The stock market hits a new high; JPMorgan Chase (JPM 0.67%) CEO Jamie Dimon expresses bullishness about the economic recovery and concern about the future; and Constellation Brands (STZ 0.58%) serves up strong growth. Also, Amazon (AMZN -1.10%) gains ground in digital advertising and announces plans to open its first grocery stores on the East Coast, and Okta (OKTA -4.52%) shares soar on optimism from the company's investor day. In this episode of Motley Fool Money, Motley Fool analysts Emily Flippen and Jason Moser discuss those stories and more, and share two stocks on their radar.
Plus, award-winning director Robin Hauser talks about $avvy, a new documentary about women taking control of their financial futures.
To catch full episodes of all The Motley Fool's free podcasts, check out our podcast center. To get started investing, check out our quick-start guide to investing in stocks. A full transcript follows the video.
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This video was recorded on April 9, 2021.
Chris Hill: We've got the latest headlines from Wall Street. We've got a new documentary about money that you're going to want to hear about, and as always, we've got a couple of stocks on our radar. But we begin with the big macro. On Friday, both the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit new all-time highs. Earlier in the week, no less than authority than JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon said he's bullish on the U.S. economy over the next few years. This was in Dimon's annual letter to shareholders. Jason, a lot of people get nervous when the market hits all time highs. Jamie Dimon is not one of them. Where do you want to start?
Jason Moser: I guess there are a few different ways we could look at this. The letter that Mr. Dimon wrote very extensively and it was a long read for sure. But I think there were a lot of good thoughts in there. With the market at all-time highs, I generally actually agree with his bullishness. I think there are a few things that are really impacting this. First and foremost, it's worth considering at least the growth opportunities that technology is opening up for us now versus what has been available to us historically. We're in the middle of Industry 4.0, all of this technology that's come about over the last couple of decades, we're now seeing the potential of all of that technology being unleashed. Computers are connected, they're communicating with one another. They're running factories. We've got cyber-physical systems doing things that we never thought were possible, Internet of Things. There's just so much potential here with technology.
While the future is always uncertain, there is some certainty and the fact that technology is making things possible, we never could have imagined, and we still can't even fully grasp yet. It's understandable that investors are excited about that and want to be a part of it. Secondly, I think that like Jamie Dimon said, when we have excess savings, new stimulus savings, huge deficits, spending more QE, new potential infrastructure bills, successful vaccine and euphoria around the end of the pandemic.
I think all of this put together, it's hard to imagine the U.S. economy not booming from that. That is just an amalgamation of a lot of good things that should continue to benefit the economy. So understanding that perspective as well, then one more thing just to keep in mind too, it is interesting to note, according to FINRA, investors had borrowed $814 billion against their portfolios by the end of February of this year. Essentially that's margin, that's the margin that we talked about for investors. That was up 49% from a year ago. It's on record highs, the fastest annual increase since 2007. Before that, the last time borrowings had grown so quickly, that was during the .com bubble of 1999. Like we say, to be marginal, I don't mean a margin to me, it's not inherently good or bad, but it does amplify things both on the way up and all the way down. Clearly, margin is something that's in play for investors these days. It seems like it's making the good times a little bit better right now, and that could be a contributing factor as well. But I think there are a lot of reasons for that bullishness that I would subscribe to. For me, and I think that what we tried to tell our listeners our members, this is why we adopt that philosophy of always being invested. Because over the long haul, these are the types of opportunities that really come into play here. We want to be a part of this.
Hill: Emily, what do you think?
Emily Flippen: I think it was really interesting just how much time Dimon's spent building up what a robust rebound the economy is going to experience while also having such a negative tone. I'm honestly impressed by his ability to both make me really sad but also really optimistic at the same time. It was like this weird paradox where we are expected to have some spending increases. This quantitative easing could help the economy into 2023. Then also this underlying level of, well, we're just dysfunctional right now too. The growth could be even greater if we weren't so dysfunctional, not on just a political level, but on an economic level as well.
Hill: Constellation Brands wrapped up their fiscal year in style. Fourth quarter profits came in higher than expected for the beer, wine, and spirits company. Despite the good results, shares of Constellation Brands are down 5% this week. Emily, is this because of guidance, like we're not going to drink as much alcohol over the next 12 months as we did during the pandemic?
