Ordinarily, investors wouldn't complain about an up day. But for the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC 2.19%), Monday's tepid gains were downright awful compared to the massive gains from the Dow Jones Industrial Average -- which was in the process of putting up one of its best point-gain totals in history on news of promising results on a COVID-19 vaccine candidate. As of 3 p.m. EST, the Nasdaq was up just 0.12%, compared to a nearly 1,250-point jump for the Dow, working out to 4.3%.
The problem investors in the Nasdaq Composite face is that part of the reason that the index has done so well in 2020 is because many of constituents actually found ways to do well during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the prospects of things going back to normal spurred shareholders to think twice about holding onto shares. In particular, four Nasdaq stocks struggled on an otherwise extraordinary day for the markets.
Shares of Netflix (NFLX 5.54%) were down 7% Monday afternoon. The streaming video specialist has been a big pioneer in the entertainment industry, but an end to the pandemic would take away one of its biggest recent growth drivers.
Netflix saw subscriber counts soar during lockdowns, and many investors had started to believe that a return to those extraordinary measures might spur another wave of growth. But with market participants focusing on a vaccine, the fear is that many of those who signed up could start following other pursuits. Those fears probably aren't warranted, but a pullback isn't unreasonable given the huge gains in Netflix stock recently.
Electronic payments company PayPal Holdings (PYPL 1.43%) also suffered a 7% decline. The trend away from cash toward mobile and online payments has been in place for a long time, but the pandemic accelerated the move and brought big wins for PayPal's business.
Despite today's move lower, it's not as though PayPal's growth is going to go away. Moreover, new initiatives to offer cryptocurrencies could prove to be another substantial revenue source, as similar offerings have for its rivals. Yet even after today's drop, PayPal's stock is still up more than 70% in 2020.
One of the darlings of the stay-at-home craze has been Peloton Interactive (PTON -1.43%), which plunged 17% Monday. Shareholders have now found themselves whipsawed, with pressure following last week's earnings report stemming from Peloton's inability to keep up with massive order backlogs.
Now, investors believe people will return to fitness clubs and gyms or pursue activities left behind during the worst of the COVID-19 crisis. How fast that will happen remains to be seen, but the quick ascent in Peloton's stock price over the past several months makes today's decline more understandable.
Zoom Video Communications
Finally, Zoom Video Communications (ZM 1.77%) has been the ultimate play on COVID-19, with the videoconferencing service acting as a substitute for the in-person interactions that hundreds of millions of people took for granted. Growth has been stunning, but people worry that Zoom will become a thing of the past once people can meet face-to-face without fear for their health.
Zoom has made big inroads toward sustainable growth, and even if an end to the pandemic leads some people to stop using the service, others might well keep taking advantage of its benefits. Counting Zoom out just yet would be a big mistake.
Light at the end of the tunnel
News of a potential vaccine won't solve the coronavirus problem overnight, and more importantly, all four of these companies had solid businesses even before COVID-19 came on the scene. If their share prices fall hard enough, then some investors will finally get their chance to buy into these growth stocks at the more reasonable valuation they've sought.