The meaning of "stay-at-home stocks" has changed radically because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A year ago, the phrase might have referred to businesses that would help you through a staycation or a slow weekend. In June 2020, the term revolves around remote work or avoiding people.
But change uncovers opportunity, and nowhere is that more true than in the stock market. Recent events have boosted certain stocks for varying reasons, and some will build on those gains going forward. Let's examine three companies to watch this month that fit the bill: Wayfair (W 0.53%), Netflix (NFLX 0.13%), and DraftKings (DKNG 5.00%).
Consumers have gotten comfortable on Wayfair's sofas
Wayfair grew revenue 19.8% in the first quarter, reflecting consumers' urge to spruce up the house while they are required to stay indoors. But that was just the beginning -- for the first five weeks of the second quarter, revenue was trending up 90% year over year. Even as brick-and-mortar stores reopen, increasing competition, management believes the pandemic has given Wayfair increased visibility with customers that will likely be permanent.
CFO Michael Fleisher said on the quarterly earnings call, "Last 12 months active customers surpassed 21 million this quarter, a 29% increase year-over-year, with the share of orders from repeat customers now nearly 70% of the total mix." He added, "New customer behavior and their direct feedback suggests that these customers' experience with Wayfair is leaving them very satisfied and motivated to shop again in both extraordinary times when they are quarantined and down the road when we will all be less restricted."
Wayfair's stock has more than doubled year to date. After closing at $23.52 on March 19, it has rallied more than 700% to more than $200 as of Thursday morning. Investors should monitor Wayfair through June, as this month begins a pivotal period for the company. The pandemic delivered an unexpected opportunity for the company to grow its customer base, but it can't rest on its laurels. Wayfair needs to retain that growth and leverage it into consistent profit before I think share price will show significant growth.
No worries for Netflix
Shares of streaming giant Netflix struggled for much of 2019 due to widespread concern about competition. But the company is demonstrating resilience in 2020, even as rivals introduce competing streaming services. Netflix shares are up more than 37% this year as of Thursday morning.
Netflix reported incredible subscriber gains during the first quarter, helped by the imposition of stay-at-home orders. Globally, Netflix added 15.8 million net subscribers during the period -- more than double the company's pre-pandemic forecast of 7 million.
Part of this impressive growth can be attributed to more people watching television during the pandemic, but Netflix's original content also keeps viewers coming back. Netflix's strong run of successful TV shows started with House of Cards in 2013 and has grown rapidly since. If you didn't see Orange Is the New Black, The Crown, or Tiger King, you might have felt left out of the conversation.
International growth is a big part of the story, too. A recent survey of 1,500 Mexican residents showed that 76% of respondents watch Netflix, compared to 73% for YouTube and 43% for Amazon Prime. The majority -- 87% -- said they are highly satisfied with Netflix. And Netflix original content accounted for the top five most-watched shows there, with four of those being local-language originals. "So far, all international markets have consistently shown higher satisfaction scores than the U.S., which has major implications," said RBC analyst Mark Mahaney. He estimates that about 130 new original Netflix programs in 18 languages are scheduled for release internationally, three times the number from Amazon.
The way forward for Netflix is not entirely clear. Subscriber growth rates remain a question after a blowout quarter, and international growth needs to prove itself. The stock is near all-time highs and might pull back a bit, as subscriber growth this quarter might be tempered by people heading back to work. But investors should still keep Netflix on their radar, as the company's international growth opportunities may provide the next leg up.
No U.S. sports, no problem for DraftKings
DraftKings, the e-sports betting company, has surged almost 140% since it formally went public in late April through a merger with Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp. This performance was especially remarkable because all major U.S. sports are on hold.
The timing couldn't have been better, as stay-at-home orders found many people looking to apps like DraftKings for entertainment. DraftKings is live and online in seven states, including New Jersey and Pennsylvania, with plans to launch in another seven states that have legalized online sports betting. Investors expect that more revenue-hungry states will legalize mobile sports betting, so this tech-centered company has the potential to scale up quickly. The company has an asset-light online focus, and it's appealing to younger bettors who enjoy wagering on their phones, minimizing DraftKings' need for expensive casino presences.
I think DraftKings stock will be lucrative as live sporting events start back up and cash-strapped states ease betting restrictions. In the meantime, it's able to be patient. DraftKings has no debt and more than $450 million on its balance sheet, although it is burning up to $20 million a month with major sports on hold.
DraftKings customers have been actively betting during the pandemic on fantasy sports, created content, and e-sports, according to Jason Robins, DraftKings' co-founder and CEO. In a May 29 CNBC interview, Robins said he expects that pent-up demand and the reopening of major sports will deliver a bright future for the company.
Should you buy one of these stocks in June?
All three of these picks have had great runs and may be due for a breather as we await the next chapter in the pandemic.
But if you're a speculative investor and can tolerate risk, I think DraftKings offers the most upside going forward. Share gains so far are impressive, but with the return of major sports and the likelihood of more states approving mobile sports betting, catalysts are in place for more growth no matter what happens with COVID-19.