We hear that a COVID-19 vaccine could be on the way sooner rather than later, and that means we could get back to normal life sometime in 2021. That's the good news. The confusing news, however, is that every time there is positive news about a vaccine – and believe me, I'm not complaining – Wall Street is penalizing stocks that it believes will benefit from us being stuck at home. That would be companies like Zoom and Peloton.
While I'm not here to provide investment advice, I am confident that these companies will do well after we return to the office. While we certainly crave human contact, brainstorming in the office, lunch with coworkers, and meeting and collaborating in the same room, that doesn't mean we just get back to life as we were before the pandemic and spend five days a week in the office.
One thing is clear in my conversations with startups born or raised during the pandemic: they learned to work, hire, and sell remotely, and many say they will continue to be number one after the pandemic ends . Established larger public companies like Dropbox, Facebook, Twitter, Shopify, and others have announced that they will continue to offer a remote work option in the future. There are many other such examples.
It is fair to say that we have learned many lessons about work from home this year and will take them with us every time we return to school and the office – and a certain percentage of us will continue to work from home, at least temporarily while quite a few companies could be remote-first.
Wall Street reactions
On November 9, the news that the Pfizer vaccine was at least 90% effective threw the markets into a loop. Summer trading, in which investors migrated capital from traditional non-tech industries and put it into software stocks, turned around; Suddenly, stocks that had seen a pandemic wave lost ground as old-fashioned, even cumbersome, companies shot higher.