The pandemic has wrought havoc across all aspects of life and society, including the stock market. When nations locked down in order to slow the spread of the virus, the stock market crashed and reached historic lows. The global fear of COVID-19, and the uncertainty of the future, have led to a dramatic plunge that has not been seen in a long time.
However, the outlook in 2021 is more optimistic. As the United States ramps up vaccination, inoculating millions of people every day, there is hope that, soon, life will go back to normal. Industries that have been hit hard by the crisis over the past year can recover soon as the economy reopens gradually. When the nation reaches herd immunity, which current projections claim will be by fall, these sectors will rebound in the stock market.
Energy Stocks Bounces Back
There was far less need for oil in 2020 due to the shelter in place orders in major cities around the world. Roads were emptied as people stayed at home for months and months, only coming out to purchase food and household necessities. As a result, the prices of crude oil went down in the past year.
It did not last long, however. By the end of 2020, the price of oil was back to above $50 per barrel. By March 2021, it is up to $60 a barrel.
Oil will continue to recoup its losses in the coming months. Despite the emergence of new variants, the vaccines maintain efficacy. With that said, demand for oil will likely be sustained in the coming months and the year might see energy stocks increase by around or over 15%, according to Forbes.
It would not be a bad idea for investors to return to oil and gas investing this year. While the U.S. is not completely out of the woods yet, it is in a good position right now. As long as the current rate of vaccinations continues, the oil will remain a strong investment throughout 2021 and beyond.
Hospitality, Tourism Industry to Reawaken
The past year has also been devastating to the hospitality and tourism industry. For a year, no one was traveling for leisure. Crossing borders are only permitted for legitimate reasons such as business and family, but not wanderlust.
While, right now, stocks for the hotel and travel industries are still down by as much as 40%, experts expect things to pick up as soon as the nation opens up and allow more movement. Disney theme parks and hotels were closed for the majority of the year but, as soon as it is safe again, the popular tourist destination will be bustling with life again.
Disney also has a family-friendly cruise line that is set to sail the high seas by the end of the year.
The hospitality sector is also looking better than the year before. Marriott International, for example, is only down by 13% compared to when the virus started spreading and a pandemic was declared.
Expedia Group, an online travel website, is also back to over $140 after falling to just $48 in March 2020. Booking Holdings, a similar company, has also rebounded after a decline in the past year due to national lockdowns.
Live Entertainment Will Return
An industry that has been mostly absent in the past year and everyone has been eager to bring back is live entertainment. Theater, concerts, music festivals, and others were canceled in the past year as the audience stayed at home to escape the spreading virus. Some artists and venues went online in order to prevent going bankrupt and to provide entertainment to bored consumers.
However, the industry is revving back up as vaccination efforts in the U.S. accelerate. The stock price of Live Nation Entertainment, a company that promotes and manages ticket sales and venues, surprised everyone when it hit an all-time high earlier this year and it continues rising despite the fact that concerts and music festivals are still not happening, at least in the U.S. It is a contrast to the plunge that the company experienced the year before when it lost a net $1 billion as revenue as a result of the pandemic.
The reason for it is quite scary. The pandemic permanently shut down smaller live entertainment venues. There will be less competition when the market returns to normal later this year or in 2022. Investors, therefore, are optimistic about the future of Live Nation and, perhaps, the few remaining players in the live entertainment industry.
The future of these industries will look very different in the coming months and in 2022. Compared to the year before, unless there is another global crisis suddenly appear, investors will the risk will be reduced as the U.S. sprints toward herd immunity through vaccinations.