Forex vs Stocks: Which Should You Trade?

Forex and stocks are two of the most popular global markets. Before you start trading either, it’s vital to know which is best suited for your trading strategy and risk appetite. Look at our comparison and learn the differences.

The largest difference between forex and the stock market is, of course, what you are trading. Forex, or foreign exchange, is a marketplace for the buying and selling of currencies, while the stock market deals in shares – the units of ownership in a company. Primarily, your decision about whether to trade currencies or stocks should be based on which asset you are interested in trading, but there are some other factors you need to consider.

Market trading hours

The opening hours of a market can have a significant influence over your trading, impacting the time you will need to spend monitoring the markets.

As forex is a completely global market, you can trade 24 hours a day, five days a week. This provides you with ample opportunities for trading, but also creates the risk of the market moving while you aren’t around to monitor it. If you decide to trade forex, it is important to create a risk management strategy with appropriate stops and limits to protect your trades from unnecessary losses.

The best time of day to trade forex is when the market is the most active, which is usually when two sessions overlap, as there will be a higher number of buyers and sellers. For example, if you were interested in GBP/USD, London and New York trading hours overlap between 12pm to 4pm (London time). The increased liquidity will speed up transactions and even lower the cost of spreads.

Share trading is slightly different, as it is often limited to the opening hours of whichever exchange the shares are listed on. Increasingly extended hours are being offered to traders, which means you can act quickly on breaking news, even when the market is closed.

Find out more about trading stocks

Market influences

Another factor to consider before trading forex or shares is what moves market prices. Primarily, both markets are influenced by supply and demand, but there are a host of other factors that can move prices.

When share trading, you will need to focus on a few factors that directly impact your chosen company – including the company’s debt levels, cash flows and earnings – as well as economic data, news reports and sector health.

But with forex, the focus tends to be far wider, as a more complex range of factors can impact market pricing. You generally need to take the macroeconomics of the country into consideration – for example, unemployment, inflation and gross domestic product (GDP), as well as news and political events. And because you are buying one currency while selling another, you need to be aware of the performance of not just one economy, but two.

Why trade forex?

Liquidity

Liquidity is the ease at which an asset can be bought or sold in a market. It is an important consideration because the higher the volume of traders, the more money there is flowing through the market at any time – making it easier for you to find someone to take the other side of your position.

Forex is the largest and most popular financial market in the world, which means it is extremely liquid and frequently sees a daily turnover of trillions of dollars.

Market liquidity can fluctuate throughout the day as different sessions open and close around the world, but it also varies greatly depending on which FX pair you choose to trade. Just eight currency pairs account for the majority of trading volume – for example, the dollar is involved in almost 75% of all forex trades according to the Bank of International Settlements (2016).

The stock market sees comparatively fewer trades per day, but shares are still easy to access and trade. Large, popular stocks – such as Apple, Microsoft or Facebook – are the most liquid as there are usually willing buyers and sellers, but once you move away from blue chips there is often significantly less liquidity.

Volatility

Volatility is a measure of how likely it is that a market’s price will make major, unforeseen price fluctuations. A market with high volatility will see its prices change quickly, whereas markets with low volatility tend to have more gradual price changes.

The ease at which forex can be traded makes it extremely volatile. Though the market will usually trade within a small range, the vast number of trades taking place on the forex market can cause prices to change extremely quickly. When trading forex it is important to keep up to date with political, economic and social events, as the market is prone to sudden and drastic movements in response to these announcements.

The stock market tends to have more stable price patterns that you can track over time. But, like forex, it can see periods of volatility and is especially sensitive to domestic politics. For example, the Dow Jones fell sharply in March 2018 as American companies suffered from US President Donald Trump’s trade tensions with China.

Trading volatility can potentially provide a lot of opportunities for traders to profit, but it also comes with increased risk, making it important to take steps to prevent unnecessary loss.

Leverage

Trading on leverage enables you to gain exposure to markets with just a fraction of the capital normally required. Leveraged products, such as CFDs, can be used to trade on margin across a range of markets.

Though it can be an advantage of both share trading and forex trading alike, it is more commonly cited as a feature of currency trading. Forex trades usually have a much larger leverage ratio, in some countries as much as 200:1. But leverage is a double-edged sword: though it can magnify returns, it can also magnify losses.

Whichever market you choose, it is important to be aware of the size of your exposure, and understand the risks involved.

Read more about the impact of leverage on your trading

Going long or short

When deciding between forex and the stock market, it is important to identify all the opportunities available to you – notably, can you short sell? The ability to short a market opens you up to a whole new dimension of market movements, enabling you to speculate on both rising and falling markets.

As forex trading involves buying one currency and selling another, traders have always been able to access falling markets.