Flippen: Well, I don't know about anybody else, but I know that's not an issue when it comes to me, so I don't think that's what investors are particularly worried about. I think what investors are missing is remembering back to just a few months ago when you look down at the main demographic for Constellation Brands, which is Hispanic Americans and how they were impacted because of the weather in key areas like Texas last quarter. I think investors saw depletion numbers as it applies to their beer brands lower than expected, while also not remembering that there were a lot of actually weather-related phenomena that decreased their period over the last quarter for which they could expect to be selling through to their key demographics, especially for their medulla brand. I think that might have gotten investor's a little bit caught up. But what I think was really interesting was just what a shining star beer was for this quarter.
Constellation Brands has been in the process of pulling down on its wine business in particular. But even with their pretty robust spirits offering, management spent virtually the entire call talking about beer and expected double-digit growth they're having in many of their key brands and particularly Modelo and as well their Corona hard seltzer brands. These are some product innovations that we haven't seen from the likes of Constellation Brands for quite a while. When you see double digit level completions coming out of some of these new innovations, I think that is probably what investors should be focused on as opposed to just some weather-related pull downs we experienced over the past quarter.
Hill: Yeah. For all of the success we've seen, Emily, with various alcohol companies pushing forward with seltzer brands, it seems like Constellation was a little late to the game with that, but Bill Newlands has been CEO for two years, it seems like the ship has been studied under his leadership.
Flippen: What's really interesting is while you're right that they were slow to the uptake for things like hard seltzer, they had 90% depletion growth in Corona hard seltzer, and it's the second fastest moving hard seltzer brand in the United States right now. Despite them being slow to the uptake, they've actually managed to lever a lot of the attention that the Corona brand has and apply it to the hard seltzer business to be one of the best hard seltzer selling brands in the U.S. right now. They're launching a second variety pack and that could be a real tailwind heading into 2021.
Hill: According to a new report from research firm eMarketer, the digital advertising landscape is shifting. Google [Alphabet] and Facebook are still the dominant players. But Amazon's ad revenue in 2020 was more than 50% higher than the previous year, and their market share has increased to more than 10% of the overall market. eMarketer expects that number to steadily grow over the next three years too, Jason.
Moser: Yeah. I would agree with that. It makes sense to me at least. I think for investors, you look at this from the perspective that even a little piece of a really big pie can still be a lot. I think that's what we're seeing or the Amazon digital ad spin may not be a part of the thesis, but it doesn't hurt the cause. If you've looked at the numbers, Amazon's U.S. ad revenue was close to $16 billion last year. That's maybe 4% of their overall business. That's really not all that terribly meaningful, but it grew 53% from a year ago. That to me it makes sense. I think when you look at the ad business along with e-commerce and you couple those together, to me, it seems like it'd be a lot easier to develop an ad business around a mature e-commerce business than the other way around. I'd argue that Google and Facebook's efforts to penetrate commerce had been marginal at best. I honestly don't think that's going to change meaningfully at all. Part of that is just because beyond the Amazon, there's so many other companies that just do it way, way better. It's not like Facebook and Google haven't tried. They have, it's just not really anything that's sticking for them. I think that's encouraging for Amazon and that they're continuing to build this out.
I think one thing too, in regard to Amazon's ad business, they have that Google and Facebook and other social platforms, for example, don't have. Amazon doesn't have to worry about the political risk so much. They're not advertising for entertainment or for social. They're advertising for commerce. They don't face that same kind of political risk I think that other companies like Facebook and Google might face. To me, while it may not be a big part of the thesis for Amazon, it certainly doesn't hurt the cause and it's nice to see them continuing to gain share. I think that ought to continue.
Hill: Well, and it's not like Amazon doesn't have other potential regulatory problems with the United States government. It might very well, but I think that's not a point to be glossed over that they're making their money, not by providing platforms for different social groups. They're just trying to get people to buy stuff.
Moser: Yeah, that's true. There isn't an entertainment aspect to it, there is Fire TV. Those devices are becoming more prevalent and folks living rooms and then they are selling advertising via Fire TV, they're getting more into the podcast and music world as well. There is that entertainment angle, and they have to at least keep that political type risks at the back of their mind. But again, it's not the nature of their business, it is not really the primary driver of the business.
Hill: Okta, the identity security company, held an investor day on Wednesday. I don't know what management told investors Emily, but in just two days, the stock is up nearly 10%. What happened?
