Church & Dwight Co. Inc. was the best-performing stock in the S&P 500 Consumer Staples index in July as the household products manufacturer raised its profit forecast for fiscal 2020.
According to data compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence, the consumer staples sector rose 7.1% during the month, outperforming the wider S&P 500's gain of 4.8%.
Only four out of the 33 constituents of the S&P 500 Consumer Staples index booked losses in July.
Church & Dwight, which owns the Arm & Hammer brand, topped the consumer staples sector with a gain of 16.5% in July. Its shares rose 7% on July 31 after it reported a 35.1% increase in its second-quarter earnings.
Energy drink company Monster Beverage Corp. and confectionery- and snacks-maker The Hershey Co. were the second and third-best performers in the index, recording returns of 12.3% and 12.1%, respectively.
Hershey on July 23 said it would raise its quarterly dividend by 4% after reporting earnings that beat estimates in the second quarter. The company was the third-worst performing stock in June.
Coty Inc. and Lamb Weston Holdings Inc., which led the consumer staples sector in the previous month, sank to the bottom of the sector in July.
New York-based Coty was the worst-performing stock in the index with a decline of 14.5% in July. The cosmetics company on July 2 named former L'Oréal SA executive Sue Nabi as its third CEO in 2020. S&P Global Ratings also downgraded the company, saying its continuous senior management shakeups pose a risk amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lamb Weston booked a loss of 7.2% in July, down from a 6.4% gain in June. The potato-products maker on July 28 swung to a loss in its fiscal fourth quarter.
Pharmacy chain Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.'s shares declined 4.1% in July after it reported fiscal third-quarter results that missed expectations. Walgreens on July 27 said CEO Stefano Pessina plans to step down.
Ten of the 11 sectors in the S&P 500 reported gains in July, with the consumer discretionary sector posting the largest advance at 7.6%. The S&P 500 Energy index posted a decline of 4.6% during the month.
L Brands Inc. topped the S&P 500 index as its stock rose 63.9% during the month. Shares of the retailer soared 35% on July 29 after announcing plans to deliver about $400 million in annualized cost reductions through its profit improvement strategy for Victoria's Secret.
Ohio-based utilities company FirstEnergy Corp. was the worst-performing stock in the S&P 500 with a 25.6% decline. The company disclosed on July 21 that it received subpoenas in connection with a federal racketeering conspiracy case.