When investing in shares, you could traditionally only take a long position, as you’d be looking to profit from any future increase in the value of a company’s stock. But thanks to derivative products, such as CFDs, you can go long and short on company shares – giving you equal access to trading opportunities whatever the future direction of the market.

Find out how to short sell

Should you trade forex or stocks?

When it comes to deciding whether you should trade forex or stocks, there is no definitive answer because there are benefits and drawbacks to each market. Ultimately, your decision will come down to your personal preferences and attitude toward risk.

When making your decision, you need take into consideration your trading style and financial goals. If you are interested in a fast-paced environment, forex provides ample opportunities for short-term traders – such as day traders, scalp traders or swing traders. If you’re looking to take advantage of short to mid-term trends, or less volatility, the stock market could be for you.

By: Becca Cattlin | Financial writer, London

Source: Forex vs Stocks: Which Should You Trade? | IG EN

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Dow Plunged 1,000 Points This Week After Reddit Traders Stormed The Stock Market–What Happens Next?

Despite blowout corporate earnings and more solid news on the vaccine front, the stock market just posted its worst weekly performance in three months after Reddit traders squeezed Wall Street’s elite out of billions of dollars, sending prices of heavily shorted stocks up to atmospheric new highs and fueling concerns over market frothiness–but experts seem in broad agreement that the bull market can rage on. 

Key Facts

Investor sentiment took a massive hit over the “relentless option buying by retail investors taking advantage of a structural weakness in market,” Oanda Senior Market Analyst Edward Moya said Friday, noting that the Dow’s 1,000-point plunge this week was the index’s worst weekly loss since election uncertainty tanked sentiment in late October. 

“The market is not broken, but recent events have revealed some cracks,” says Commonwealth Financial Network Chief Investment Officer Brad McMillan, who thinks one likely result of the week’s frenzy could be that the price of options–which helped fuel some of the outsized meme-stock demand–rise to help curb “price hacking” in the future.

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McMillan eschews concerns from other experts that the Reddit-fueled price mania could be a sign the market is in the middle of a bubble akin to the dot-com era in the late 1990s, but he says “crackdown” by regulators is likely.

The big question surrounding the week’s short squeeze remains around how regulators–and prosecutors–will respond to the volatility, with lawmakers urging the SEC to act quickly on investigations into potential market manipulation by retail traders, brokerages and hedge funds alike. 

Like McMillan, LPL Financial Chief Market Strategist Ryan Detrick is also adamant that the week’s events are not indicative of a market bubble or impending correction, though he concedes recent events point to “excessive optimism in certain segments of the equity markets,” particularly in big-cap names losing capital from institutions covering shorts at sizable losses.

“Don’t forget, overall market breadth is extremely healthy, and the credit markets are functioning just fine—we don’t see a repeat of 1999 like some are claiming,” says Detrick.

Crucial Quote 

“The damage this week is real, but it is also part of the game: Hedge funds and banks routinely make mistakes and suffer for it, and traders losing money is not a sign that the system is broken,” says McMillan. “Another source of worry is that somehow markets have become less reliable because of the price surges–perhaps so, but the dot-com boom didn’t destroy the capital markets, and the distortions were much greater then than now.”

Surprising Fact

Meme stocks GameStop and AMC skyrocketed 400% and 275%, respectively, this week, while the Dow, S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq all fell about 3%.

What We Don’t Know

How long the retail trading frenzy may continue. Meme stocks largely surged Friday, and Erlam says “a solution for this entire market dislocation will take time, which suggests this insane trading will continue a little while longer.”

Key Background

The bull market rallied to new highs earlier this month in light of fiscal stimulus expectations, vaccine optimism and corporate earnings that keep surpassing expectations. Democrats this week have indicated they’ll move forward with stimulus even if they can’t muster up much Republican support, and–though disappointing–Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine candidate results mean another vaccine could reach the market soon, notes Vital Knowledge Media Founder Adam Crisafulli. Meanwhile, big firms like Apple, Microsoft and Tesla all smashed earnings expectations this week.

 

What To Watch For

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has asked the SEC to respond to a list of questions about its GameStop response by February 5. That includes details over whether Reddit traders, hedge funds and brokerages may have influenced the market. With regards to the Reddit crowd, veteran trader Richard Smith, who heads up the Foundation for the Study of Cycles, said Thursday they could “absolutely” be vulnerable to regulatory scrutiny from a pump-and-dump standpoint, but he says it could be years before the mechanisms behind their market influence are leveled. McMillan, meanwhile, says he sees evidence of the “pump,” but doesn’t believe they’re looking to sell anytime soon.

