Unexpectedly Intriguing!
April 21, 2020

We periodically take snapshots of the S&P 500's total market capitalization, including the index' Top 10 component firms by market cap weighting. We were curious to see how the Coronavirus Recession has affected who's on top in the S&P 500, so we created the following animated chart to visualize how the index' and its top 10 firms' market capitalization has changed from the time before first coronavirus case in the U.S. was documented and the present.

Animation: Major Components of S&P 500 Index by Market Cap, 8 January 2020 and 16 April 2020

The earlier snapshot is from 8 January 2020, 13 days before the first U.S. coronavirus case was reported in the state of Washington, while the later snapshot was taken on 16 April 2020.

It's a little surprising, but eight of the firms whose market cap weightings placed them in the index' Top Ten back on 8 January 2020 are still in the Top Ten. Here is that list, ranked by their market caps as of 16 April 2020:

  • Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT)
  • Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL)
  • Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN)
  • Facebook (NASDAQ: FB)
  • Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ)
  • Alphabet (Class C) (NASDAQ: GOOG)
  • Alphabet (Class A) (NASDAQ: GOOGL)
  • Berkshire Hathaway (Class B) (NYSE: BRK.B)

The following two firms dropped out of the S&P 500's Top Ten during the last three months, JP Morgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), which went from #6 to #12 overall, and Visa (NYSE: V), which dropped from #10 to #11.

Two firms have replaced them in the Top 10 of the S&P 500 by market cap weighting. Proctor & Gamble (NYSE: PG) went from #11 to #9, and UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) went from #15 to #10.

Between 8 January 2020 and 16 April 2020, the total market cap of the S&P 500 has shrunk by 17%, from $27.5 trillion to $22.8 trillion. Many of the firms in the Top 10 have seen their relative share within the index increase because their market caps haven't shrunk by as much as others have declined during the Coronavirus Recession. The two exceptions in the Top Ten are Microsoft, whose contract win over Amazon to provide cloud computing services to the U.S. Department of Defense was upheld last week, and Amazon, whose market share for selling consumer goods has greatly benefited from the various coronavirus-related business closures and stay-at-home orders that state and local government officials have implemented across much of the U.S.

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