Investors haven't been quite sure what to expect from the stock market lately, and that's shown up in inconsistent readings from different major market benchmarks. Today, it was the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) that led the most popular indexes, but market participants seemed nervous about how federal, state, and local governments across the nation are likely to respond to the latest surge in COVID-19 cases. As of 11:45 a.m. EST, the Dow was up 88 points to 30,185. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) picked up three points to 3,695, but the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) missed out, falling 12 points to 12,508.

One of the most popular stocks of the year has been Zoom Video Communications (NASDAQ:ZM), with hundreds of millions of people around the world using its video-conferencing platform to keep in touch with one another. Yet today, newer IPO Snowflake (NYSE:SNOW) passed Zoom in terms of market capitalization, staking its claim as the most valuable new software-as-a-service stock. Meanwhile, Chewy (NYSE:CHWY) prepared its investors for the earnings report that's due after the close of trading Tuesday, and shareholders seem optimistic about the pet-specialist's prospects.

A few dozen snowflakes against a blue background.

Image source: Getty Images.

Will Snowflake melt after a red-hot start?

Shares of Snowflake rose 9% on Tuesday morning. That sent the data warehousing specialist's market capitalization above that of Zoom, with Snowflake having passed the video-conferencing specialist in terms of per-share price on Monday.

Snowflake continued to ride momentum from last-week's earnings report. Revenue in the data management company's fiscal third quarter jumped 119% from year-earlier levels, with 65 of its top customers generating more than $1 million each in annual recurring revenue.

Fundamentally, Snowflake is still far behind Zoom. The former lost $420 million on revenue of $490 million over the past 12 months while the latter has brought in $1.96 billion in sales and generated a profit of $430 million.

Yet bullish investors clearly believe that while Zoom's success could wane after the COVID-19 pandemic comes under control, Snowflake will see rising demand for its data services far into the future. To justify a higher market capitalization than Zoom, Snowflake will need to sustain its growth for a lot longer into the future. But with investors as well-known as Warren Buffett betting on the company, Snowflake has better odds than you might expect.

Chew on this

Chewy shares got more appetizing, rising 5% in advance of the online pet food and supplies marketplace's earnings report after the closing bell Tuesday. Investors have high hopes for Chewy and think the company will be able to sustain its impressive momentum from earlier in 2020.

Chewy has risen to prominence this year because of the need for pet owners to get the supplies they need, even in the midst of a pandemic. That's dramatically accelerated the company's growth, and investors see that trend continuing. Chewy itself provided guidance for revenue to rise 38% to 40% this quarter, and most of those following the stock anticipate sales on the high side of that range.

To drive further growth, Chewy will need to keep improving its business. The company's Autoship program ensures regular deliveries of pet essentials, but Chewy has also had success in trying to boost sales volumes of higher-margin items like prescription pet pharmaceuticals.

The best companies find ways to keep growing, even under challenging circumstances, and both Chewy and Snowflake have delivered in different ways during 2020. It'll be interesting to see whether these two high-performing growth stocks can keep up the pace in 2021 and beyond.

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.