Further Reading

‘Bubble Fueled By Cynicism’: Meme Stocks Surge Again As Reddit Traders Pile Back In—But Dow Falls 300 Points (Forbes)

The Hedge Fund Genius Who Started GameStop’s 4,800% Rally Now Calls It “Unnatural, Insane, And Dangerous” (Forbes)

Robinhood Raises $1 Billion In Emergency Funds As Platform Struggles With Reddit-Fuelled Trading Surge (Forbes)

Not Just GameStop: Here Are The Meme Stocks WallStreetBets Traders Are Pumping Up During This ‘Extremely Erratic’ Reddit Rally (Forbes)

Warren Demands SEC Response To GameStop Frenzy After It Vows To Protect Retail Traders From ‘Abusive Or Manipulative’ Activity (Forbes) Follow me on Twitter. Send me a secure tip

Jonathan Ponciano

Jonathan Ponciano

I’m a reporter at Forbes focusing on markets and finance. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I double-majored in business journalism and economics while working for UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School as a marketing and communications assistant. Before Forbes, I spent a summer reporting on the L.A. private sector for Los Angeles Business Journal and wrote about publicly traded North Carolina companies for NC Business News Wire. Reach out at jponciano@forbes.com.

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Business News 2.8K subscribers Despite blowout corporate earnings and more solid news on the vaccine front, the stock market just posted its worst weekly performance in three months after Reddit traders squeezed Wall Street’s elite out of billions of dollars, sending prices of heavily shorted stocks up to atmospheric new highs and fueling concerns over market frothiness–but experts seem in broad agreement that the bull market can rage on.”The damage this week is real, but it is also part of the game: Hedge funds and banks routinely make mistakes and suffer for it, and traders losing money is not a sign that the system is broken,” says McMillan. “Another source of worry is that somehow markets have become less reliable because of the price surges–perhaps so, but the dot-com boom didn’t destroy the capital markets, and the distortions were much greater then than now.”

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The Stock Market Is In Free Fall On Coronavirus Fears. How Much Worse Will It Get?

Topline: The U.S. stock market has officially plunged into correction territory—at the fastest rate ever recorded, suffering its worst losses since the 2008 financial crisis this week amid ongoing panic over the spreading coronavirus and its impact on the global economy.

  • This week alone, the Dow Jones industrial average fell a total of 14%, the S&P 500 by 13% and the Nasdaq Composite by 12.3%.
  • The Dow plummeted nearly 1,200 points on Thursday—its biggest one-day drop ever, thanks to the coronavirus, which has now spread to at least 49 countries in a matter of weeks. Those losses continued on Friday, though the drop was somewhat less severe: The Dow fell 1.4%, while the S&P 500 sank 0.8%.
  • In a statement to reassure anxious investors, the Federal Reserve said on Friday that it was monitoring the “evolving risks to economic activity” posed by the coronavirus and further pledged to “act as appropriate” to keep the U.S. economy stable.
  • Some experts are skeptical any action from the central bank can stem market fallout from the coronavirus; Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic advisor for Allianz, told CNBC on Thursday that “markets will start freezing up even if the Fed cuts rates, which I think they will.”
  • National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow on Tuesday told CNBC that the virus is unlikely to become a full-fledged economic crisis, and described this week’s sell-off as a good buying opportunity. That same day, however, the CDC warned that the American public should brace for major disruptions from the coronavirus.
  • Among the stocks that have been hard hit this week are Apple (which is now flirting with bear market territory after falling 20% off its record highs) and American Airlines, which fell more than 25% this week.

Tangent: Hundreds of companies, from Apple and Nike to Starbucks and Microsoft, have issued warnings that the coronavirus will impact financial results for the first quarter and beyond. In a note on Wednesday, investment banking giant Goldman Sachs revised down its estimate for U.S. corporate earnings in 2020, forecasting 0% earnings growth for 2020 as a result of the outbreak.

Chief critic: “Markets are much too negative on the coronavirus. . . . The market was too expensive earlier in the year, but the coronavirus panic is overdone,” says Vital Knowledge founder Adam Crisfaulli. He points out that though the economic and corporate earnings fallout from the coronavirus will be severe, economic activity in China is normalizing, and that should help the bulk of the fallout remain confined to the first quarter.

Crucial quotes: “The global stock sell-off is showing no signs of slowing down,” says Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda. He predicts the major indexes could “easily” enter bear market territory, though “expectations are still pretty high that the market will eventually snap back.”

“It has been a brutal week,” says Mark Freeman, chief investment officer at Socorro Asset Management. He expects a further sell-off next week, as investors wait to see how the situation evolves and how the Fed will respond, but says that “it is too early for the Covid-19 crisis to have a material impact on [U.S. economic] data.”

“This week reminded many investors of 2008, which isn’t a happy memory,” says Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist for LPL Financial. “Nonetheless, remember that the overall economic backdrop is still healthy in the U.S., but when fear grips, that doesn’t matter.”

“The impact to the economy will be severe, but not enough to create a recession (e.g., two consecutive quarters of negative growth),” says Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer for Independent Advisor Alliance. “It is the uncertainty that is most difficult to price in, so people are selling in the advance of concrete information.”

