Bill Ackman is having the kind of 2020 everyone else wishes they could create for themselves.

As of the beginning of this month, Ackman's Pershing Square Holdings was up more than 17% in a year when most stocks plunged and the market was taken from a bull-market peak, to staring down the barrel of a recession, inside a 30-day timeframe. His returns are powered by a monster hedge that paid off in the earliest days of the pandemic - but Ackman's portfolio has winners that are outperforming in the crisis, too.

Lowe's Facebook Talking About Count, or how often people are talking about the home goods and repair retailer, hit levels over the weekend not seen in years past. Some of it could be due to the fact that Lowe's ($LOW) is one of the retailers that boosted staffer pay during the pandemic, but, sadly, it could also relate to the fact that it has had staffers also come down with the illness. 

So far this year, Lowe's shares are down about 5% - but a big earnings beat later this week could push that stock back into the black for Ackman. And since people have little else to do beyond home improvement projects, its Talking About Count will likely keep rising next weekend, through Memorial Day (don't forget: they sell grills, too).

Chipotle stock has rebounded - and then some - from COVID lows, and shares are now up 13% in 2020. 

Bill Ackman's betting on Chipotle ($CMG), which, with its new CEO Brian Niccol, is changing up its menu and pairing off with delivery apps to make sure consumers can still get their burrito fix. Hiring rose - then, dipped - but 'breakeven' job postings suggests much more activity in Chipotle's kitchen than other restaurants. Because so much of Chipotle's business is US based, its hiring may lag other companies that have focused on developing their presence in Asian markets - like Starbucks. 

Starbucks ($SBUX) is bouncing back in Asia, opening more new stores in countries that are slowly reopening their markets and economies as the initial wave of infections from the Coronavirus outbreak begins to subside in nations that planned and managed their response. And, because China is such a key market for Starbucks' growth plans it - and Ackman - stand to benefit from the ongoing reopening of China's economy.

Starbucks' stock is down more than 16% in 2020, but the company is in the midst of a global re-opening, which our chart above reflect. 

These three stocks are just a segment of Ackman's portfolio - but as global markets rebound, these stocks represent some of his most visible investments in popular consumer companies. At a time when some of Ackman's biggest rivals are suffering, or quitting NYC outright, he's enjoying an investing renaissance at just the right time. 

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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