The market environment has been markedly different since the middle of 2021 from what we experienced off the stock market bottom in March 2020.
Many of the best-performing stocks have soured and in some instances, given back the majority of their gains. Little relief is likely given that these stocks remain overvalued, while rates continue to rise with the Fed's focus on inflation.
However, one notable exception had been the stocks that were exposed to the coronavirus whether it was the vaccine stocks like Moderna
All of these stocks have delivered outstanding returns to investors and defied the broader market's volatility. But, there are signs that this trend may be abating. And the reason may be surprising. Already, some of these stocks seem to have topped out despite very bullish newsflow in terms of increasing testing and distribution of vaccines. One explanation is that the market is sniffing out that the most acute phase of the pandemic has passed.
This is because a major factor in their recent strength was the omicron variant which has led to an explosion in testing and case counts. However, there's a silver lining. Clinical data is showing that omicron is less severe than other variants, especially for vaccinated and boosted people. Further, the virus also doesn't seem to affect lung function like previous variants.
It also provides protection against previous strains which wasn't the case for previous variants. Further, it's so contagious that mitigation efforts have been nearly useless. The end result is that omicron may be bringing us to "herd immunity" which could herald the end of the pandemic.
Already, case counts are peaking in the parts of the country and the world, where the variant first emerged.
Given these developments, investors may want to consider selling or taking profits on these parts of the market and buying stocks that would benefit from increased travel volumes like airlines or online booking sites.