Crucial statistic: The benchmark U.S. ten-year Treasury yield hit a new bottom on Friday, falling below 1.12%.

Key background: Stock market losses accelerated after the CDC confirmed the first case of “community transmission” of the coronavirus in Sacramento, California. Globally, more than 83,700 people have been infected as of Friday, with more than 2,800 dead. Earlier this week, Italy, South Korea and Iran emerged as new coronavirus hot spots outside of China, causing further concern that the outbreak will spread to other major economies. The World Health Organization said on Friday that the virus now poses a “very high” risk at a global level.

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I am a New York—based reporter for Forbes covering breaking news, with a focus on financial topics. Previously, I wrote about investing for Money Magazine and was an intern at Forbes in 2015 and 2016. I graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2018, majoring in International Relations and Modern History. Follow me on Twitter @skleb1234 or email me at sklebnikov@forbes.com

Source: The Stock Market Is In Free Fall On Coronavirus Fears. How Much Worse Will It Get?

Investors are on the retreat world-wide as fears of the coronavirus deepen. Supply chains are starting to falter and tourists are staying home. The virus is also sparking the sell-off of pandemic bonds. As the business community struggles to predict the coronavirus’ economic fallout, observers warn the virus could be the final blow that throws the world economy into recession. The Dow Jones had its worst one day point drop in history, tumbling almost 4 and a half percent. That sentiment spilled over to Asia with Tokyo’s Nikkei shedding 3 point 6 percent today. And Hong Kong’s Hang Seng also closed down 2 point 4 percent. Subscribe: https://www.youtube.com/user/deutsche… For more news go to: http://www.dw.com/en/ Follow DW on social media: ►Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/deutschewell… ►Twitter: https://twitter.com/dwnews ►Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dw_stories/ Für Videos in deutscher Sprache besuchen Sie: https://www.youtube.com/channel/deuts… #Coronavirus #dwNews

Morgan Stanley’s Record Results Boosted By Massive Private Equity Coup In China

Morgan Stanley sign in New York

With Trump’s Phase 1 trade deal with China now complete after a lengthy signing ceremony on Wednesday cheered on by Wall Street luminaries such as Blackstone cofounder Stephen Schwarzman, hedge funders Ken Griffin and Nelson Peltz, and Mary Callahan Erdoes of JPMorgan, investors now have a new reason to try and play growth in the country. Record earnings released by investment bank Morgan Stanley the morning after trade negotiations wrapped up reveal the profits that can be made by smartly investing in the world’s second-largest economy.

Morgan Stanley’s fourth-quarter earnings revealed strength across the firm. Revenues surged 27%, propelled by growth across important divisions such as trading, underwriting and wealth management. Overall, Morgan Stanley posted $10.8 billion in revenues for the quarter and $2.2 billion in profits, and for the full year, the investment bank generated a record $41.4 billion in revenue and a $9 billion profit, underscoring the success CEO James Gorman has had in managing its vaunted investment bank, building up its wealth management operations and refitting its trading desks to boost profits.

One line item in the results, however, uncovered a new story for Wall Street watchers to follow. Morgan Stanley’s investment management division booked an almost unprecedented investment windfall in Asia, which reflects the potential China and the rest of the region holds to both the firm and its Wall Street peers in banking and private equity.

Related image

In 2013, Morgan Stanley’s Asian private equity division helped take Chinese baby-milk producer Feihe International private, working with the company’s controlling family, led by CEO Leng Youbin. The company, founded in 1962, had listed American Depositary receipt shares on the New York Stock Exchange in 2008. After generally languishing in the wake of the listing, shareholders like Youbin and his family trusts looked to privatize the business, working Morgan Stanley’s Asian private equity arm on a $147 million deal to buy out the public shares listed on the NYSE. Morgan Stanley contributed $28.1 million of equity on behalf of its limited partners, Feihe’s CEO ponied up a further $8 million, and the consortium raised $50 million in debt financing from Wing Lung Bank Limited and Cathay United Bank to get the deal done.

This past fall, they re-listed Feihe, now the leading baby-milk seller in China, by selling 893 million shares in Hong Kong and raising about $900 million to pay down debt and make acquisitions. Since the listing, China Feihe’s shares have skyrocketed from about HK$7.5 to KK$10.98, per Sentieo data, as investors gained interest in its 15% market baby formula share and revenues and profits of $1.5 billion and $317 million, respectively.

For the participants, the 2013 deal has turned into one of the big windfalls of this era. The Leng family’s shares are now worth $5.2 billion according to Forbes calculations and Morgan Stanley’s shares are worth some $2.3 billion. When Morgan Stanley released full-year earnings, the deal even moved the needle for the 60,000 worker investment bank.

