After the late March passage of the CARES Act, stocks went on a tear even as the economy plummeted. But that run is over: The S&P 500 Index has declined nearly 10% since its peak at 3,580 points on Sept. 2.

Is this just a temporary setback, after a spring and summer of huge gains, or the start of a bigger pullback? Where can investors still find upside—and what stocks are they avoiding?

To find out, Fortune and Civis Analytics joined up to survey 1,180 U.S. investors between Sept. 11 and 14.* When we last surveyed investors, the week of March 23, we found that they were planning to buy the dip. Then the S&P 500 climbed 47%.  

Now it looks like investors are getting more bearish. Only 28% of investors see the S&P 500 finishing the year above 3,000 points, and a meager 7% see it over 3,500 points. Meanwhile, 61% are worried stocks are overpriced.

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The September pullback has been brutal for tech stocks. This month, the Nasdaq has fallen -11%, and both Apple and Tesla shares are down 20%.  

Nevertheless, investors still see tech stocks as having the most upside in the coming 12 months. They told us the same back in March, right before those stocks soared (Amazon was $1,940 per share at the time; then it went up to over $3,000).

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What stocks aren’t they touching? Those of businesses that rely on things returning to a pre-COVID normal. By a 2 to 1 ratio, investors see airlines and cruise lines to have the most downside—still. In March, they felt the same.

It’s easy to see their perspective: Airlines are still losing millions per day as the pandemic continues to hamper business and leisure travel.

*Methodology: The Fortune–Civis Analytics poll was conducted among 1,180 investors in the U.S. between Sept. 11 and 14. Investors must trade financial assets like stocks or bonds. 


This is an excerpt from Fortune Analytics, an exclusive newsletter that Fortune Premium subscribers receive as a perk of their subscription. The newsletter shares in-depth research on the most discussed topics in the business world right now. Our findings come from special surveys we run and proprietary data we collect and analyze. Sign up to get the full briefing in your inbox.


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