Plenty of stocks doubled in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic roiled the markets. Work from home, learn from home, shop from home, and exercise from home were the big trends. Stocks like Zoom, Shopify, and Peloton delivered impressive gains as investors chased big returns. Valuations for the hottest stocks became stretched, with investors willing to pay dozens of times annual sales for a piece of the action.
Many stocks that fared well in 2020 may not do so going forward. Financial results could deteriorate as the world goes back to normal after COVID-19 vaccines are widely available. Even if growth rates remain strong, sky-high valuations will make outperformance difficult to achieve. Price didn’t matter at all in 2020, but it always matters in the end.
As some stocks soared last year, other stocks were hammered. Much of the carnage was certainly justified. It may take years for airlines to fully recover from the pandemic, for example, and the movie theater industry may never be the same again. There were a few cases, though, where investors threw out the baby with the bathwater.