Updated Jul 22, 2022 - Economy

Stay-at-home stocks have lost all their steam

Data: Yahoo! Finance; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Yahoo! Finance; Chart: Axios Visuals

For a certain clutch of tech brands, it's as if the pandemic never happened.

  • Several high-flying stocks that surged during the COVID-19 crisis have since crashed to prices below their pre-pandemic levels.

State of play: Peloton closed below $10 a share, a 66% swoon from its 2019 IPO price.

  • Chegg, the online learning platform, is currently sitting at about $20 a share, a 52% discount from its stock price three years ago. 
  • Fastly, a cloud computing provider, is trading 47% below its 2019 level.
  • Zoom closed today at $106.55, only slightly above where it was three years ago at $96.67.

Why it matters: Current prices are a reflection of a tougher operating environment as more people get outside, and of a downturn that some fear may become a recession.

  • Companies are dealing with more variables now than when the world was sitting squarely in the middle of the pandemic, when everyone stayed home.

What they're saying: “This notion of stay-at-home companies and stocks is somewhat anachronistic,” Scott Kessler, global sector lead for technology, media and telecom at Third Bridge, tells Axios. 

  • The biggest challenge now is to figure out the “true health of the global economy,” says Kessler.

Zoom out: Companies that spend money on advertising have been pulling back as they face growing macroeconomic challenges like high inflation, rising interest rates and geopolitical risks associated with Russia’s war with Ukraine.  

  • Digital media giants Twitter, Snap and Netflix all cited these conditions this week as they tried to explain their poor second quarter performance, and weaker outlook for the rest of the year.
  • Macro “headwinds” have been putting “pressure on the earnings of a wide variety of companies, and this is directly impacting the demand for advertising,” Snap CFO Derek Andersen told analysts yesterday.
  • Twitter canceled its earnings call today, but said in a statement that its revenue decline reflects “advertising industry headwinds associated with the macroenvironment.”

What to watch: Google and Facebook — the two biggest U.S. digital advertising companies by revenue — are set to report earnings next Tuesday and Wednesday. 

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