Russell 2000: Bitcoin mining and AI stocks are top gainers in 2023

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on Jun 26, 2023
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  • Bitcoin mining companies are the top-performers in the Russell 2000 index this year.
  • They include companies like Marathon Digital and Riot Platforms.
  • Small-cap EV companies like Mullen Automotive and Canoo have lagged.

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Russell 2000 index has erased some of the gains made earlier this month as investors assess the impact of the Federal Reserve decisions. The index retreated to a low of $1,838, a few points below the month-to-date high of $1,906. It remains about 8% above the lowest level this year.

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Best Russell 2000 index stocks

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The Russell 2000 and the iShares 2000 ETFs have had some top movers this year. Bitcoin mining stocks Cipher Mining, Marathon Digital, and Riot Platforms have been the best-performing stocks in the index this year. They have all jumped by more than 240% this year, helped by the strong performance of Bitcoin, which has risen by over 100% from its December lows. 

Meanwhile, companies in the artificial intelligence and quantum computing sectors, have also done well. C3.ai, which provides AI solutions to companies, has seen its stock jump by 211% this year. Investors believe that the company will be a major beneficiary as the world embraces AI in their operations.

IonQ, which I wrote about here, has also risen by over 190% in 2023 as investors increase their bets on quantum computing. This is an industry that has a close correlation with the artificial intelligence industry. 

Root Inc is another notable gainer in the Russell 2000 index, having gained by over 170%. Most of these gains happened last week when speculation of a buyout emerged. Other top performers in the index are Selectquote, Redfin, Skywest, and Microstrategy. The latter has jumped because of its exposure to Bitcoin.

Top Russell 2000 fallers of 2023

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There have been several major laggards in the Russell 2000 index this year. Mullen Automotive, which is an electric vehicle company I have covered before, is the worst performer after shedding over 97% of its value. Other EV companies like Lordstown Motors and Canoo have all plunged by over 90%. These companies are burning cash, leading to existential risks.

Wheels Up, a well-known charter company for private jets and helicopters, has crashed by over 95% this year as demand for its services waned. It has also seen it cash reserves drop in the past few months. 

Other notable laggards in the Russell 2000 index are Chegg, F45 Training Holdings, Bluebird, and Digital Turbine among others.

Looking ahead, I suspect that the Russell index and its accompanying ETF will lag the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 because of their focus on large-cap companies like Amazon and Apple.

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