Already notable for its mainly unstoppable rise this year – despite a pandemic that has killed more than 300,000 people, put millions out of office and shuttered businesses throughout the country – the industry is currently tipping into outright euphoria.
Large investors who have been bullish for much of 2020 are discovering new causes for confidence in the Federal Reserve’s continued moves to keep markets steady and interest rates low. And individual investors, whom have piled into the industry this year, are actually trading stocks at a pace not seen in over a decade, driving a significant part of the market’s upward trajectory.
“The market right now is clearly foaming at the mouth,” said Charlie McElligott, a market analyst with Nomura Securities in New York.
The S&P 500 index is up almost 15 percent for the season. By a number of measures of stock valuation, the industry is actually nearing amounts last seen in 2000, the season the dot com bubble began to burst. Initial public offerings, when companies issue new shares to the public, are actually having the busiest year of theirs in two years – even though several of the new companies are actually unprofitable.
Few expect a replay of the dot-com bust that began in 2000. The collapse eventually vaporized about forty percent of the market’s value, or even over $8 trillion in stock market wealth. And it helped crush consumer confidence as the land slipped into a recession in early 2001.
“We are actually noticing the sort of craziness that I don’t assume has been in existence, definitely not in the U.S., since the web bubble,” stated Ben Inker, head of asset allocation at the Boston-based money manager Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo. “This is quite reminiscent of what went on.”
The gains have kept up even as the fate of an economic stimulus bill passed by Congress was tossed into question when President Trump denounced it. Although the stock market ended with a small loss this past week, the S&P 500, Dow Jones industrial average as well as Nasdaq are simply shy of record highs.
There are reasons for investors to feel upbeat. The Electoral College voted on Dec. 14 to formalize the victory of President elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., bringing an end to a contentious presidential election that had weighed on markets. A nationwide inoculation push against the coronavirus has started, signaling the beginning of an eventual return to normal.
Many market analysts, investors as well as traders say the excellent news, while promising, is hardly enough to justify the momentum building in stocks – though they also see no underlying reason behind it to stop in the near future.
Still lots of Americans haven’t discussed in the gains. About half of U.S. households do not own stock. Even with those who actually do, probably the wealthiest ten % influence about eighty four percent of the entire worth of the shares, according to research by Ed Wolff, an economist at New York University that studies the net worth of American households.
Party Like It has 1999 Perhaps the clearest example of unbridled investor enthusiasm comes from the market for I.P.O.s. With around 447 different share offerings and over $165 billion raised this year, 2020 is the perfect year for the I.P.O. market in 21 years, according to data from Dealogic. (In 1999, 547 I.P.O.s raised around $167 billion in today’s dollars.) Investors have embraced little but fast-growing businesses, specifically ones with strong brand names.
Shares of the food delivery service DoorDash soared eighty six % on the day they had been first traded this month. The next day, Airbnb’s recently issued shares jumped 113 percent, providing the short-term house rental business a market valuation of over $100 billion. Neither company is profitable. Brokers talk about desire that is strong from specific investors drove the surge of trading in Doordash and Airbnb. Professional money managers mostly stood aside, gawking at the prices smaller investors were willing to spend.