The end of the pandemic boom is nigh

Even before the Omicron variant started spreading with a vengeance throughout the U.S., Wall Street has been betting that pandemic-era economy is in its end of days. Since the market crashed in March of 2020, the Dow Jones has doubled in value, pumped up by companies that made more money as people spent more of their lives at home. But as lockdowns eased and vaccines became more widespread, the writing has been on the wall. Zoom, the video-chat service that’s become the bane of work-from-home existence, is worth about a quarter of what it was worth at its October 2020 peak. Logitech, which makes headsets and webcams, has lost about half its value since June. This week’s twin cratering of Peloton and Netflix was just the most recent blow to the pandemic economy — and their sudden falls sent peers like Disney skidding, too, as the growth of streaming audiences is expected to slow…

Meanwhile, many winners of the pandemic economy are running out of steam. The Nasdaq Composite, a stock index of technology companies, just had its worst week since 2020, dragged down by giants like Amazon. Even Bitcoin is at its lowest point since July, as it increasingly moves in the same general direction as the stock market. With the Omicron wave now possibly past-peak in the U.S., investors have decided that safer, more established companies, like Procter & Gamble, or even just regular old Treasury bonds, are a better bet. Even if the economy never turns back to 2019 — and surely it won’t — consumers’ pandemic habits could only continue for so long. “Everybody already has Netflix,” noted Lynch. “Who else is gonna get it?”