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American multinational investment bank and financial services’ company Goldman Sachs’ stock portfolio, which tracks “superstar” companies that are dominant in the United States, is officially beating the stock market—and it’s been doing it for the past three years.
On Goldman Sachs’ superstar list is consumer product giant Procter & Gamble, tobacco producer and marketer Altria Group, Google parent Alphabet and PepsiCo. On June 12, Goldman Sachs’ chief U.S. equity strategist, David Kostin, explained in a note to clients that these superstar companies benefit from a high share of industry sales, strong pricing power, and large profit margins, and as a result, they make for a compelling investment thesis, according to CNBC.
Kostin also explained that the companies with the highest share of industry sales have returned 49% since 2015. Meanwhile, the companies with the lowest share after controlling for industry group have returned 16%.
In the note Kostin wrote, “The market positioning of superstar firms often allows for greater bargaining power over consumers and workers and higher profitability. Superstar firms have been one driver of the explosion in US corporate margins post-crisis.”
Since 1996, the number of U.S. companies has declined from 8,000 to about 4,000 today. Kotsin added in the note to clients that this major drop is because of fewer initial public offerings and mergers and acquisitions has led to a concentration in several key industries. But regulatory problems may be arising for these major conglomerates that maintain the sizable market share.
U.S. lawmakers are not hiding the fact that they are seeking to make changes to the dominance of tech companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Alphabet, hoping to use congressional probes regarding their impact on the public. Additionally, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice will be launching investigations into whether or not these tech giants can be prosecuted under antitrust law or if they’ve violated privacy.
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As a result of these looming probes and investigations, Facebook and Alphabet are both down at least 5% over the last month. In his note, Kostin added to be wary of stocks that will be a part of any antitrust lawsuit. Konstantin also added that investors should watch those companies’ stocks closely even though the regulators are months or maybe even years away from concluding.
“From a strategic perspective, we believe that uncertainty is still too high to recommend investors avoid stocks in the regulatory spotlight,” Kostin wrote in Goldman-Sachs’ note.
“But while the impact of regulation on today’s stocks will be case-dependent, similarities among historical outcomes suggest that investors should reduce exposure to any stock that becomes subject to an antitrust lawsuit. In the past, stock valuations and share prices declined between lawsuit filing and resolution.”
But for now, the superstars are still shining.