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2020 has been a volatile year for global stocks, from the coronavirus pandemic hitting every industry across the world to the uncertainty over Brexit compounding equity market action.
The most-searched for share price on Yahoo Search UK range from major banks to cruise-owners — all reflecting the impact the pandemic has had on the largest companies in the world.
The data is comprised of total searches for all Yahoo Search UK users — which includes users not based in the UK but who have chosen to use Yahoo Search UK. Yahoo Search gets billions of searches per year, globally and in the UK we have hundreds of millions of searches and millions of users.
Here are the 10 most commonly searched stock prices in 2020:
10) Premier Oil (PMO.L)
The coronavirus pandemic, like many industries, made a huge impact on the oil industry. With lockdowns, therefore movement restrictions, demand for oil has been hit, sending the stock price for Premier Oil and its peers down drastically.
But it also transpired that it was one of the most shorted stocks in the UK.
9) Walmart (WMT)
Like many staple retailers, Walmart has been considered a “pandemic-proof” stock. As coronavirus has spread across the globe, it has refocused all consumers on essential buying, which everything else considered a “luxury” when job losses mount, economies tank, and movement is heavily restricted.
Walmart, like many other retailers, have doubled down on its online offerings as well to keep consumers connected and buying anything they need from their sofa. This even includes in-app live shopping on TikTok.
Meanwhile, on 22 December, Walmart hit the news when the US government accused the retailer of fuelling a nationwide opioid crisis by ignoring warnings from its own pharmacists that the chain wasn’t properly set up to screen painkiller prescriptions in violation of federal regulations.
8) Tesla (TSLA)
It’s is unsurprising seeing Elon Musk’s electric vehicle company make the top 10 in searchable share prices, given the popularity of the stock. According to analysis by investment education firm Invezz, Brits are most interested in investing in Tesla stocks — and same goes for the whole of Europe.
Musk hinted at the second-quarter profit — the company’s fourth consecutive profitable quarter — in a letter to employees in late June. That prompted a 66% surge in the stock over two weeks.
Tesla is expanding globally, with Musk opening a factory in Brandenburg (near Berlin) in Germany for cell production. It would begin with a capacity of around 100 gigawatt hours a year, before increasing to 200 or 250 gigawatt hours a year.
At the time, Musk said: “I’m pretty confident at that point it would be the largest battery-cell plant in the world.”
WATCH: Tesla slumps in S&P 500 debut
7) Carnival (CCL)
The cruise company is unsurprisingly one of the biggest stock losers during the year of COVID-19.
The largest cruise vacation company in the world was showing a growth in revenue was growing before the pandemic hit in March this year, which led to a $4.8bn fall in sales in the fiscal first quarter (period ending 29 February). Carnival cruises became part of the general public awareness when one of its ships were carrying COVID-stricken passengers in March
In the fiscal third quarter ending 31 August, Carnival posted another $2.9bn loss.
WATCH: Biggest US cruise line cancels trips into 2021
6) Aviva (AV.L)
The insurance giant’s stock was hit this year but pared back losses after it said it would reduce its focus on Asia and Europe and will instead focus on Britain, Ireland, and Canada.
The strategic shift was welcomed by analysts and boosted the stock by the summer.
"We are going to shake up the organisation," said Aviva’s CEO Amanda Blanc, who took over in July this year.
"Amanda Blanc is not taking her foot off the gas," said Joe Healey, investment research analyst at broker The Share Centre. "It's pleasing to see a prudent process in place to keep the balance sheet healthy."
5) BT (BT-A.L)
BT as an infrastructure company has weathered 2020 pretty well. However, the anxiety the stock has faced is over some greater political machinations when it comes to 5G in the UK.
In November, UK parliament laid out a new, tougher telecoms security law to protect the country from cyber threats and give the government the power to “remove high risk vendors such as Huawei.”
In July, Britain banned Huawei from its 5G network, reversing an earlier decision to allow the Chinese company to work on the critical telecoms infrastructure.
This meant a ban on the purchase of new Huawei equipment from the end of this year and a commitment to remove all Huawei equipment from 5G networks by 2027.
The ‘Telecommunications (Security) bill’ creates powers that will allow the government to “enshrine those decisions in law and manage risks from other high risk vendors in the future,” the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport said in a statement.
WATCH: UK extends ban on Huawei 5G gear
4) Tesco (TSCO.L)
Britain’s largest supermarket has undoubtedly been a winner during the coronavirus pandemic. The grocer, as like its peers, is considered an “essential store” — meaning regardless of COVID-19 restrictions, it remains open for consumers to buy food and other essential goods.
It has been a key employer and added thousands of extra jobs to the UK’s economy.
This has led to the stock looking to end the year ahead of the FTSE 100.
The biggest impact on the stock Tesco has had to face comes in the form of Brexit. The seemingly endless uncertainty when it comes to the Brexit deal — in which Britain will fully be out of the European Union in a week’s time — means margins could be severely hit should trade gets disrupted and prices rise.
Recent disruption at ports, brought on by temporary travel bans from the UK due to the discovery of a more infectious strain of COVID, is a taste for what a no-deal Brexit may entail.
WATCH: Tesco and Sainsbury's warn of fruit and veg shortages if freight chaos not solved within days
3) Barclays (BARC.L)
Banks have had to endure the economic fallout from COVID-19.
With the pandemic hurting people’s finances, jobs, and ability to pay for their bills, the UK government and Bank of England (BOE) has had installed a number of measures to counteract defaults or bankruptcies.
For example, mortgage payment holidays and business support loans that are run through the banks. The BOE also pushed interest rates to a record low of 0.1% and there is talk of rates going negative.
This is great for consumers — it makes debt cheaper to pay off — but it’s bad for the banks as they make money off interest and fees.
WATCH: What are negative interest rates?
2) BP (BP.L)
All energy companies have been suffering under the slump in oil demand and price. This led to the likes of BP axing 10,000 jobs.
Oil markets are also still facing pressure from the new coronavirus strain that has hit the UK, leading many countries around the world to close its borders to the country.
Coronavirus cases are also continuing to surge in the US, with more than a million new cases reported in six days, leading to warnings by US lawmakers for citizens to avoid Christmas travel, which will further dampen fuel demand.
WATCH: It’s a buy the dip mentality in crude oil: Trader
1) Lloyds (LLOY.L)
Lloyds, as with the other big banks in the UK, have been navigating the pandemic as well as the uncertainty over Brexit terms for 2021 onwards.