What happened

Shares of packaged food maker B&G Foods (NYSE:BGS) dropped as much as 12% in early trading on Nov. 9. Recreational vehicle (RV) retailer and services provider Camping World Holdings (NYSE:CWH) fell as much as 20%. And online discount retailer Overstock.com (NASDAQ:OSTK) declined 22% within the first hour of trading. Although they recovered some of the losses as the morning progressed, by roughly 11 a.m. EST, all three were still holding on to notable losses. 

A man sitting on a step holding his head with a falling stock price chart behind him

Image source: Getty Images.

While the actual percentage change is notable for all three stocks, the really interesting thing to examine here is more directional in nature. While the S&P 500 was rallying sharply in early trading this morning, this trio of stocks all fell. 

So what

Although B&G, Camping World, and Overstock are all in vastly different businesses, they are all suffering from the same malady today. The drop was the direct result of positive vaccine news from Pfizer and partner BioNTech. But the story here is really that the old story could be coming to an end. Essentially, the business boost that this trio received from the global pandemic looks increasingly like it will be a temporary one. If that's the case, the huge price runs each of the stocks have seen in 2020 will likely have priced in more good news than is likely to come to pass.

B&G Foods, for example, is up around 52% so far in 2020. However, it reached a peak gain of nearly 75%. There was good reason for some excitement, noting that the company's sales increased 22% year over year in the third quarter with an earnings advance of 50%. Those are not numbers you would normally expect to see at a packaged food company in the typically boring consumer staples space. However, much of that improvement is related to consumers buying more food for home use because of social distancing. If a vaccine means that people can go back out to restaurants with less worry, then B&G's business results might fall back to earth.   

Camping World's story is basically the same. In a world with social distancing, buying an RV and heading out for an adventure sounds pretty good compared with sitting at home and doing nothing. That helps explain the company's 21% year-over-year revenue increase in the third quarter, with a huge 258% advance in adjusted EBITDA. Once again, however, if a vaccine means people can visit amusement parks, go to movie theaters, and take flights again, buying an RV would be much less desirable. At its high, Camping World's stock was up over 185%. At this point, it's up 64%. Clearly, investors were already questioning how long the COVID-19 sales boost would last. Today is just a continuation of that trend as evidence comes in to suggest "not long" could be the answer.  

CWH Chart

CWH data by YCharts

The biggest loser of this trio could be Overstock. At one point this year, the stock was higher by more than 1,550%. (That's not a typo.) Today it is up "just" 670% for the year, which again shows that investors had already started to worry about the COVID-19 sales boost here. To be fair, the company's performance has been very impressive during the pandemic. Sales were up 111% year over year in the third quarter, with earnings of $0.50 per share a vast improvement from the loss of $0.89 in the same period of 2019. However, a big driver of the sales and earnings gain was online shopping driven by social distancing and the broad shift toward working from home. If these things prove temporary, thanks to a vaccine, then Overstock's results could quickly return to pre-COVID-19 levels. That wouldn't be very good news.  

Now what

B&G Foods, Camping World, and Overstock are doing a very good job during what has been a difficult time for many companies. Moreover, the vaccine news, while positive, isn't going to translate into an overnight solution. A vaccine still has to be approved and be made widely available, and just as important, consumers need to believe that they can go back to prepandemic normal behavior. That said, even after today's drop, there's still a lot of good news prices into this trio of stocks. Long-term investors are probably better off watching this roller-coaster ride than joining it at this point. 

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.