Daily stock market gyrations should be taken with a dose of skepticism, but Wall Street on Monday offered a window into which industries could be helped — or hurt — by a possible return to pre-pandemic life.
News from Pfizer that its early tests on a COVID-19 vaccine were 90% effective boosted the drugmaker’s shares 8%. Yet larger gains were found in companies far removed from medicine and hard-hit by pandemic-related business limitations.
Why? A potential end to economic fallout — plus Joe Biden becoming president-elect over the weekend — gave traders the courage to change their bets. For one trading session, at least, they bought coronavirus losers and sold shares in businesses that had been pandemic winners.
Take entertainment giant Walt Disney Co., for example. The pandemic has hammered its bottom line as the masses stay away from theme parks and movie theaters. The Disneyland owner’s shares rose 12% along with competitors Universal, up 5%, and Cedar Fair, owners of Knott’s Berry Farm, up 24%.
Travel: If pandemic fears subside, more people will want to go places. That boosted airline shares — United jumped 19%; Delta soared 17%; American rose 17%.
Energy: If we’ll be driving and flying more, we’ll need extra fuel. Pump prices could rise so oil company shares surged: Giant Exxon Mobil rose 12%; smaller Valero and Diamondback were up 31%.
Lodging: If we’re traveling, we’ll need places to stay. So Host Hotels — which just sold the Newport Beach Marriott — was up 30% and casino owner Wynn rose 27%. Floating hotels, i.e. cruise lines, leaped, including Carnival, up 39% and Royal Caribbean, which rose 29%.
Films: Maybe we’ll go out to the movies, too: Theater owners AMC soared 51%; Cinemark jumped 45% and Regency Centers was up 35%. But that could hurt streaming video services that have entertained us since the pandemic hit: Roku dropped 7% and Netflix lost 6%.
Shopping: Fewer coronavirus concerns could get folks back to the malls. So shopping center giant Simon — owners of malls in Mission Viejo, Brea, Ontario and Torrance, to name a few — jumped 28% as a mall stock overall rose 20%. Could this mean less online shopping? E-commerce’s Shopify fell 10% while industry behemoth Amazon lost 5%.
Work-at-home: Maybe 2020’s workplace revolution peaked. Investors seemed to think so, at least for a day. Thus, shares of companies that make remote work easier fell: meeting holder Zoom was off 20%; transaction helper Docusign was off 10%; work communications specialist Slack was down 5%.
Housing: Home sales surprisingly surged this year on cheap mortgage rates and the need for larger living spaces. Builder stocks suffered from prospects for higher rates, due to a healthier economy, and potential quick returns to offices and schools. Toll Brothers fell 9%; Tri Points and Lennar fell 6%. Home improvement’s Lowe’s fell 9%; Home Depot fell 5%. And home workout’s Peloton fell 20%.