12/10/2020 11:00:00 PM

Market Watch Episode 50: 2020 highs and lows ... and what to watch in 2021

It's a been a wild year for stock market investors.

The Covid crash in March brought to the end a decade-long bull run.

But the bear market didn't last long.

Since March markets around the world - including the local NZX-50 - have recovered to hit new highs, with November delivering a record monthly rise for many indexes.

When it comes to the worst moment of the year Pie Funds chief executive Mike Taylor pinpoints March 20 - the day before New Zealand went into lockdown.

"It was very uncertain around the world", Taylor says.
"When you go to the supermarket and the shelves have been cleared, you do fear that Armageddon.
"Of course that flows through into your emotions when it comes to investing so that was certainly the scariest moment of the year."

Meanwhile, November had been the high point with news that not one but three successful vaccines were on their way driving the biggest surge world markets have seen since 1987.

"It's been the best month for the year and positive because of the vaccine. Maybe we can put the drawbridge down midway through next year with the vaccine," he said.

The biggest surprise of the year had been the strength of that recovery and in particular some of the things that had really boomed.

"So with lockdowns, we all saw that we might have to work more from home," Taylor said.
"But we didn't necessarily see what a positive effect that this would have on the equity prices of those particular work-from-home businesses."

Zoom was a really good example, and Microsoft Teams, he said.

"Things we that we didn't really use all that much in our daily life have now become commonplace."

Zoom shares are currently trading up about 560 per cent for the year to date.

There had been a permanent shift in some behaviour, a step-change which was unlikely to be reversed even when Covid is behind us, he said.

One lesson this year was that had we "been too pessimistic in society as a whole, that we wouldn't be able to solve this crisis as quickly as we have".

If you considered that 50 million people died from the Spanish Flu, and put that in context of today's population numbers, which would make it more like 200 million, then the world had done a pretty good job of coping, he said.

Looking out to 2021 there were plenty of reasons for optimism.

"We've still got a lot of stimulus in place, we've still got low rates, we've still got the central banks that put that liquidity into the system and haven't removed that yet," Taylor said.
"We've still got the vaccine."
If you looked at New Zealand as an economy it had performed remarkably well considering we didn't have the tourists here, he said.

As for the stocks to watch, it was likely that next year's winners would include many of the losers from this year.

"I know some of these stocks have already moved but if you think about it things can start to return to normal later next year and into 2022, then big hotel operators, tourism operators, airlines will continue to do well," Taylor said.
"You want to try and look at something that hasn't bounced too much, is still well off its highs from the beginning for the year, not things that are up 600 per cent like Zoom because they'll have high expectations to meet from a shareholder's perspective."

-The Market Watch video series is produced in association with Pie Funds.

- The Market Watch video series is produced in association with Pie Funds

To download our product disclosure statements, go to www.piefunds.co.nz. Past performance is not an indicator for future returns. This information is general in nature only. You may wish to discuss with an expert before relying on it.

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