The firm’s investment management division saw revenues more than double to $1.4 billion, led by $670 million in quarterly investment revenue versus $82 million in the year prior. Of the windfall, Morgan Stanley said its investment revenues “increased from a year ago on accrued carried interest related to an underlying investment’s initial public offering, subject to sales restrictions, within an Asia private equity fund managed on behalf of clients.” The carry and gains appear have boosted the firm’s overall earnings by at least 15% for the quarter. Typically half of private equity investment fee revenue will go back to employees in the form of earned carried interest.

On a conference call with analysts, CFO Jonathan Pruzan elaborated about China Feihe, “The company has been quite successful and grown quite nicely. … To give you some sort of context around the round numbers, the investment that we made was less than $50 million, and the current investment value is approximately $2 billion.” (Morgan Stanley declined to comment further.)

China is the preeminent driver of wealth in the world. When Forbes released its 2019 list of China’s wealthiest people, reporters uncovered 60 new billionaires in the country, many of whom are building businesses domestically that may one day resemble companies like Procter & Gamble, Starbucks, Pfizer and Nike. Wall Street has to pay attention, especially with domestic markets richly valued after a decade-long bull run.

For years, dealmakers like Blackstone’s Schwarzman, JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon and Blackrock’s Larry Fink have been studying ways to build their presence in the region and either bank, partner or invest on behalf of the country’s growing business elite. While groundwork is mostly still just being laid, deals like Morgan Stanley’s recent coup underscore the potential remaining in China.

The Phase 1 trade deal signed on Wednesday signaled China’s intention to continue opening its financial system to foreign banks and investors. Vice premier Liu He, carrying a note from premier Xi Jinping, said at the Phase 1 signing China is transitioning from a high-growth economy to one more focused on quality increases. Presumably, that pertains to consumption, financial products and markets, and the capitalization of corporation. Some new developments reached in the deal appeared to make headway for U.S. firms excited about this potential.

The deal further opened Chinese markets to U.S. credit rating agencies, distressed debt investors and foreign financial firms seeking to fully own and manage subsidiaries in the region. Bankers have long wanted to own subsidiaries in the region and mostly unwound joint ventures that helped build China’s state-owned banking giants like ICBC.

In fact, a good way to gauge whether the Phase 1 trade agreement did in fact make substantial inroads, will be to watch how the largest U.S. financial firms respond. New action from the likes of JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon and Blackstone’s Schwarzman would signal the effectiveness of Wednesday’s deal.

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I’m a staff writer at Forbes, where I cover finance and investing. My beat includes hedge funds, private equity, fintech, mutual funds, M&A and banks. I’m a graduate of Middlebury College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and I’ve worked at TheStreet and Businessweek. Before becoming a financial scribe, I was a part of the fateful 2008 analyst class at Lehman Brothers. Email thoughts and tips to agara@forbes.com. Follow me on Twitter at @antoinegara

Source: Morgan Stanley’s Record Results Boosted By Massive Private Equity Coup In China

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20 Great Stock Ideas For 2020, From The Best Fund Managers

The stock market went on a tear in 2019. Major indexes hit numerous record highs in the second half of the year with the S&P 500 rising more than 29%. This puts it on track to be the best yearly return since at least 2013.

As stocks continued to rise, Wall Street put recession fears on the back burner: The market has been boosted by the fact that the U.S. economy’s moderate expansions holds steady. Solid consumer spending, a robust labor market and now an apparent recovery in the housing market have all allayed investor fears. There has been renewed trade optimism on Wall Street as well, thanks to the signing of several new trade agreements—a revised North American trade agreement and the long-awaited phase one trade deal with China—in the closing months of 2019. Going into 2020, the market is optimistic that economic growth can continue, especially with diminishing tariff pressures and a Federal Reserve on hold.

We queried Morningstar to identify some of the best performing fund managers, all of whom beat their benchmarks both in 2019 as well as on a longer-term basis over either a three-year, five-year or ten-year period. Below are the portfolio managers and their best ideas for the coming year.

Chris Retzler

Needham Small-Cap Growth Fund: A blend of growth and value small companies.

YTD: 53.5%, 5-year average annual return: 14.7%

Saxonburg, Pennsylvania-based II-VI is a global manufacturer of high-performance, high-tech specialty materials that go into a whole host of different industries and end markets, from consumer and communications to aerospace and defense. “It’s a broad economic play to the end markets that utilize their technologies,”  says Retzler, who highlights the “stellar management team” and its recent acquisition of optical communications manufacturer, Finisar.

While topline growth has been in the double-digits, that will accelerate thanks to cost savings and revenue synergies from integrating Finisar. While $1.4 billion revenue II-VI has exposure to trade relations with China, which weighed on the stock’s performance in the last few years, a thawing in those relations will brighten its outlook. Retzler expects growth to generate free cash that will ultimately “provide the opportunity to de-lever the balance sheet.”

