Buy these 30 stocks that handily beat the market in 2020 and are poised for the best global returns in 2021, RBC says

  • RBC's top researchers in the US, Europe, and Asia just updated their quarterly list of highest-conviction stock picks for the year.
  • Their newest choices for 2021 represent a clear bet on a recovering global economy, as they're adding energy, industrial, and financial companies from around the world. 
  • The average stock on RBC's list outperformed the S&P 500 during the market's fourth-quarter surge, and doubled the gain recorded by an MSCI global benchmark.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Predicting what's going to happen in 2021 takes some nerve after all the surprising twists of last year, but the experts have to try.

A group of RBC's top stock researchers are taking their shot once again by updating their list of 30 top global stocks for the year. And as unpredictable as 2020 was, they can say they did better than the crowd.

The average return for the stocks in the latest top-30 list was 15.6% to investors in the fourth quarter. That handily beat the S&P 500, according to a note put together by Global Head of Research Graeme Pearson, Head of US Research Mark Odendahl, Head of Canadian and Asia-Pacific Research André‐Philippe Hardy, and Head of European Research Michael Hall.

Over the course of the year, RBC's top 30, which is updated once per quarter, returned an average of 31.9%. That doubles the return of the MSCI World Net Total Return Index, a global benchmark, and far surpasses the S&P 500's gain of 18.4%.

They're not making predictions about the routes the stocks will take in 2021, but that's a reason to have some confidence in their track record.

Many of the newest additions to the list come from cyclical sectors like energy and industrials. Those first-quarter additions are Arch Capital, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, CenterPoint Energy, Dollar Tree, Element Fleet Management, Enterprise Products Partners, General Electric, Kingfisher, Nike, SSE, and Mosaic.

The stocks are arranged from lowest to highest based on their implied returns, or the return RBC expects based on their price targets on the stocks and the dividends the companies pay. Those return figures were calculated as of December 31.

