You know the old saw: "Buy when there's blood in the streets." The broader market has pulled off a strong rebound from the coronavirus panic in March and April, but there's still plenty of figurative blood left to clean up from Wall Street's pavement.
Whether you're looking for fallen giants or underestimated growth rockets, you'll find some tempting ideas among the most popular Robinhood tickers.
The House of Mouse
Walt Disney (DIS 0.28%) was riding high when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. The just-launched streaming service, Disney+, gathered 10 million subscribers in its first week and 54 million accounts in less than six months. The Marvel, Pixar, and Lucasfilm studios under Disney's wing were on their usual roll, delivering blockbusters and planning another slate of huge releases in 2020. Attendance was booming at Disneyland and the Shanghai Disney Resort, with an eye toward impressive foot traffic to Disney World's new Star Wars-themed attractions.
The coronavirus took all the wind out of Disney's billowing sails, closing down theme parks and movie theaters and leaving the ESPN sports channel without any live sporting events to broadcast. Third quarter sales are expected to fall 38% year over year, and analysts expect Disney to post negative earnings for the first time since 2001.
Lots of people are still buying Disney stock despite these heavy headwinds. More than 612,500 Robinhood users currently own the stock, making Disney the fourth most popular stock on that trading service. The stock is trading 20% lower year to date. Less than 2% of Disney's stock is currently sold short, which means that very few investors expect the price to fall much further from this point.
This summer's reopening ideas are not likely to kick-start Disney's stalled operations and flagging stock chart. But the company is equipped to weather even a very long coronavirus storm. Disney had $14.4 billion of cash equivalents and $12 billion of undrawn credit facilities at the end of March. It would take years to burn through that massive stockpile of cash reserves, and it's not as if Disney is sitting on its hands. Disney+ will have to do some heavy lifting for the company in 2020, for example.
And in the long run, we're talking about a company with unmatched brand power and customer loyalty. The gravy train will absolutely start rolling again, and I don't even mind if it takes a while. That just gives us Disney shareholders more time to pick up shares on the cheap.
The COVID-19 crisis will look like a speed bump in Disney's rearview mirror five or 10 years from now. Yes, times are tough now, but Disney is nearly guaranteed to survive and thrive in the long run. Serious investors want to buy low, hold on for many years, and sell high. Disney is making it easy to do exactly that right now.
Still connecting people
Nokia (NOK 1.17%) isn't the leading maker of indestructible cell phones anymore. These days, the company offers a limited line of perfectly fine Android handsets, but that's just a side gig. The Finns doubled down on telecom infrastructure equipment and services instead.
The company is a leading maker of 4G and 5G wireless base stations and supporting systems. This market has boiled down to just a handful of serious suppliers over the years, where Nokia largely competes with Swedish rival Ericsson (ERIC 1.92%) and Chinese peer Huawei for every new contract. You might recall names like Siemens and Alcatel-Lucent from earlier versions of the wireless equipment wars, but Nokia bought both of them.
Nokia and Ericsson can expand their market positions even further, because Huawei has been blocked from doing business in the U.S. and the U.K., with other European countries considering similar bans. The Chinese government could retaliate by excluding the Scandinavian telco equipment giants from building networks in China, but the rest of the world is a much larger market than the single biggest country.
Nokia is poised to perform over the next few years due to global interest in 5G networks. Robinhood investors are buying into this promising growth strategy en masse.
Nearly 130,000 Robinhood users own Nokia today, giving the company a spot among the platform's 100 most popular holdings. Nokia's shares have gained 17% in 2020 but dropped 32% lower over the last three years. Only 0.7% of its shares are sold short, which amounts to a strong vote of confidence in Nokia's business prospects.
Let's work together
Cloud-based collaboration tools are hot commodities right now, and Slack Technologies (WORK) should be soaring like videoconferencing expert Zoom Video Communication (ZM 0.60%) or digital voice service technologist Twilio (TWLO 0.29%). But that's not happening at all.
Slack has gained just 28% in 2020, but the stock still trades 13% lower from a 52-week perspective. Meanwhile, similar stocks such as Zoom and Twilio have been crushing it:
I get it. Investors worry that mighty Microsoft (MSFT 0.10%) is shouldering into Slack's target market with the comparable Microsoft Teams solution.
That's not necessarily a bad thing, though. Repetition legitimizes. Repetition legitimizes. Repetition legitimizes.
When Microsoft throws its considerable weight into the remote collaboration market, it allows IT managers who had been skeptical of this idea to take it seriously. The market is large enough to support several competing suppliers, and Microsoft might even throw in the towel and just buy Slack at a juicy premium if the Microsoft Teams product fails to meet management's expectations. So you get a strong standalone investment or a quick buyout premium. Either way, Slack investors win.
Slack's business is indeed booming thanks to the COVID-19 lockdown policies of the spring, but share prices have not followed suit. You have a chance to invest in a great long-term winner before it gets too big, and 109,000 Robinhood users have already made that move.