Navigator Holdings (NVGS)

Reitzler calls $303 million (revenues) Navigator Holdings, an energy shipping business that delivers liquid propane gas (LPG), “a play on resurgence in global economic growth.” He expects it to be a beneficiary of thawing trade tensions and subsequent increased commodity sales: “If you see a recovery in emerging markets, which we think will begin to happen globally, LPG is key to energy usage in a great part of the world.” While Navigator Holdings has been under pressure for the last four years, investments the company has made in infrastructure and partnerships should begin to payout, Reitzler predicts, adding that the company has also expanded to new terminals that will allow it to export more products globally. Another catalyst is the “continued production of sizable energy byproducts within the U.S. that will need to be delivered to global markets.” As a heavy shipping company, there is debt on the business—but it’s manageable, says Reitzler.

Neal Rosenberg

Baron Growth Fund: Small-cap U.S. growth companies

YTD: 40.7%, 3-year average annual return: 19.8%

 

Vail Resorts (MTN)

This operator of  world-class mountain and ski resorts is divided into separate divisions for its resorts, hospitality and real estate. The company has seen continued growth in full season pass sales as well as early benefits from its mid-2019 acquisition of Peak Resorts, which helped integrate millions more people into its network. Rosenberg expects good earnings growth with robust free cash flow going forward. This could lead to opportunistic mergers, debt reduction and dividend growth. Vail, which had $2 billion in revenues in fiscal 2019, is very digitally focused and is increasing the number of skiers on season or day passes, using more data to do enhanced targeted marketing and increasing the skier experience to enable continued same store pricing increases.

CoStar Group (CSGP)

CoStar, is a $1.2 billion (revenues) provider of info analytics and online marketing services for commercial and multifamily real estate offices. Rosenberg expects organic revenue growth to accelerate toward 20% in 2020 and beyond, as the company continues to significantly expand its salesforce and enter new markets—selling to owners and investors rather than just brokers and property managers. Growth will also come from its Apartments.com division, which matches renters with landlords.  CoStar is also expanding internationally, moving beyond the U.S. and Canada to places like Western Europe. The company also has a pristine balance sheet and a huge amount of free cash flow.

Jeffrey James

Driehaus Small-Cap Growth Fund: Fast-growing small companies.

YTD: 40.4%, Average annual return since inception (2017): 26%

Everbridge (EVBG)

This cloud software company works with corporations, governments and their agencies to provide tools for mass notifications and population alerts. Its software helps alert employees or citizens of whatever is happening—from natural disasters to cyberattacks. According to James the $147 million (revs) company, which has yet to turn a profit, is growing at 30% per year, and is increasingly winning contracts with big companies and the Federal government. “It’s the next generation amber alert,” he describes. While Amber alerts, for example, are a homegrown custom government solution, Everbridge is far more sophisticated in its software, James says, since they are able to use various technologies—like location services—to notify people in a specific geographic area. He also highlights that the European Union’s mandate to select a mass notification system for all their member countries—where several have picked Everbridge thus far.

MyoKardia (MYOK)

This $3.5 billion market cap clinical-stage biotech company focuses on precision medicine targeting genetic cardiovascular disease—the number one cause of death in the world. “Virtually all drugs that treat this do so indirectly by lowering cholesterol or treating symptoms,” James describes, “but MyoKardia is one of the first to target the source of the disease—the underlying genetic defects of the cardiac function.” One disease it’s targeting, for instance, is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (widening of heart valves). Going into next year, James highlights a phase three study that is expected to read out well, as the previous phases have. “For a biotech company of this size and this pipeline, its balance sheet is quite strong,” he says (Myokardia has no revenues or profits yet). “That should be sufficient for the company to fund studies and develop its pipeline for the foreseeable future.”

Joe Dennison 

Zevenbergen Growth Fund: Large-cap consumer and tech companies.

YTD return: 38.4%, 3-year average annual return: 24.3%

Exact Sciences (EXAS)

Madison, Wisconsin’s Exact Science’s core product, Cologuard, has seen “strong organic growth” thanks to an 80% increase in revenue this year—and is expected to hit that again next year, according to Dennison. Cologuard allows for at-home stool screening as an alternative to getting a colonoscopy. Company’s partnership with Pfizer—a co-promotional sales agreement—has been beneficial, since it helps give Exact Sciences access to the pharma giant’s salespeople, marketing expertise and relationships. Exact Sciences has continued to grow its network of doctors, adding new primary care and GI specialists. Dennison says there’s much to look forward to next year: The company plans to test Cologuard 2.0—a more accurate and economical version of its signature product—and is reportedly planning on coming out with a diagnostic for liver cancer. “It’s making the right investments to drive growth for the next decade,” says Dennison. “The competitive chatter has been misunderstood and weighed on the stock, but we think that could clear up.”

