For many Americans, the New Year brings hope of putting the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in the rearview mirror. But for the investment community, 2021 offers the potential for robust stock market gains.
In less than three weeks, President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. He intends to spend aggressively to support a beleaguered U.S. economy. At the same time, the Federal Reserve has pledged to keep lending rates at or near historic lows through 2023. Conditions are ripe for brand-name and high-growth stocks to thrive in a Biden bull market.
Consider buying these four unstoppable stocks to take advantage of a young but potentially powerful bull market with Biden in the White House.
Assuming the U.S. economy continues to find its footing, payment facilitator Mastercard (NYSE:MA) would be a fantastic addition in 2021 for long-term investors.
Mastercard is a huge company with a $354 billion market cap, but it's still very much a growth stock that carries high single-digit to low double-digit annual sales growth potential. The beauty of the Mastercard processing model is that it benefits from the steady growth in gross domestic product (GDP) over time in the U.S. and global economy. Even though recessions are inevitable in the economic cycle, periods of economic expansion tend to last significantly longer than recessions.
Like its chief rival Visa, Mastercard has avoided becoming a lender. Generating interest income and fees has worked wonders for American Express and Discover Financial Services, but it also exposes these two companies to credit delinquencies during economic contractions and recessions. By playing it safe and strictly sticking with payment processing, Mastercard avoids direct exposure to credit losses during recessions. That's why its profit margin is so delectable.
The Fed's adherence to dovish monetary policy should be just what the doctor ordered to get businesses and consumers to spend big in 2021.
Normally, electric utility stocks wouldn't be considered "unstoppable." "Boring" and "predictable" are more often used to describe these income giants. But NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE) is a different breed. It's the perfect company to consider buying in a Biden bull market.
What separates NextEra from boring utility stocks is its focus on renewable energy. No electric utility is generating more capacity from solar and wind power than NextEra. Though these projects are costly up front, they're directly responsible for lowering the company's long-term generation costs. As a result, NextEra is delivering a nearly double-digit compound annual growth rate in a sector known for low single-digit growth.
NextEra isn't anywhere near done building up its renewable portfolio. The company plans to install 30 million solar panels in Florida by 2030, which should add 10,000 megawatts to its capacity. With lending rates near historic lows, NextEra can finance its green-energy projects relatively cheaply.
Investors really are getting it all: predictable cash flow, eco-consciousness, and a superior growth rate in a basic-need sector.
No matter what happens with COVID-19 in 2021, cloud spending isn't expected to slow. That makes cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) software provider salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) a solid bet to outperform with Biden in the White House.
In simple terms, CRM software helps businesses track customer information, log service issues, and manage their marketing campaigns. Although retail is the most logical beneficiary of CRM solutions, it's by no means the end-all. Manufacturing, healthcare, information technology, and service industries all benefit from real-time customer data to better serve their existing clients and make add-on sales.
In terms of CRM software, salesforce is the kingpin. Gartner estimated that it controlled 18.3% of the global CRM market at the end of 2019. That's more than double its next-closest competitor. With the addition of Slack Technologies, which salesforce has agreed to acquire for $27.7 billion in cash and stock, salesforce will have another way to cross-sell its products on a rapidly growing business-based platform.
Considering that most software-as-a-service (SaaS) stocks are valued at 20 or more times sales, salesforce looks like an absolute bargain at less than 10 times fiscal 2021 sales.
Among healthcare stocks, few have more momentum than specialty drug developer Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX). Vertex can be a big winner for patient investors, particularly since there's little chance of drug-pricing reforms under Biden.
Vertex's key to success is the company's focus on treating patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). CF is a progressive genetic disease involving thick mucus production that can obstruct the lungs and pancreas. While there's no cure, the mutation-specific treatments Vertex has developed are improving CF patients' quality of life.
The company's latest approved CF drug, Trikafta, got the green light from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approximately five months ahead of schedule. While it typically takes blockbuster drugs at least a year to reach $1 billion in annual sales, Trikafta nearly hit $1 billion in sales in the third quarter. It looks well on its way to $6 billion or more in peak annual sales.
The Vertex pipeline beyond CF is equally encouraging. Even with a disappointing outcome for experimental alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency treatment VX-814, Vertex has other clinical trials underway for beta thalassemia, sickle cell disease, APOL1-mediated kidney diseases, and general pain. Its track record suggests that at least some of these ongoing studies can be successful. Look for Vertex to regain its swagger in 2021.