Many stock investors continue to worry as the COVID-19 pandemic has driven markets lower at record rates. The coronavirus has created a global tragedy with the total number of cases crossing 3 million, and the number of deaths surpassing 208,000 at the time of writing.
Over the past four weeks, some stocks have seen a partial recovery, but many continue to trade significantly lower than record highs set earlier this year. Several economists are predicting a recession far worse than the one experienced in 2008-09, which suggests equities are likely to remain volatile for the remainder of 2020.
With interest rates nearing record lows, the stock markets still seem to be the best place to park your funds to generate decent returns on investment. While most industries are grappling with lower consumer spending, three tech companies have seen a surge in demand for their products and services, driving stock prices higher this year. Let's take a closer look at them and see if these three companies are worth investing in.
1. Amazon: An e-commerce giant
The coronavirus has led to lockdowns and business shutdowns globally, and especially in the U.S. With most retail closed, people are turning to buying products online. E-commerce giant Amazon.com (AMZN -2.78%) recently hired tens of thousands of workers to keep up with this increase in demand and says it is focused on prioritizing essential products such as groceries and cleaning supplies among the orders it receives.
This rise in demand has led to supply chain constraints. According to one Wall Street Journal report, Amazon canceled several promotional events to reduce bottlenecks and discourage customers from purchasing non-essential products.
With a majority of the population staying at home, people are also seeking out new forms of entertainment. Online streaming platforms including Amazon Prime Video are expected to see a significant uptick in subscriber growth. Amazon was one of the companies that decreased the streaming quality of its videos to reduce internet bandwidths constraints in European Union countries.
Another Amazon-owned entertainment outlet is Twitch, an online game streaming platform. Twitch is one of the most popular streaming platforms for gaming enthusiasts. According to TwitchTracker, the number of average concurrent viewers rose from 1.3 million in January to 2.5 million in April.
As people are working from home and educational institutions are conducting online classes, cloud services are expected to get a serious demand boost. This suggests Amazon Web Services, a leader in cloud technology is poised to benefit from this trend.
All of this suggests that Amazon stock is set to be one of the top-performing companies at a time when most industries are experiencing massive sales decline due to lower consumer demand, making it a top-buy in an uncertain market.
Shares of Amazon have gained close to 26% in 2020, at the time of writing. Despite its recent upward spiral and lofty valuation, the stock is well positioned to continue moving higher in 2020.
Netflix: A streaming giant
The world's leading streaming platform, Netflix (NFLX -0.90%), has crushed market returns in 2020. The EU also requested Netflix lower streaming quality and conserve bandwidth due to higher demand for online streaming services.
In the first quarter of 2020, Netflix added close to 16 million users, more than double management's estimates of 7 million. Netflix's management noted however that this growth is unsustainable in the future and it expects membership growth to decelerate once some normalcy is restored. Netflix reported sales of $5.76 billion compared to its forecast of $5.73 billion in the first quarter. Netflix also reported adjusted earnings per share of $1.57 which was below the forecast of $1.66.
While Netflix gained a substantial number of subscribers in Q1, it had to halt original content production. That might negatively impact future growth if the lockdown extends for a few more months. For now, though, Netflix management says it has plenty of fresh content in the near-term pipeline for longtime subscribers to remain interested.
Given its leadership position among streaming services and a robust content portfolio, Netflix remains a safe bet in these uncertain times. Netflix stock is up close to 34% in 2020 as of this writing.
3. Citrix: A remote-work enabler
The ongoing lockdown in several countries has accelerated the work-from-home trend. Businesses have adapted to remote work, and Citrix Systems (CTXS 0.18%) is a key player in this space. Its virtual private network (VPN) software lets users access computers and central network servers remotely in a secure environment and is popular tool among enterprises.
Similar to several other IT companies, Citrix is looking to transition toward a software-as-a-service (SaaS) business model. Citrix ended 2019 with $3 billion in annual sales and a 41% growth in subscription annual recurring revenue. In the fourth quarter, around 69% of total bookings were subscription-based, which will help Citrix in an economic downturn and ensure a stable stream of recurring sales.
The work-from-home trend is likely to be here long after the COVID-19 threat subsides, making Citrix a solid long-term bet for tech stock investors. Citrix shares are up 32% in 2020 and are poised to move higher in the upcoming decade.