30. DuPont

Ticker: DD

Sector: Materials

Market cap: $52.2 billion

Price target: $71

2021 implied all-in return: 1.5%

Source: RBC Capital Markets

29. Truist Financial

Ticker: TFC

Sector: Financials

Market cap: $64.6 billion

Price target: $47

2021 implied all-in return: 1.8%

Source: RBC Capital Markets

28. CrowdStrike Holdings

Ticker: CRWD

Sector: Information technology

Market cap: $46.8 billion

Price target: $220

2021 implied all-in return: 3.9%

Source: RBC Capital Markets

27. Arch Capital Group

Ticker: ACGL

Sector: Financials

Market cap: $14.6 billion

Price target: $39

2021 implied all-in return: 8.1%

Source: RBC Capital Markets

26. Thomson Reuters

Ticker: TRI

Sector: Industrials

Market cap: $40.7 billion

Price target: $88

2021 implied all-in return: 9.3%

Source: RBC Capital Markets

25. Visa

Ticker: V

Sector: Information technology

Market cap: $510.7 billion

Price target: $244

2021 implied all-in return: 12.0%

Source: RBC Capital Markets

24. Genmab

Ticker: GMAB

Sector: Healthcare

Market cap: $26.6 billion

Price target: $46

2021 implied all-in return: 13.1%

Source: RBC Capital Markets

23. SSE

Ticker: SSE LN

Sector: Utilities

Market cap: $21.2 billion

Price target: 1,625 GBp

2021 implied all-in return: 13.7%

Source: RBC Capital Markets

22. Nike

Ticker: NKE

Sector: Consumer discretionary

Market cap: $221.9 billion

Price target: $160

2021 implied all-in return: 13.9%

Source: RBC Capital Markets

21. Americold Realty Trust

Ticker: COLD

Sector: Real estate

Market cap: $9.4 billion

Price target: $43

2021 implied all-in return: 17.4%

Source: RBC Capital Markets

20. Dollar Tree

Ticker: DLTR

Sector: Consumer discretionary

Market cap: $25.4 billion

Price target: $129

2021 implied all-in return: 19.4%

Source: RBC Capital Markets

19. GDS Holdings

Ticker: GDS

Sector: Information technology

Market cap: $17.5 billion

Price target: $112

2021 implied all-in return: 19.6%

Source: RBC Capital Markets

18. General Electric

Ticker: GE

Sector: Industrials

Market cap: $94.5 billion

Price target: $13

2021 implied all-in return: 20.7%

Source: RBC Capital Markets

17. British American Tobacco

Ticker: BATS LN

Sector: Consumer staples

Market cap: $88.2 billion

Price target: 3,200 GBp

2021 implied all-in return: 23.0%

Source: RBC Capital Markets

16. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria

Ticker: BBVA SM

Sector: Financials

Market cap: $32.9 billion

Price target: 5 eur

2021 implied all-in return: 23.9%

Source: RBC Capital Markets

15. Brookfield Asset Management

Ticker: BAM

Sector: Financials

Market cap: $62.5 billion

Price target: $51

2021 implied all-in return: 24.7%

Source: RBC Capital Markets

14. AbbVie

Ticker: ABBV

Sector: Healthcare

Market cap: $189 billion

Price target: $129

2021 implied all-in return: 24.8%

Source: RBC Capital Markets

13. ASOS

Ticker: ASC LN

Sector: Consumer discretionary

Market cap: $6.5 billion

Price target: 6,000 GBp

2021 implied all-in return: 25.4%

Source: RBC Capital Markets

12. CenterPoint Energy

Ticker: CNP

Sector: Utilities

Market cap: $11.8 billion

Price target: $26

2021 implied all-in return: 25.5%

Source: RBC Capital Markets

11. Canadian Natural Resources

Ticker: CNQ CN

Sector: Energy

Market cap: $28.4 billion

Price target: $37

2021 implied all-in return: 26.5%

Source: RBC Capital Markets

10. Alimentation Couche-Tard

Ticker: ATD/B CN

Sector: Consumer staples

Market cap: $38.1 billion

Price target: 55 CAD

2021 implied all-in return: 27.6%

Source: RBC Capital Markets

9. Element Fleet Management

Ticker: EFN CN

Sector: Financials

Market cap: $4.7 billion

Price target: 17 CAD

2021 implied all-in return: 29.0%

Source: RBC Capital Markets

8. Cigna

Ticker: CI

Sector: Healthcare

Market cap: $75.1 billion

Price target: $270

2021 implied all-in return: 29.8%

Source: RBC Capital Markets

7. Teladoc Health

Ticker: TDOC

Sector: Healthcare

Market cap: $29.0 billion

Price target: $260

2021 implied all-in return: 30.0%

Source: RBC Capital Markets

6. Mosaic

Ticker: MOS

Sector: Materials

Market cap: $8.7 billion

Price target: $32

2021 implied all-in return: 39.9%

Source: RBC Capital Markets

5. Enterprise Products Partners

Ticker: EPD

Sector: Energy

Market cap: $42.7 billion

Price target: $26

2021 implied all-in return: 41.8%

Source: RBC Capital Markets

4. Kingfisher

Ticker: KGF LN

Sector: Consumer discretionary

Market cap: $7.7 billion

Price target: 375 GBp

2021 implied all-in return: 42.4%

Source: RBC Capital Markets

3. Gilead Sciences

Ticker: GILD

Sector: Healthcare

Market cap: $73 billion

Price target: $81

2021 implied all-in return: 43.7%

Source: RBC Capital Markets

2. Twilio

Ticker: TWLO

Sector: Information technology

Market cap: $51.1 billion

Price target: $500

2021 implied all-in return: 47.7%

Source: RBC Capital Markets

1. Royal Dutch Shell

Ticker: RDSB LN

Sector: Energy

Market cap: $134.1 billion

Price target: 2,000 GBp

2021 implied all-in return: 62.5%

Source: RBC Capital Markets

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