Flippen: I think expectations were low for Okta heading into their investor day. For years now, Okta's growth has slowed. While they've been dominant in identity management, I think people were skeptical of their ability to continue to feel growth in the future. Okta actually had this big acquisition that they announced last month that was also weighing on the mind of investors. Heading into this investor day, I think people were not expecting very much in terms of guidance. What Okta came out with, which included a lot of interesting product launches, was more than what was expected. They spent a majority of their investor day talking about new platform services, things that would expand Okta's total addressable market, and particular movement into identity governance and privileged access management. These are Cloud-based services that can exist as upsells to Okta's existing identity management customers. But I think I still have the biggest questions as an investor, and is something that they didn't spend a ton of time talking about that I wish they would, is this acquisition of Auth0. They spent nearly $7 billion in all stock or are planning to, to acquire Auth0, which is a competitor to Okta in the single sign on markets. The only thing they're really acquiring here is a different go-to-market strategy. Whether or not that's worth the hefty price tag, I think is still yet to be seen.
Hill: Amazon is already in the grocery industry because it's the parent company of Whole Foods. But this week the company confirmed it plans to open new grocery store concepts on the East Coast later this year. Jason, Amazon is being pretty cagey with details but if you connect the dots on what we know so far, I think it seems reasonable to assume that these stores are going to have name, brand, and products. They're going to have some high-tech things that will enable Amazon Prime members to shop more quickly.
Moser: Even ask the question why they continue to pursue this grocery strategy, or even if they are necessarily certain how they want to proceed this grocery strategy. I certainly understand why they're doing it though. I mean, the total sales generated by grocery stores in the United States in 2020 we're $760 billion. I mean, that's a lot of money. A big market opportunity here just domestically alone. You look at pure play grocers like Kroger, for example, they brought in $132 billion in revenue over the last year. This is a big market opportunity and they're trying to figure out exactly how to pursue it. They're trying a few different things. The Whole Foods acquisition is probably what's at the forefront of most investors minds these days. We've been trying to figure out exactly, was that really the right thing to do? What does AmazonFresh have that Whole Foods doesn't have? One thing I think, and this is really something that I think we continue to talk about, is brand risk with a variety of companies and maybe there still is a little bit of a brand risk with Whole Foods. I don't know. I mean, that whole paycheck identity that it did earn so long ago, I mean, that doesn't just leave consumers minds. I think they think there's always a bit of an association there, so maybe that's something that the Amazon Fresh concept has that counters that Whole Foods brand risk if it does exist.
There is the crossover consumer to consider as well. I mean, a lot of folks like to be able to get their organic produce and their peanut butter crunch at the same place, Chris. I mean, I'm one of those guys. I am a crossover consumer. I think a lot of folks out there are. Maybe this AmazonFresh concept can cater to that as well. Obviously, testing and learning on the tech side as well. Listen, if you're still bitter about the Whole Foods acquisition, I think what they paid $14 billion for it in 2017, well, our earlier story, that ad business, that seems so meaningless to Amazon's business $15 billion plus in annual revenue there, that paid for the whole Whole Foods acquisition right there. Their ad business found money. They just bought Whole Foods for it. Maybe that had to take a little bit of the pressure off.
Hill: Absolutely. Shares of FuboTV (FUBO -1.90%) up more than 15% on Friday. The sport streaming service won the rights to some qualifying matches for the Men's World Cup in 2022. Emily, you and I were talking before the show started. Getting the rights to these matches, it seemed like a good move, it seemed like a win. I wasn't expecting it to be a win to the tune of the stock being up 15%.
Flippen: I'm not sure if this deal alone justifies today's stock rise. But I think the stock rise itself is indicative of expectations for what Fubo could become. Before this deal, Fubo was a smaller player and to an extent it still is a smaller player today. But they've proven that we're new entrants, we're smaller players, but we're competitive enough that we can get exclusive rights to 70 qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup. That's critical to delivering on Fubo's value proposition because they've constantly angled themselves as a streaming service provider that sports first. This is a critical win. Those 70 qualifying matches themselves, that probably doesn't justify a 15% bump in the stock price but what it means for Fubo in the future. I could make a compelling argument that this changes the game, that Fubo is no longer going to be a smaller player but going to be critical for what it means to be a sports watcher in the future. That's especially critical because right now Fubo generates a majority of their revenue from inside the United States. Majority of their 500,000 paying subscribers are from the United States. The fact that they're able to get some World Cup Matches where the majority of watchers are outside of the United States could also mean a lot for their ability to expand internationally. It was definitely a good thing If I had to predict, I would not have guessed that the stock had moved so aggressively today, but as I thought about it more it started to make more sense.
Hill: Well. It could be one of those things that gets a lot of people to kick the tires on FuboTV as a service. Maybe they get sucked in and they say, "Well, I'm just going to do this for the qualifying matches," but then if they enjoy it enough, if they check out the other offerings, then they've got a whole lot of new customers.
Flippen: Fubo has a really interesting way of monetizing those customers. It's an expensive service to buy. The lowest cost service for subscribers is around $65 a month. If you're paying for Fubo, you're a big sports fan.
