It might not seem like it at the moment, with the technology-reliant Nasdaq Composite entering official correction territory on Monday, March 8, but the catalysts are there for a full-fledged bull market to take shape under President Joe Biden.
In one respect, Biden is taking over a very fragile economy that's attempting to claw its way back after the pandemic. On the other hand, the dovish steps being taken by the nation's central bank, coupled with another round of fiscal stimulus from Washington, means easy access to cheap capital for fast-growing companies.
If a Biden bull market does take shape, investors would be wise to put their money to work in disruptive stocks that are reshaping their respective industries or sectors. Here are five perfect examples.
As you might imagine, the tech space is home to innovation and disruption. Specifically, cybersecurity company Okta (OKTA -8.53%) is a name that opportunistic investors will want to consider adding if a bull market ensues under the new administration.
Okta develops cloud-native solutions that rely on artificial intelligence (AI) to protect enterprise and consumer data. Okta's specific focus is on cloud identity verification. Since it's leaning on AI, Okta's suite of products becomes more efficient at recognizing and responding to threats all the time. It's also often cheaper for enterprises to use third-party identity verification platforms than handle these solutions in-house.
What's more, Okta recently announced that it would acquire chief competitor Auth0 in an all-stock deal that was valued at $6.5 billion. Even though Auth0 will remain an independent entity under the Okta umbrella, it's going to bolster Okta's growth rate and give it heightened exposure to markets outside the United States.
Given that cybersecurity is now a basic-need service, look for Okta to grow by a double-digit annual percentage throughout the decade.
Where Vertex is making waves is on the drug development front. The company has developed -- and had the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approve -- a number of gene-based treatments for cystic fibrosis (CF), a hard-to-treat genetic disease. CF is currently without a cure and is characterized by thick mucus production that can obstruct a patient's pancreas and lungs.
The newest approved therapy is combination drug Trikafta. This drug, which targets the most common CF mutation, was approved by the FDA five months ahead of its scheduled review date after improving predicted expiratory volume in 1 second (a measure of lung function) by 3.7 percentage points. In its first full year on the market, Trikafta racked up close to $3.9 billion in sales and represents a foundation for Vertex to build upon.
With a growing war chest of cash, look for Vertex to acquire other unique therapies or companies to expand its product portfolio.
Designing and selling furniture might not sound disruptive, but small-cap modular furniture designer Lovesac (LOVE -7.22%) is changing how millennials buy furniture.
The biggest difference between Lovesac and traditional furniture companies is the functionality. Lovesac's modular "sactionals" (which account for close to 80% of total sales) can be rearranged dozens of different ways to fit a consumer's living space. And each sactional has more than 250 washable cover choices, which provide additional functionality.
Environmentally conscious investors should note that the yarn in the company's covers is made entirely from recycled plastic bottles.
Something else that stands out about Lovesac is the lower overhead associated with its operating model compared to traditional furniture stores. The company was able to successfully pivot a majority of its business online during the pandemic. Having fewer showrooms means less needless spending and higher operating margins.
Typically, just saying the word "insurance" is enough to put an investor to sleep. But specialized insurance company Trupanion (TRUP -3.82%) is doing things differently. That's because it's focused on providing health insurance to companion animals (cats and dogs).
Trupanion has penetrated about 1% of the companion-animal market in the United States. An estimated 84.9 million households own a pet, with the company tallying close to 863,000 enrolled pets at the end of 2020. If pet health-insurance penetration in the U.S. were to approach the 25% level seen in the U.K., Trupanion would be looking at an addressable market of almost $33 billion.
Trupanion also happens to be the only major companion-pet insurance provider with software capable of paying veterinary clinics and hospitals at the time of checkout. This is a feature that helps to retain subscribers, and it certainly keeps vet clinics happy.
As one final note, don't overlook the power of U.S. pet expenditures. Pet owners spent a whopping $99 billion (estimated) on companion animals in 2020, and year-over-year pet expenditures haven't declined in at least a quarter of a century. People will pay up for the well-being of their pets, and that's great news for Trupanion.
What sets Etsy apart from other online retail platforms is the company's focus on personalization. It is set up for small merchants and the customization/personalization they can provide. Consumers who desire to buy local or support small businesses are going to love the Etsy retail platform.
The company's operating results in 2020 demonstrate that it is resonating with new and repeat users. Habitual buyers (defined as those with six or more purchase days and over $200 in spend over the trailing 12 months) increased their spending by 157% during the fourth quarter. Keeping these habitual buyers engaged, and turning new and repeat buyers into habitual buyers, are Etsy's keys to driving ad and service spending by its merchants.
Etsy is now using video to improve consumer engagement, and recently introduced installment payment options for U.S. buyers.
The growth we've witnessed from Etsy is likely just the tip of the iceberg.