How the pandemic drove massive stock market gains, and what happens next


Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.


The pandemic turned 2020 into a year of unprecedented events — not the least of which was the swift crash and then record-fast recovery of the stock market.

The market’s race higher has been in stark contrast to an economy that has been growing slowly.

Many small businesses are struggling, and there are still more than 10.7 million people unemployed, according to Labor Department monthly data.

Even so, the market has powered higher, fueled by expectations of a period of strong growth after vaccines are widely distributed and the economy fully reopens.

Those same expectations have helped draw in a different cohort of investors,…


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