It's been a wild year on Wall Street. The benchmark S&P 500 has broken many records. We've witnessed the fastest bear market decline of at least 30% in history, the quickest rebound to new highs from a bear market low on record, and the highest-ever reading for the CBOE Volatility Index.
This heightened volatility and steep first-quarter sell-off have created a lot of interest in the stock market and investing. In particular, we've witnessed the meteoric rise of FinTwit in 2020.
FinTwit, or Financial Twitter ( TWTR -0.02% ), describes a wide-ranging financial investment community on Twitter that seeks to share information and educate readers so the group can become wiser and richer. As someone who regularly peruses and engages with the FinTwit community, I've watched it blossom since the February-March crash.
While information on FinTwit should not be construed as concrete recommendations to buy or sell particular stocks, it does help investors decipher what stocks and trends are of interest to the financial community. Trends and stocks that get a lot of buzz could well be worth your attention.
The following companies are five of the most discussed stocks on FinTwit.
Arguably the most talked-about stock on Financial Twitter is also the most polarizing company of the group: Tesla ( TSLA 4.24% ). Among the FinTwit community, there is no middle ground. Users either think Tesla's going to the moon or that it's going bankrupt.
Without question, Tesla CEO Elon Musk deserves credit for creating the first successful mass-produced auto company in more than five decades. Tesla could potentially deliver north of 500,000 electric vehicles (EV) in 2020. It recently announced plans to improve the battery range of its EVs while lowering long-term costs. Electric vehicles are the future of the automotive industry, and Tesla is in the driver's seat on the EV innovation curve.
On the other hand, Tesla hasn't produced a full-year generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) profit. It has also relied on EV tax credits to pump up its adjusted profits. Further, while Musk has proved a genius, he's also a liability for the company. There have been numerous instances where a tweet or comment has gotten Musk in trouble. It's also unclear if Tesla can maintain its competitive edge over deep-pocketed peers.
It remains to be seen if Tesla can live up to the investment community's exceptionally lofty expectations. However, history suggests that all bubbles eventually burst.
Among tech stocks, there isn't a company that FinTwit seems to fancy more than edge cloud platform services provider Fastly ( FSLY 4.61% ).
As some of you might know, Fastly was clobbered last week after the company revised its third-quarter sales guidance. Having previously called for between $73.5 million and $75.5 million in sales, Fastly now anticipates reporting between $70 million and $71 million in revenue. The company cited weakness from TikTok, its top user, during the recently ended quarter as the reason for the revision. President Trump had been threatening to ban TikTok downloads in the U.S., which presumably hurt its usage.
However, Fastly's lowered guidance still represents a 42% increase in year-over-year sales at the midpoint. It also follows a second quarter that saw Fastly's customer count advance at a pace not seen since its initial public offering.
Fastly is ultimately a business based on data usage. The company needs businesses and shoppers to continue to push online and into the cloud to be successful. While it's unfortunate that TikTok had a subpar quarter, in terms of usage, Fastly's future remains bright. A majority of its existing clients appear to be spending more, and that should help improve the company's gross margin over time.
Another company the FinTwit community can't get enough of is fintech stock Square ( SQ 5.45% ). Generally speaking, FinTwit loves finding companies capable of disrupting established industries. Payment facilitator Square could do just that.
Square is best known as a payment and growth facilitator for small businesses. The company has been providing point-of-sale solutions, data analytics, and even loans to small businesses for years. Between 2012 and 2019, the gross payment volume (GPV) processed by its network grew by roughly $100 billion to $106.2 billion. With Square's seller ecosystem reliant on merchant fees, a 49% compound annual growth rate in GPV between 2012 and 2019 isn't too shabby.
But what has FinTwit abuzz is peer-to-peer payment platform Cash App. In just 2 1/2 years, Cash App's monthly active user (MAU) count has more than quadrupled to 30 million. The company's second-quarter results also announced that 7 million of these MAUs are using Cash Card, a traditional debit card that links back to a user's Cash App balance.
Cash App is a high-growth, next-generation payment platform that could become increasingly popular with Generation Z and millennials throughout the decade. By as soon as 2022, it might be Square's leading generator of gross profit.
Teladoc Health/Livongo Health
The fourth and fifth most talked-about FinTwit stocks are Teladoc Health ( TDOC 3.83% ) and Livongo Health ( LVGO ). I've chosen to address them together because Teladoc is in the process of acquiring Livongo in a cash-and-stock deal that was valued on the day of the announcement at $18.5 billion.
Teladoc seems to have the inside track to becoming the telemedicine kingpin. There's no doubt that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has aided the company's business. In the second quarter, total visits more than tripled from the prior-year period, with doctors wanting to keep at-risk patients out of their practices as much as possible. Keep in mind that the company's compound annual growth rate prior to COVID-19 was a scorching 75% since 2013.
Maybe the best news for Teladoc Health is that telemedicine is a win up and down the healthcare industry. Virtual visits are cheaper for health insurers and more convenient for patients and physicians.
As for Livongo Health, it's become the most exciting applied health signals company around. Using artificial intelligence, it sends tips encouraging members with chronic illnesses to make lasting behavioral changes that will improve their health. The company has consistently seen its diabetes member count double or nearly double on a year-over-year basis, and it's reported three quarters in a row of adjusted profitability.
Once Teladoc and Livongo become a single company, it'll be on the leading edge of personalized medicine.