Hill: At some point in their lives, the overwhelming majority of women will be solely responsible for their finances. Yet, a growing number of women leave their financial decisions up to their spouse. This topic is at the Heart of Savvy, a new documentary from award-winning filmmaker Robin Hauser. She profiles a number of women in the film, including your group who became friends over their shared love of tennis and turned that into their own investment club in the 1980s. When she talked with my colleague Patricia Bajis, Hauser explained how crucial the bond of friendship was in building their confidence as investors.
Robin Hauser: That seems important because No. 1, it's a different generation and it's a group of women that have been together for over 50 years now. Yeah, that's right, some of them have been together for 50 years. This idea that they became empowered through learning about the stock market. Back in the '80s, it was not very common for women to be involved in the stock market and for women to be investors. Through this bond of this investment club, they learned about stocks, they learned about how to research and how to invest. It was a lot more difficult back then than it is now just doing it say on Robinhood or on some quick app, but I think the most important thing that these women learned through that was the self-confidence that they gained. It was really empowering for them to know about this, to make their own money, to not be intimidated by the stock market and to be able to hold their head up high if they were at a cocktail party and the men were talking about that or what have you.
Patricia Bajis: Definitely, I think one of my favorite parts in the interview is when they talk about going to the shareholder meetings and they asked them if they know where they're and where they are, if they're supposed to be and they are like we just walked right in. We knew where we were supposed to be. I loved that.
Hauser: They are like, sorry, this is only for shareholders and they said, well, we're shareholders.
Bajis: Yeah, exactly. I always loved them, they were great. When you were planning the narrative arc of this film and you wanted to show the different types of women that had different parts of their financial lives that they were working on. You have a woman who struggles with credit card debt, a woman who struggles with student loans, a woman who is struggling with understanding where are the state of their finances where when her husband passed away, how did you decide what moments in someone's financial life you wanted to cover in your film?
Hauser: We started looking in just stories and what are the typical situations where people do, not just women, but where people get into trouble with money, credit card debt, high-interest credit cards. That was obvious and the story about Janelle Aspinall, who is first-generation American. She's obviously very bright. She's on a full ride scholarship at an Ivy League college. She walks out of class one day and there's a big bank with a tent set up, giving away free pizza, free shirts, springy credit, and they're like just sign here for a credit card. She's like, "Yeah, you don't know the background I come from. My parents don't even have credit cards," and they said "No, go ahead and sign up." But nobody ever taught her how a credit card works. She did everything she was asked to do. It said just pay here, pay the minimum amount and she figured as long as you pay the minimum amount, she'd be fine. She ended up with over $20,000 in credit card debt as a college student. Whose fault is that? I mean, she doesn't blame anybody else. She recognizes that she probably should have learned a little bit more about it. But it's so easy that it seems like free money in it, so tempting. The system doesn't teach you, their schools don't teach you about that. The bank certainly didn't go beyond, it didn't say you have to read the small print. That was an important story to tell.
Then Kaitlyn Boston talks about how her parents who were educated but didn't have high degrees were so excited about sending her to college and then to grad school because they have this very bright adopted daughter. They, as she says, out of financial illiteracy, signed up for some of these really expensive private student loans. Kaitlyn ended up with $222,000 in student loan debt. Took her years to pay it off. But her story was inspiring because she did pay it off and so did Janelle. Both of these women have beautiful story arcs because they paid it off. They became empowered and they're now doing whatever they can to advance what they learned to help share these stories with other women so that they can learn.
Bajis: It's awesome. One maybe misconception people might have about the film is that it only applies to women, which anybody who watches this film can gain plenty of financial knowledge from. What do you think is a way that somebody who is having a hard time having these financial conversations with maybe a parent or a spouse can do that in a way where a topic, it can be so sensitive. There's some sensitive topics you cover in the film with like suicide and financially abusive relationships, do you have tips for anybody who wants to have that conversation with people in their lives to get that going?
Hauser: Yeah, Tanya Ripley who's in the film and talks about financial abuse, said the other day it's about tact, timing and tone and then I really want to borrow that from her because I think that's absolutely right. When you're talking about your partner, about money, it has to be the right time. You have to approach it gingerly. It's really about what you say, but it's about saying, "Hey, look, I want to learn about our finances. I need to know how much we have saved? How much do we put away into savings? How much do you make? Here's how much I make. Do you have any debt?" I mean, these are such important questions to anybody that's thinking about getting into a serious relationship with anyone else. Like you said, and this is regardless of gender. Even in same-sex relationships, women tend to abdicate financial decisions, 41% of them do, which is fascinating, because each one of us really needs to be aware of our money situation. If you happen to be married to somebody who works in the financial market or the financial industry and they are clearly the one who's more savvy about it, that's OK but it doesn't mean you can stick your head in the sand. It means you have somebody that you can learn from.
