The pandemic has spawned a new universe of stock market stars. Some are coming back to Earth now.
The Covid-19 outbreak transformed the way people worked, shopped and ate, helping companies like video conferencing star Zoom Video Communications inc
and home exercise provider Peloton Interactive inc
climb. But as restrictions eased and vaccines became widely available, certain consumer behaviors tipped back to pre-pandemic norms, posing new threats to businesses that thrived in 2020 and 2021.
Streaming giant Netflix just launched last week inc
and online car dealership Carvana co
signaled their businesses were slowing and joined others who were trimming their growth targets. Some investors say the declines in stay-at-home stocks suggest the hottest trade of the pandemic may have blown too far and too fast.
Here’s a look at the fortunes of 10 pandemic-era favorites:
Netflix investors are changing channels. The streaming service’s subscriber base and share price hit new highs during the pandemic as viewers opted to watch movies and TV shows indoors. But the company on Tuesday reported its first quarterly subscriber loss in more than a decade. It’s expected to lose another 2 million in the current quarter as it struggles with competition from competing streaming services and password sharing among its customers. Netflix shares fell 35% on Wednesday, their second-worst single-day decline on record, shedding $54 billion in market value. On that day, billionaire investor William Ackman said his fund sold its Netflix stake at a loss.
Peloton Interactive Inc.
Peloton no longer rides up. The home fitness equipment maker has been a resounding success during the pandemic as closed gyms and lockdowns fueled massive demand for its exercise bikes. But the company struggled as people ventured back outside, lowering its sales forecasts and shedding 20% of its staff. Earlier this year, activist investor Blackwells Capital LLC urged Peloton’s board of directors to fire its CEO and seek a sale. The company, which once had a market value of more than $50 billion, is now worth less than $7 billion.
Will Etsy create a post-pandemic recovery? Business for the online marketplace boomed as more consumers shopped from home in the early days of the pandemic. But the return of some shoppers to brick-and-mortar stores following the widespread availability of vaccines triggered a slowdown in e-commerce. Etsy saw a slowdown in active buyer growth in the first quarter of 2021. Now that the company is preparing to take on competitors like Amazon.com inc,
it meets resistance from some of its sellers. More than 20,000 sellers have signed a petition to protest higher commission fees, which Etsy says will help fund investments in marketing and expand seller support services.
Carvana loses some of its acceleration. The online used-car dealership reported its first-ever decline in quarterly sales on Wednesday and said it will raise capital and plans to sell $2 billion worth of common and preferred stock. The once-pandemic darling has grown rapidly over the past two years, roughly doubling its quarterly sales volume since spring 2020 as more consumers shopped online. But rising interest rates, falling used-car prices and inflation-averse customers turned Carvana’s growth plans upside down, while logistics backlogs prompted the company to restrict consumer purchases of vehicles and limit the inventory available on its website. Carvana shares are down about 18% in the past three trading days and nearly 80% since their peak last summer.
Clorox no longer cleans up. Sales soared at the pandemic star as she struggled to keep up with Americans’ demand for cleaning products. But the disinfection craze waned, as did demand for the company’s wipes and sprays as Covid restrictions eased and vaccines became plentiful. The company expects price increases this year to improve margins and profitability. Clorox shares are down about 17% since April 2021.
Moderna shot to the top during the global race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine. Its shot is the second most used in the US, behind that developed by Pfizer inc
and BioNTech SE.
But Moderna is now facing an increasingly crowded market, along with investor concerns about how long vaccine sales will remain robust. The company anticipates that people will need another booster dose through the fall to maintain protection, particularly against the Omicron variant. Shares soared in 2021, hitting a record in August, but have since fallen 71%. The stock is still well above pre-pandemic levels.
PayPal Holdings Inc.
PayPal loses part of its charge. The migration to online shopping over the course of the pandemic boosted transaction volume and profits, sending its market value across all US banks except JPMorgan Chase & Co at one point. Sentiment began to ebb as lockdowns eased and in-store sales picked up relaxed. In February, PayPal cut its 2022 earnings outlook and scrapped an ambitious growth strategy it launched last year. Shares are down 72% from the July peak.
Domino’s Pizza inc
Investors no longer have the same appetite for Domino’s Pizza. A spate of delivery and takeout orders drove the pizza chain’s shares higher as restaurants closed their dining rooms during the pandemic. But same-store sales in the U.S. fell in the fourth quarter for the first time in a decade, hurt by restaurant reopening and ongoing staffing issues. The company has even allowed customers who pick up their orders in stores to request a $3 tip due to a shortage of delivery drivers. Shares are down 33% from their December 2021 record.
Zoom Video Communications Inc.
Zoom isn’t connecting the way it was in 2020. Thanks to the pandemic, Zoom has become a household name, and its stock hit an all-time high in October 2020. But higher vaccination rates and a return to work have raised questions about its future rate of growth in a competitive video conferencing calling market. In its most recent quarter, the company’s revenue growth slowed to 21%, the smallest gain on record. Zoom is also struggling to expand after trying to acquire contact center company Five9 for nearly $15 billion inc
was blocked by the selling shareholders in September. Stocks are almost back to pre-pandemic levels, about 82% below their record highs.
Campbell Soup co
Campbell Soup stock is cooling. U.S. soup sales surged in early 2020 as consumers sought comfort foods. But sales fell last quarter as more consumers enjoyed meals out. The 150-year-old company also faces inflationary pressures and rising costs for ingredients, packaging, logistics and labor. It’s trying to increase its appeal to younger customers by launching a long-overdue product refresh, including simplified ingredients and modernized packaging. Shares are down 13% from their March 2020 highs.
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https://www.wsj.com/articles/these-stocks-got-hot-during-the-pandemic-now-theyre-cooling-11650686436?mod=rss_markets_main These stocks got hot during the pandemic. Now they cool down.