Wayfair (W)

A market leader in online home furnishings, Wayfair has been popular among young consumers as they move out and buy homes. He emphasizes that the company has revenue growth in the mid-20% range, though losses are higher since its still in investment mode—but profitability is expected in the next five years.

Wayfair is further boosted by international investments, primarily in Western Europe, “where they’re following the same playbook that’s been successful domestically,” according to Dennison. Competition comes from brick-and-mortar players and larger players like Amazon, he says.

Stephen DeNichilo

Federated Kaufmann Large Cap Fund: Large-cap growth companies.

YTD: 37.7%, 10-year average annual return: 14.9%

Vulcan Materials (VMC)

DeNichilo likes this $4.8 billion (revenues) materials company, the largest producer of construction aggregates in the U.S., because it is entering “an exciting period of both increasing volume and pricing.” The business is growing thanks to a strong focus on infrastructure spending at the state level—driven by increased gas taxes, says DeNichilo. What’s more, “solid federal support” for infrastructure on both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill will be an added boost going into next year.

Ingersoll-Rand (IR)

This 149-year old company is a leading producer of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment globally. It will spin off its more cyclical compressor business to Gardner Denver in the first quarter of 2020. That would leave $16 billion (revenues) Ingersoll-Rand as a “pure play HVAC company,” not to mention one with high market share, powerful recurring revenue—from installing, replacing and servicing parts, strong pricing power and “a balance sheet prepared to participate in further HVAC industry consolidation.”

Kimberly Scott

Ivy Mid-Cap Growth Fund: Fast-growing mid-cap companies.

YTD return: 37.6%, 3-year average annual return: 20.1%

National Vision Holdings (EYE)

This $1.7 billion (sales) optical retailer sells eyeglasses, contact lenses and other products, as well as offering comprehensive eye exams. The company has seen continued growth as it serves an important medical need at good value, according to Scott. “It’s a compelling story in that it has a unique position as a growth retailer outside of e-commerce,” she points out. As the company brings in more customers and gains market share, comparable store sales have increased.

Overall revenue is growing by just over 10%, and the company continues to deleverage, Scott says. While risks include tariff headwinds and concerns that Walmart may not renew a strategic partnership to operate its Vision Centers, she believes that these are priced into the stock. The company is also starting to leverage its new investments in areas like cybersecurity and lab research for making new eyewear.

CoStar Group (CSGP)

A leading provider of commercial real estate data and marketplace listing services, Washington, D.C.-based CoStar has “high-caliber growth and great cash flow,” according to Scott. She highlights the company’s founder-led management team and pristine balance sheet—with no debt. CoStar’s revenue has been growing at a 20% clip and Scott expects continued innovation in new areas including a recent acquisition of Smith Travel Research, which will allow CoStar to begin expanding into data and analytics for the hospitality sector. The market usually backs off from the stock when the company announces new investment cycles, as it just has, she points out, but while this hurts near-term margins it actually sets CoStar up for its next phase of growth. The company’s expectation is that the business will have $3 billion in revenue by the end of 2023.

Scott Klimo

Amana Growth Fund: Low-debt, high-growth large companies; Run according to Islamic principles.

YTD: 31.7%, 3-year average annual return: 19.9%

Sextant Growth Fund: Low-turnover portfolio of large growth companies.

YTD: 35.3%, 3-year average annual return: 17.9%

Lowe’s Companies (LOW)

Klimo calls Lowe’s “a compelling self-help story” that will benefit from a strong housing market next year, supported by low interest rates. Lowe’s new CEO Marvin Ellison has improved operating efficiencies and Klimo highlights new investments in tech, like migrating systems to the cloud and improving online experience, as another boost for the company. What’s more, while “nothing is bulletproof,” and recession and housing market risks are somewhat mitigated by the cost cutting and other internal improvements, which should protect margins,” according to Klimo.

Ally Financial (ALLY)

Financial service firm Ally dabbles in everything from car loans and online banking to mortgages and loans. It is a leader in auto lending, particularly in used car financing: “An area that takes some skill.” Klimo points out that “even if you think about potential disruptions like new car prices increasing, the secondhand market is still attractive.” Ally has good prospects for growth, he says, with the general consensus for the economy looking pretty good and the housing market expected to be solid. The stock has a low PE of under 8 time trailing 12 month earnings,  a 2.2% dividend yield and earnings are growing at 10% annually. Says Klimo, “What’s really remarkable is the valuation that its trading at, despite the fact that the stock is up 37% this year.”

Tom Slater

Baillie Gifford U.S. Equity Growth Fund: Concentrated portfolio of growth companies.

