Despite the widespread economic turmoil many Americans are experiencing, the stock market has enjoyed historic highs throughout much of 2020. It may seem counterintuitive, but the major market indices are weighted heavily with multinational corporations, whose fortunes are not as dependent on Main Street as they once were. Further, despite the spate of business bankruptcies, strong performances by larger companies have reinforced investor confidence. Still, some economists warn that this year’s historic highs are a prelude to a crash, given the hits the global economy has taken.
Will this bit of “irrational exuberance” continue into 2021? And what else does the market hold for investors next year? Here are three trends to consider:
High Demand for Tech / Communications
Despite the significant COVID-19 vaccine progress, most experts don’t believe the U.S. will complete a mass vaccination program until the summer of 2021. That means that many workers will remain working remotely and that many schools will continue to teach students online. However, many businesses are planning for a post-pandemic reality in which at least some of their workforce remains remote. Demand for consumer and business tech is likely to remain high for the remainder of 2021, fueled by home office and schooling needs.
Increasing Demand for Travel, Restaurant, and Entertainment
As mass vaccinations begin, expect travel and restaurant stocks to get a boost. Stuck in their homes for months, consumers will want to hit the beaches for the summer, take cruises, and eat out. In-person entertainment options, like concerts, sports games, and movie theaters, should also see a significant uptick in demand. And don’t expect the increased appetite for online entertainment, like streaming services or gaming to fall back to pre-pandemic levels anytime soon, especially given how dramatically many traditional entertainment companies have shifted their operations during the pandemic.
Continued Growth of COVID-Related Pharmaceutical Stocks
All eyes have been on the pharmaceutical industry as the world has waited for a vaccine. But it’s not only the companies that have successfully tested vaccines that stand to benefit. Other firms specializing in COVID-related therapies should receive attention, as the infection rate continues to climb in the U.S. Further, demand will remain high in developing countries, whose mass vaccination programs are expected to take longer to implement.
The scope of pandemic-related economic effects is massive, and the number of interrelated dynamics at play makes predicting next year’s market performance truly a challenge. However, by examining which 2020 pandemic-related trends are likely to last throughout next year, you’re likely to find some excellent investment opportunities.