What happened

Shares of several companies that have done well since the onset of stay-at-home orders in March were down today, as investors reconsidered their future prospects while U.S. states reopen, and in light of promising news about a COVID-19 vaccine in development.

Here's where shares of each of these three companies ended Monday's session, with their percentage changes relative to Friday's closing prices.

  • Overstock (NASDAQ:OSTK) closed at $15.19, down 11%.
  • Peloton Interactive (NASDAQ:PTON) closed at $43.61, down 9.9%.
  • Wayfair (NYSE:W) closed at $153.81, down 11.1%. 

So what

At first glance, these companies don't seem to have much in common aside from being broadly categorized as consumer-discretionary stocks. But look closer: While many companies in many sectors have struggled since the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, these three have all seen business jump. In fact, all three are, in different ways, quite well suited for this moment -- and on Monday, that had investors concerned about what might happen when this moment ends. 

At Overstock's annual meeting last week, CEO Jonathan Johnson said that quarter-to-date sales were up 130% year over year, with new customers up 260% during the period, as more consumers than ever were embracing online shopping. Even better, with 100% of its employees working from home, the company's costs were down, he said.

A woman riding a Peloton stationary bike in a bedroom.

Peloton's sales -- and shares -- have surged since March. Image source: Peloton Interactive.

Peloton has a similar story to tell. The maker of connected exercise bikes and treadmills seems tailor-made for a moment when affluent exercise-minded consumers are stuck at home for an extended period. Peloton said on May 6 that its fiscal third-quarter revenue jumped 66% from a year ago, on a 61% increase in revenue for its products (the bikes and treadmills) and a 92% increase in subscription revenue (for its content). 

Online home-furnishings retailer Wayfair is another business that has seemed well-suited for the moment. Wayfair said on April 6 that its business had been booming since mid-March, something that was confirmed by CEO Niraj Shah during the company's earnings call on May 5.

"Millions of new shoppers have discovered Wayfair while they shelter in place at home, and we are seeing strong acceleration in new and repeat customer orders across almost all classes of goods and across all regions," Shah said.

Now what

Does the reopening of America spell doom for these three companies? Not likely: Notwithstanding today's promising news, a COVID-19 vaccine is still many months away, at best. That means that while states are allowing stores to reopen, virus fears will linger for quite a while longer, keeping consumers at home when possible.

Already, some companies are saying that they will allow their employees to continue working from home indefinitely. Put another way, the sharp acceleration that we've seen in online shopping and services over the past two months may be here to stay. 

If so, investors who hold these stocks will likely continue to be rewarded. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.