YTD Return: 29.4%, Average annual return since inception (2017): 20.7%

 

Yext (YEXT)

New York City’s Yext is a small-cap technology company that allows businesses to use its cloud-based network of search engines, maps and other software to boost awareness and build their brand. As more companies integrate digital components into their business strategies, Yext gives them the tools to do so, as well as share information with publishers in a way that becomes accessible to end users. Yext Answers, which is aimed at streamlining consumer questions about different companies or products.

“While Yext is still a loss making business—and path to profitability has become the buzzword in the aftermath of WeWork—we’re happy to tolerate that if we can see the trajectory of growth going forward,” according to Slater. “We see them having a really big addressable market in the long term.”

MarketAxess (MKTX)

This fintech company operates an electronic trading platform for institutional credit markets, bringing digital tools to bond trading. “What’s interesting here is that we’ve seen equity markets move to digital trading, but that’s been a much harder problem to solve for bonds—as they’re generally much less liquid,” Slater points out. Digitizing these markets is a big win for asset owners because it takes out the cost aspect of intermediation that’s associated with traditional bond trading. MarketAxess has topline growth of at least 15% going into next year, accompanied by very high margins of around 50%, both of which are likely to grow in the future, Slater forecasts.

Chase Sheridan and Greg Steinmetz

Sequoia Fund: Run by RCG investment committee since 2016; Focus on undervalued companies.

YTD return: 29.3%, 10-year average annual return: 11.5%

Credit Acceptance (CACC)

Credit Acceptance Corp. is a subprime auto loan lender that the Sequoia fund likes to think of as “the best house in a tough neighborhood.” The company is countercyclical, as it doubled its profits during the financial crisis according to Sheridan and Steinmetz. They emphasize that Credit Acceptance doesn’t face the same set of risks as a typical subprime lender, thanks to a “portfolio program” with its dealers where it shares both the costs and payouts of loan underwriting. That means that in a downturn, Credit Acceptance will suffer less than its peers, and it can use those periods of stress to gain more market share. The company has been growing—earnings were up 22% in 2019—and it has room to continue to do so without M&A. While some bad actors in the car loan industry prey on the working poor, “Credit Acceptance Corp plays by the rules and plays fairly,” Sheridan and Steinmetz describe. “They have excellent computer systems that keep their collection agents within the bounds of what the government allows them to do.”

Alphabet (GOOGL)

“Sometimes a good idea is right in front of your nose,” says Sheridan and Steinmetz. “Alphabet’s balance sheet ( with $130 billion in cash) is like Fort Knox, and the resilience and quality of the business is extraordinary.”The company has averaged near 20% growth, and its “search revenue is driven by mobile and Youtube in terms of its fastest growing segments.” With $25 billion spent on research and development per year—second in the world behind Amazon—”that’s basically Dell Labs and Xerox Park on steroids,” according to Sheridan and Steinmetz. “Google’s competitive strengths are nearly insurmountable in its core business of advertising,” they point out. The tech giant also has ambitions to move up the ladder in the burgeoning business of cloud computing, where it currently ranks behind Amazon and Microsoft.

Chris Mack

Harding Loevner Global Equity Fund: High-quality growth companies.

YTD: 28.5%, 5-year average annual return: 10.2%

PayPal (PYPL)

PayPal is a “household name,” but the general opportunity here is the “under penetration of digital transformation in financial services,” according to Mack. It’s a “long tail opportunity,” especially given that some 85% of the world’s transactions are still settled in cash. What’s different, he points out, is that PayPal is crucially partnering with more financial institutions and increasing its number of merchant accounts.

Partnerships with Bank of America and HSBC, for example, have started to pay off as they make PayPal an option in their digital wallet offerings. Mack emphasizes that PayPal’s large user base and the scale of transactions its processes, which are both growing near 20%, is another positive. While the company is up against some other big tech players, like Apple, “there’s room for more than one winner here,” Mack says.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX)

Vertex is a $56 billion market cap biotech company focused on drugs to treat cystic fibrosis. Mack sees it as an overlooked growth opportunity, “it’s overlooked because of its small addressable population—of 100,000 our so globally—in the scheme of things.” But when thinking about pharmaceuticals and drug pricing, “this is a company that is delivering value,” he says. It has taken an existing set of approved drugs on the market and added a new one: While they can reach about 56% of existing cystic fibrosis, Vertex’s new “triple combination” drug combination to treat the disease will see that number rise to around 90%, according to Mack. Although the drug is expensive and patients are on them for life, a rising life expectancy and number of treatable cases bode well for Vertex. The company is profitable, with good margins and is growing by over 25%.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Send me a secure tip.

I am a New York—based reporter for Forbes, covering breaking news—with a focus on financial topics. Previously, I’ve reported at Money Magazine, The Villager NYC, and The East Hampton Star. I graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2018, majoring in International Relations and Modern History. Follow me on Twitter @skleb1234 or email me at sklebnikov@forbes.com

Source: 20 Great Stock Ideas For 2020, From The Best Fund Managers

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