From a pandemic-induced crash that became the fastest sell-off in history, to a tech-fuelled rally that drew parallels to the dot.com bubble, the global stock market was taken on a rollercoaster ride like no other in 2020.
Here, Opto looks back at some of the biggest investment stories from each month.
As 2020 got underway, Opto explored the shift to a passive investing strategy and whether it would continue in the year ahead. As megatrend funds — focused on global challenges, including urbanisation, healthcare and technology disruption — continued to launch, the draw to thematic approaches intensified in the US.
After the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on global markets in January, Opto analysed the historical performance of some of the biggest biotech and healthcare stocks to gauge investors’ responses to global healthcare emergencies. The healthcare sector was a mixed bag in February, but many biotech stocks soared, with companies like Abbott Laboratories [ABT] and Gilead Sciences [GILD] leading the way.
Wall Street’s longest bull run crashed in March, when major indices suffered the fastest sell-off in history. Global lockdowns were put in place as governments took measures to quell the spread of the virus and economies around the world struggled. In this article, Opto considered some lessons from history.
As the virus continued to transform global economies, a growing reliance on technology and delivery services began to surface. The demand was so high that it propelled stocks such as Amazon [AMZN], Peloton [PTON], Ocado [OCDO] and Zoom [ZM] to new heights.
As people were stuck in their houses the world over, the fleets of Norwegian Cruise Line [NCLH], Carnival [CCL] and Royal Caribbean Cruises [RCL] were left to gather barnacles and airlines across the globe grounded their planes. As a result, travel stocks emerged as one of the worst-performing sectors of the market, with many short-sellers taking aim.
After just a year on the Nasdaq, Luckin Coffee [LKN] was promptly delisted for accountancy malpractice, which originally emerged in April. As one of the most shorted stocks at the time, Opto explored how the scandal toppled the Chinese coffee giant’s share price.
The revelation that Wirecard could not account for almost €2bn in cash sent the stock into free-fall in July. The German payment provider became one of the most shorted stocks on the market as a result. Short-selling dynamo Fahmi Quadir, founder of Safkhet Capital, had been shorting the firm since 2019.
The gaming sector was a top play among investors throughout 2020. Leading gaming juggernauts such as Activision Blizzard [ATVI], Electronic Arts [EA], Sony  and Take-Two Interactive Software [TTWO] saw their share prices soar, as worldwide lockdowns boosted sales.
The tech-fuelled rally that pushed stocks like Zoom and Apple [AAPL] to new all-time highs faltered at the start of the September. Investors had been piling into work-from-home stocks until a much-needed correction followed. In this article, Opto considered whether cyclical stocks would prop up the market during its recovery.
The 2020 US presidential election sent waves through global stock markets. While Donald Trump touted claims such as “the reason our stock market is so successful is because of me”, investors considered how markets would react to Democratic Party candidate and Trump rival Joe Biden. In an effort to provide readers with some context, Opto provided an overview of how the markets performed under various presidents throughout history.
The long-awaited announcement that Tesla [TSLA] would finally be allowed to join the S&P 500 electrified investors in November. The stock had been on serious surge throughout 2020 and its inclusion into the blue-chip index was the biggest on record. In this article, Opto analysed the stock’s performance and its recent projects.
As the year drew to a close, and much like the year started, the outcome of the coronavirus pandemic was at the forefront of most investors’ minds. The vaccine race remained a focus of much market coverage and those companies leading the way with vaccine candidates such as Pfizer [PFE], BioNTech [BNTX], Moderna [MRNA] and AstraZeneca [AZN.L] held many investors’ attention. Many of them have garnered some bullish calls for 2021.