4 Dynamic Investments to Watch in 2014

Four companies are ready to change how shareholders think of them.

Mar 18, 2014 at 9:56PM

Growth, changes, and development are what drive companies to produce greater profits and reward their shareholders. Finding the best opportunities often starts with identifying companies that fit this model. To provide a starting point for investors, I'll look at four companies that could progress greatly toward rewarding shareholders throughout the next year.

Algae oil
Investors have been afraid to invest in biofuel companies as so many companies have struggled to produce returns for investors. But Solazyme (NASDAQ:SZYM) is taking a different approach to the development of biofuel and stands to take this even further through the rest of the year.

Unlike so many other struggling biofuel manufacturers, Solazyme is eying biofuel but has kept it as a long-term goal rather than an immediate source of revenue. Instead, Solazyme has been focusing on the specialty chemical market and the manufacturing of substitute food oils.

This has a few key advantages over the straight-to-biofuel approach. These specialty oils and chemicals are higher-margin than biofuel, giving Solazyme the ability to make decent profits without having to build out massive volume. The company also doesn't have to overcome the infrastruture issues related to biofuels, since substitutes for food oils don't require new fueling stations for yet-to-be-designed vehicles.

Solazyme is building itself out as a company that can tailor its algae oils to suit the needs of its buyers. Throughout 2014, investors should watch for the company's production facility expansion. In January, Solazyme announced the beginning of production at two of its Iowa facilities, which are expected to "ramp to a nameplate capacity of 20,000 MT/yr within 12-18 months, with targeted potential expansion to 100,000 MT/yr in subsequent years."

Next on the agenda for Solazyme is the opening of its Moema facility in Brazil, where the company expects to further increase capacity by the end of the year. As Solazyme moves toward commercialization of its algae oils, the company is edging out of the biofuel valley of death and into the relative stability of tailored oils. While Solazyme is still expected to be posting negative numbers for the near term, an analyst from Raymond James believes the company could be cash flow-positive by 2015.

Electrifying opportunity
The debate over the valuation of Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) is sure to continue, but no matter which side you're on, the Silicon Valley automaker is definitely worth watching in 2014. The company is currently evaluating locations for its "gigafactory," where it will produce the batteries necessary to power its mass production vehicles. Tesla appears to be shopping the factory around to see which location can provide the best mix of incentives and benefits.

Also on tap for 2014 is the expansion of Tesla into the Chinese market. As the company expands from being a niche electric-auto maker, a worldwide presence is important and is leading the opening of new Tesla stores worldwide.

This could also shape up to be a year of legal battles for Tesla, as various states try to block or shut down Tesla's stores under dealer franchise laws. Despite public opinion that's strongly opposed to these laws, this will be a major challenges for Tesla as auto dealer associations continue to pressure state governments.

The ultimate lawsuit investment
You wouldn't know it from looking at their stock prices or market caps, but Fannie Mae (NASDAQOTCBB:FNMA) and Freddie Mac (NASDAQOTCBB:FMCC) are extremely profitable. Each government-sponsored enterprise has earned record profits over the past year leading to the full repayment of the original investment by the U.S. government.

But things aren't that simple for Fannie and Freddie investors. A 2012 amendment to the agreement between the Treasury and the conservator has redirected all of the GSEs' profits to the Treasury while not counting them toward reducing the senior preferred stock owned by the Treasury.

If this amendment were declared illegal, Fannie and Freddie shares would have significant value to them and plenty of parties have filed lawsuits against the government over the handling of the amendment. If the plaintiffs win, Fannie and Freddie shares could rise 10 to 15 times according to both my analysis and that of Bill Ackman, manager of Pershing Square which has taken stakes in the common stock of both GSEs. If the plaintiffs lose, it would be difficult to see how the GSE common shares would have any value. So if you're going to follow one series of lawsuits in 2014, make it this one.

Lots of choices
I want to make one thing very clear: I do not intend for this to be a complete list of dynamic opportunities for 2014, rather, I wanted to point out a few of my personal favorites. Between Solazyme, Tesla Motors, and the GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, opportunities to profit from growth, expansion, and structural change exist all over the markets.

One life-changing company for 2014
Every investor wants to get in on revolutionary ideas before they hit it big -- like buying PC maker Dell in the late 1980s, before the consumer computing boom, or purchasing stock in e-commerce pioneer Amazon.com in the late 1990s, when it was nothing more than an upstart online bookstore. The problem is, most investors don't understand the key to investing in hypergrowth markets. The real trick is to find a small-cap "pure play" and then watch as it grows in explosive fashion within its industry. Our expert team of equity analysts has identified one stock that's poised to produce rocket-ship returns with the next $14.4 trillion industry. Click here to get the full story in this eye-opening report.

Alexander MacLennan owns shares of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Solazyme and Tesla Motors and has options on Solazyme. The Motley Fool recommends Amazon.com and Tesla Motors and owns shares of Amazon.com, Solazyme, and Tesla Motors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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