronic document and contract signatures, a niche that has gone from being a convenience to almost a formality in these social-distancing times. 

DocuSign was already riding high ahead of the health crisis. Revenue growth accelerated in fiscal 2020, climbing 39% after a 35% ascent the year before. With earnings growing even faster than its top-line bursts and DocuSign seemingly boosting its guidance with every passing quarter, momentum has been building in its favor.

These are challenging times, but investing in growth stocks becomes easier when you find businesses growing through events that are tripping up most other publicly traded companies.  

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.