This unlikely stock is the biggest winner since the February stock market top

Bond trading has traditionally been a pretty fusty industry

Can a tech-enabled company make bond trading easier?


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Which stock has performed best since the market top in mid February?

If you guessed a pharmaceutical company with a promising coronavirus treatment, you wouldn’t be far off. A technology company that enables work-from-home computing would also be a good guess, but also wrong.

How about a financial company?

It’s counterintuitive — but true. MarketAxess Holdings Inc.
MKTX,
+4.28%

has gained 49.14% since the S&P 500’s record close on February 19, according to Dow Jones Market Data, even as concerns about households and businesses facing cash flow problems and rock-bottom interest rates have pushed the financial sector to be the second-worst performing S&P 500 sector this year, behind only energy.

Company Name

% Change 

MarketAxess Holdings, Inc.

49.14

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
REGN,
+1.90%
42.61

Newmont Corporation
NEM,
-2.47%
35.13

Citix Systems, Inc.
CTXS,
+2.01%
25.82

Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation
COG,
-5.65%
25.77

Clorox Company
CLX,
+0.86%
24.73

Incyte Corporation
INCY,
+3.55%
19.46

Gilead Sciences, Inc.
GILD,
+4.27%
18.17

Fortinet, Inc.
FTNT,
+2.64%
17.66

Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.
TTWO,
+2.11%
17.51

Source: Dow Jones Market Data

Yet MarketAxess, which brands itself as “the leader in e-trading for global fixed income,” may be in a sweet spot as investors from individuals to the United States Federal Reserve give bonds another look — as both issuers and buyers.

As MarketWatch’s Philip van Doorn noted earlier in April, MarketAxess increased revenue 35.7% from a year ago in the first quarter — more than pandemic darlings Amazon.com Inc.
AMZN,
+1.23%

and Netflix Inc.
NFLX,
+1.14%

Trading volumes were up 29% compared to a year ago starting in February, company executives said on their quarterly earnings call in late April.

See:ETFs behaving badly: ‘exactly what they are supposed to do’ or ‘just what we feared’?

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