A post-pandemic world. Those words sound pretty good, don't they? After the COVID-19 nightmare of 2020, it's nice to think about life returning to normal.
Americans are already beginning to receive the first coronavirus vaccines. Over the coming months, we could achieve herd immunity -- at which point the coronavirus won't be able to spread much because there will be too few carriers.
It's not too early to begin anticipating how things will be with COVID-19 largely in the rearview mirror. It's also not too early to begin investing based on what's hopefully ahead. With this in mind, here are three perfect stocks to buy for a post-pandemic world.
The magic seemed to wane a little for Disney (DIS 0.84%) this year. Its theme parks, once packed with tourists, were empty for much of 2020. The company delayed the debuts of multiple movies that promised to be blockbusters. However, the Mouse is more than ready to roar once the pandemic ends.
Disney appears poised to have a monster year in 2021. This is primarily due to the company's ambitious plans for its Disney+ TV streaming service. Disney intends to launch multiple new movies and series based on its super-popular Marvel and Star Wars franchises.
So far, Disney's streaming services, which include Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu, have attracted 137 million subscribers across the world. Disney expects that total to soar to as many as 350 million by 2024.
Now add the potential that life begins to return to normal next summer. All of Disney's parks will once again be packed. Moviegoers will once again line up to see new Disney movies. Advertising will pick up on the company's TV networks. Disney could arguably be the best post-pandemic stock of all.
2. Intuitive Surgical
Things haven't been quite as bleak for Intuitive Surgical (ISRG -0.37%) this year. However, the robotic surgical systems pioneer has been adversely affected by COVID-19 outbreaks as non-emergency surgeries have been delayed in many parts of the U.S.
Those delays will be a thing of the past once the pandemic ends. And surgical procedures delayed doesn't mean that the procedures won't be performed. This could create a backlog for Intuitive Surgical that boosts its fortunes in 2021.
The long-term prospects for the healthcare stock appear to be very bright. Populations are aging across the world. As people get older, they tend to require more surgical procedures. The good news for Intuitive Surgical is that many of those procedures for which demand is sure to increase are ideally suited for robotic assistance.
Even better, the company continues to expand the types of procedures that can be performed with robotic systems. For example, Intuitive hopes to increase the use of its da Vinci system in different kinds of colorectal surgeries with clinical trials set to soon begin. The future of healthcare in a post-pandemic world almost certainly will be one with more robots.
3. The Trade Desk
Some advertisers cut back their marketing budgets as the COVID-19 pandemic struck earlier this year. That created headwinds for The Trade Desk (TTD 2.69%), which operates the leading buy-side programmatic advertising platform. Programmatic advertising, by the way, simply means using software to buy and sell ads instead of negotiating person-to-person.
Even with these headwinds, though, The Trade Desk's business performed well. Founder and CEO Jeff Green said in November that the company gained more market share in 2020 than ever before. Why? Advertisers recognized the value that The Trade Desk's platform offers.
The Trade Desk stock has soared more than 260% so far this year despite the COVID-19 challenges. It's still a buy after this huge gain, though. The pandemic has poured fuel on the fire in the adoption of connected TV (CTV), especially streaming TV services.
Broadcasters and consumers are flocking to CTV. I don't expect this momentum to fade as life returns to normal. The Trade Desk has been a near-perfect stock to buy during the pandemic. I think it's a perfect stock to buy for the long term when the coronavirus crisis is only a memory.