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  • Writer's pictureLucas McNamara

Winning in a Global Crisis

Since the Coronavirus first arrived about a year ago, the stock market has been a wild ride through major ups and downs. At first, many analysts called impending doom as millions of workers were continuing to be laid off and left jobless. The virus pulled the global economy to a halt and left many wondering if a recession is imminent. Although the telltale signs of a global fiscal crisis became clear, a sharp uprise in the market changed the minds of investors. Mainly due to massive stimulus movements from many Western countries, an influx of consumer spending and further stability led to the economy reaching record bounds. While many companies have weakened due to the crisis, a select few have seen massive gains in value since the start of 2020.

Tesla (TSLA)

The brainchild of Elon Musk, Tesla first began in the early 2000s. Hype grew as the eccentric CEO began to release bold claims on his company’s products. Although doubted, many of the flashy statements ranging from state-of-the-art batteries and exceptional performance claims turned out to be true. The stock steadily grew from its inception to the start of the year, but it remained outside of the Top 100. As the year progressed, the company’s value grew a massive 700% YTD. The influx of retail investors siding with Musk’s capricious series of Tweets fueled growth and made TSLA a household name. Firms began to recognize the potential of the car company and started to institutionally invest in the business. Furthermore, the 2020 Election which brought Joe Biden into the White House gave investors the idea that the President will likely enact legislation that will benefit Tesla. Combined with the Senate’s flip to a majority-democrat body, the chances of Tesla positive legislation being created has grown. Starting outside of the Top 100 Companies in the United States, the automaker has progressed this year to be valued in the Top 10. In addition to the massive growth, Tesla has been added to Standard and Poor’s 500 Index. While the TSLA stock has been in a slight decline recently, this movement seems like a correction to the massive hype surrounding the company previously. Tesla will likely continue to devour space in the Auto Industry and further develop in popularity.

Zoom Video (ZM)

The company that many of us have recently begun to use started back in 2011 when Zoom’s creator, Eric Yuan, became disgruntled with his work at Cisco and decided to start a company of his own. Along with Yuan, a team of forty engineers followed him. About a year later in 2012, the video-conferencing software became publicly available, but due to the lack of a need for the product, it remained obscure. Outside of the corporate world, there was relatively little desire for a product of this type as most business professionals frequented offices or were accustomed to phone calls. While the software was much smaller in hype than its current popularity, the company did make sizable gains. In 2018 Zoom Video employed around 1,700 employees and generated yearly revenue of over $330 million. The tide of the company changed as the world was hit with the 2020 Pandemic. Companies, schools, and organizations that could no longer meet in-person turned to an online alternative. Overnight, millions of workers and students downloaded the Zoom Video app. Sales skyrocketed and the product became a household name that was used by nearly everyone with an internet connection. Today, many companies and schools continue to use the website as a mildly-cheap and accessible alternative to host their online events. Although massively popular, the app has been criticized for its security concerns and questionable user privacy. While these security threats are divisive issues that may cause worry, they are relatively common in the tech industry and will likely be overlooked by consumers. The value of Zoom video has grown exponentially from a share price of $60 at the beginning of the year to currently $417. As many people begin to return to the in-person environments that once seemed so abnormal, many believe that sales in the video-conferencing industry will decline. It is important to remember that many employees have been accustomed to the ease of online meetings and that the industry will likely continue to maintain the pace or even thrive in the future.

Moderna (MRNA)

The Massachusetts pharmaceutical and biotechnology company, Moderna, first began in the early 2000s. A team of Ivy-League biologists discovered the ability to create specific immunotherapy drugs from a new method developed by Harvard Students. Through a series of networking and capital-raising efforts, the company released its first product related to the selective treatment of cancers. Prior to 2020, MRNA’s stock price steadily ranged between $12 to $20. The price rose and fell through a fairly stable release of products with generally optimistic quarterly returns. Moderna was one of the first companies to attack the virus when it arrived in the Western World. By using its signature biological method, the company was able to produce a vaccine that used a person’s own body to build a resistance against the Coronavirus. The research was expedited by previous development of Coronavirus-related therapies developed well before COVID-19 existed. Being a major player in U.S. vaccine research, the therapeutics company received a deluge of funding from the National Government, private organizations, and even some of the 1%. In November of 2020, the first trial of the mRNA-based COVID-19 drug was tested; it was found to have an efficacy of about 94%. The effectiveness and speed of Moderna’s drug far outpaced competitors and alongside Pfizer, the drug has been in widespread use across much of the world. Demand for Moderna’s products will continue until the virus has been eliminated. Currently, the stock price for MRNA sits at $169. Although it has declined from its peak price of about $180, the value of Moderna has significantly grown due to the pandemic. The influx of resources will likely allow the company to continue to develop into the future and become the major leader in pharmaceutical research throughout the United States.

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