For many, saying goodbye to 2020 couldn't have come soon enough. But that's not the case for the investment community. Despite the benchmark S&P 500 losing over a third of its value in the first quarter of 2020, it ended the year higher by 16%. That's nearly double its average annual return over the last four decades.
The good news for investors is that this young bull market might be just starting to stretch its legs. The Fed's insistence on maintaining historically low interest rates through at least 2023, coupled with President-elect Joe Biden's pledge to offer additional fiscal stimulus to support businesses and reignite the U.S. economy, could lead to an unstoppable bull market.
If you want to take advantage of this Biden bull market, the best way to do so would be to buy the following four surefire stocks.
If investors learned one thing from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, it was how important an online presence and/or cloud computing will be for the future of business. When Biden officially takes office in less than two weeks, businesses will continue to spend aggressively to establish an online or cloud presence. That bodes extremely well for one of the fastest-growing tech stocks, Fastly (FSLY 0.92%).
In simple terms, Fastly ensures the secure and expeditious delivery of content to end users. With people stuck in their homes due to COVID-19 and doing much of their shopping online, Fastly's content delivery network has been busier than ever.
Though things haven't gone perfectly for Fastly -- in the third quarter, the company's largest customer (TikTok) pulled most of its traffic from Fastly's network -- the company's operating results suggest it can sustain high double-digit growth for the foreseeable future. Even with TikTok parent ByteDance pulling traffic as it dealt with a potential statewide ban from the Trump administration, Fastly's Q3 showed a 10 percentage point improvement in dollar-based net expansion rate. In English, the company's existing clients are growing (i.e., seeing more traffic) and spending more with Fastly. Both the company's total customer count and enterprise customer count continue to grow at a rapid pace.
With lending rates remaining low, many of Fastly's brand-name clients will be spending aggressively to reach new audiences. This has the looks of a recipe that could triple Fastly's annual revenue with Biden in the White House.
Yes, I'm still pounding the table on cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) software provider salesforce.com (CRM 0.06%). My top stock to buy for January has lost more than 20% of its value since late August, representing the perfect after-holiday bargain for growth investors.
As sales continue to shift online in a post-pandemic world, any business that has a consumer-facing presence could potentially benefit from what CRM software has to offer. Aside from just logging client information, CRM software allows businesses to stay on top of marketing campaigns, as well as log and address customer service issues. It can also be helpful in identifying new clients and client trends to boost add-on sales. In other words, CRM software isn't just for the retail or service industries any longer.
When it comes to market share dominance, salesforce.com is the kingpin of cloud-based CRM. Gartner estimated that it controlled 18.3% of the global CRM market as of the end of 2019. That's nearly as much as the No.'s 2, 3, and 4 in global CRM share, combined! This dominant share makes it the logical choice for businesses in the market for CRM solutions.
Investors are also failing to appreciate the $27.7 billion cash-and-stock deal to acquire Slack Technologies. Buying Slack will allow salesforce the opportunity to cross-sell its solutions on Slack's quickly growing, enterprise-focused platform. Following this integration, salesforce should be able to accelerate its already impressive growth rate.
Green Thumb Industries
U.S. marijuana stocks can also thrive in a Biden bull market, even if Biden does nothing more than decriminalize cannabis at the federal level and reschedule the drug. State-level legalizations and organic growth in already legalized states should be more than enough to make multistate operator Green Thumb Industries (GTBIF 0.68%) a surefire winner.
One factor that's made Green Thumb such a success is the company's selectivity with regard to the states it operates in. Though it has 50 open dispensaries and holds licenses for up to 96 dispensaries in a dozen states, it's the company's presence in Illinois, Nevada, and even New Jersey that's raising eyebrows. These are all potential billion-dollar annual markets by 2024. Illinois is a limited license state, which'll help thwart competition to some degree, while tourist-reliant Nevada is expected to lead the nation in cannabis spending per capita by mid-decade.
Green Thumb Industries can "go green" well before most of its peers, too. Though dried cannabis flower has historically been associated with marijuana use, approximately two-thirds of Green Thumb's sales are derived from derivatives (edibles, vapes, concentrates, topicals, and infused beverages). Cannabis derivatives yield much better margins than potentially commoditized dried flower, which'll play a key role in pushing Green Thumb to recurring profitability.
After more than doubling its sales in 2020, Green Thumb can, once again, double its revenue by 2022. That makes it a good bet to outperform in a Biden bull market.
A post-pandemic world with Biden in the Oval Office should also favor telehealth giant Teladoc Health (TDOC 2.73%).
As you can imagine, the COVID-19 health crisis has been a major boon for Teladoc. Physicians have wanted to keep at-risk patients out of their offices, which has meant a huge uptick in virtual visits. Teladoc is on track to easily top 10 million virtual visits in 2020, and saw its year-over-year virtual visit totals more than triple during the second and third quarters.
Expecting growth to taper significantly when we've moved beyond the pandemic would be a mistake. Patients now fully understand the convenience of telemedicine, and physicians can fit more people into their schedule with virtual visits. Further, insurance companies are billed less for virtual visits, meaning they're more likely to be promoted by health-benefit providers.
Teladoc's recently completed acquisition of applied health signals company Livongo Health will also be a game-changer. Livongo collects copious amounts of data on patients with chronic illnesses, and with the help of artificial intelligence sends its members tips and nudges to coerce lasting behavioral changes. Prior to its acquisition, Livongo had turned the corner to profitability, despite securing only a little over 1% of the U.S. diabetes market as members.
Teladoc being able to cross-sell with Livongo, and vice versa, should allow this healthcare stock to soar over the next four years.