Ok, we wrote about Zoom yesterday and now we are going to open with them. The video conferencing company’s market cap is now $129B, up from $25B a year ago. So, Zoom is having a great week, and, sure, quadrupling your quarterly sales from last year is impressive, and, sure, your quarterly profit being 33X compared to last year is double impressive…But this growth is moving very fast, even after Netflix won a friggin Oscar it only grew 50%. And, yes, we are aware of how ubiquitous Zoom is…Our grandmothers are also using it…All, I am saying is that this ship has likely sailed.
Which brings me to my point, ESG funds were putting money down on remote work back in 2016. I know what you are saying, well, good for them. But I do think it’s important to take a look at ESG investment funds during a pandemic. I am not 100%-sold that sustainable investment funds are trouncing the overall market, and I simply don’t believe that ESG criteria are determinant for crisis/pandemic period returns. But, I do think that the Labor Department’s recent move to make it difficult for retirement funds to invest in ESG-certified companies and funds is extremely short-sighted. And, I do think that investors need to be active and engaged in at least considering which companies will be sustainable in a changing future.
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One area that I am particularly interested in is alternative proteins. Yes, lab-grown meats are my new bag…Kind of. I think that plant-based or alternative meat will continue to have a market (China is going to be eating a lot more meat in the future), but alternative proteins go well beyond just burgers (ring up the pun gun). I think Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are the flashy entrants into this growing trend, but I am looking for companies who are going to switch out normal consumer products for pea or soy proteins.
The reason I like these areas for growth is that it presents a hedge against a tightening global supply chain. Product circulation and international sales channels may not be what they once were…and alternative proteins are diet and religious-agnostic…Companies like Cargill (private), Kerry Group, and Archer-Daniels-Midland are ones I am keeping an eye on…Watching their acquisitions and IP portfolios.
Ok, switching gears, another company we have been eyeing is Roku. The little streaming dongle that could just continues to win, and it now has more than 10,000 channels and 43 million active accounts and a total of more than 40% penetration across broadband households, which is more than any US pay-TV provider. What was the turning point for Roku? Moving from hardware to services has now turned the company into a streaming gatekeeper.
Dow futures are up 200 points at the time of writing.
Below you can find some of the most notable stocks to watch today.