Not every company that surged over the past 20 months has come back to earth.
Etsy, for example, is up 63 percent in 2021, as the company has been successful at converting those who went to the site for face coverings into repeat customers. And the online security company Zscaler — which soared more than 300 percent last year — has only continued to climb, rising 83 percent so far this year.
“The market liked to group them all together: the pandemic trade vs. the reopening,” said Chris Mack, a stock portfolio manager at the investment adviser Harding Loevner in Bridgewater, N.J. “The market, now, is having to go through and look at the underlying fundamentals. There are company-specific differences.”
Recent earnings reports have provided some answers — and sometimes violent investor reactions. Shares of Chegg — which provides digital textbook rental and online tutoring — fell by half earlier this month, wiping out more than $4 billion of market value, after quarterly results fell just short of expectations. The company was seeing “significantly fewer enrollments than expected this semester” as more customers cut back on their studies to return to work, Chegg’s chief executive, Daniel Rosensweig, told analysts.
Peloton’s big drop came after it also missed earnings expectations, with a single day of losses accounting for much of its decline this year. (Planet Fitness disclosed much better than expected results the same day, as a surge of new customers pushed its gym memberships to 97 percent of the company’s peak. Its shares are up 14 percent this month.)
But the pandemic darlings aren’t finished, even if their most explosive growth has petered out. Some investors believe that nearly two years of stay-at-home life have so altered our behaviors that companies like Peloton and Zoom Video will remain part of our daily routines for the foreseeable future.
Bill Cynecki, a 31-year-old military officer living in Milford, Mich., said he had been a true believer in Peloton since “10 minutes” into his first ride, when he tried one of the bikes out while visiting his sister in Manhattan in February 2020.
Mr. Cynecki began buying shares when the stock was trading around $30, then held on as the pandemic drove it up to $150 by the end of the year. He sold a bit then, but bought more shares when it fell below $100.
On Thursday, Peloton closed at $48.40 a share.
“Obviously, you know, hard times right now,” said Mr. Cynecki, who still believes that Peloton will have a strong business over the long term. “But this is a part of investing.”