You have to know how to be financially independent because as the Chanel Reynolds story shows us, you could be happy one day, happily married, living maybe on the edge, a little financial fragility, but everything is good until it's not. When her husband got into a serious bike accident, she had to learn the hard way that they hadn't executed their wills. She didn't know where the mortgage was. She didn't know about what type of insurance they had. These are just important things that we all need to be part of. Then there's financial abuse. It doesn't matter how much money you make or don't make. People that are part of financial abuse, it crosses all sorts of socioeconomic boundaries. I think that in order to not let yourself be subject to financial abuse, it's hugely important to be financially independent so that if you do need to get out of a bad situation, you can.
Bajis: Definitely. One of my favorite parts, probably my favorite subtle part of your film is when you have Erin who was getting divorced, talking with the financial planner who specializes in divorce, going through all of the things that she doesn't have her name on their shared business, that she's not really sure what her living expenses are, and then you immediately juxtapose it with Kaitlyn and Apollo who are laughing on the couch, happy, but admit to the struggles that they have in these conversations about money, where she even relates with time when he would say she's naggy and she's like I'm not naggy because I'm knowledgeable and I'm helping you and I think that was such a clever thing because you're watching Erin and you feel really bad for her and you hope that's not you. You're like, what does it look like successfully, and you show what it looks like successfully. I think that's such a powerful moment both through your storytelling, but just as viewers to see, it's not perfect. It's a bakery sometimes, but that's what it could be like when it's equally shared.
Hauser: Yeah. I'm glad you appreciated that because it is a delicate balance and I really want to show divorcing. I feel for women going through divorce, I've been there, so I know what that's like. Christelle says this. She says, "Divorce lawyers are really good at what they do, most of them, of course, but they're not financial experts." There's something odd about the fact that women and men are supposed to come out of divorce equal in terms of division of resources and finances and yet five years down the line, the man is suddenly way up here and the woman stays down like this. That's a problem. Going through some of the mistakes that women typically make, believing that all assets are equal, well, we know they're not or keeping the house and thinking that's a fair trade for cash. I mean, again, it's not because the house has a mortgage, usually, and a house has expenses and a house has property taxes. These are just things that women need to be aware of. What happens in divorce is women just want it to be over. They just want it to be done. They leave really important things and really important financial aspects on the table.
Bajis: In your documentary, along with focusing obviously on divorce in marriage, we talk a lot about millennials and you have Ms. Dow Jones, who was an Internet personality that helps millennials understand more of their finances and wants statistics that, I think is mentioned pretty early on, is that 54% of millennial women leave financial decisions to their spouse, which is up from the generation beforehand. I'm curious your thoughts on why that may be. This is a generation that entered the job market from 2008 to 2010, just one of the worst times to join and now maybe he's getting a second wave with the pandemic. Do you have any thoughts on why that number is trending up for them?
Hauser: This is the a million dollar question. Why is it that millennial women above any other generation tend to have their head in the sand when it comes to finances. They're the ones that tend to abdicate financial decisions to somebody else in their life and usually that's not a financial advisor. That's their husbands or their partners. Why is that? Is that the Cinderella effect? Is it the fact that women when it comes down to it just want to be taken care of? Is it biological in that way? Is it because of the stereotypes in our society that suggests that women aren't good at math? It's a quandary. It's really a quandary and for those of us that really thought, I get it. My grandmother used to do this, my mom used to do this, I mean, after all it was the 1970s when a woman could get a credit card on her own or open a bank account on her own. Maybe, this is getting better with my kids, with my generation or with younger people. It's not necessarily getting better. It is because in the division of labor in a household, women predominantly are the primary caretakers of children, do the volunteer hours for the schools because we're so busy and we just leave that to the men.
The other side of this that I think is interesting is what type of pressure does that put on men? If society is suggesting finance as a male territory, let's be real, they don't innately know more about the stock market than we do. Of course, they don't. But if pressure in society is saying to them, this is what you're going to need to take care of when you get married, then that puts an enormous amount of pressure on them. As a few different financial advisors have told Mabel, they're better at faking it till they make it, that we are maybe, but they're not more innately savvy at all. The Sally project talks about how the stock market is made by men for men. She talks about how that wasn't intentionally to leave women out. Nobody ever said, let's keep the women out of this. But because there were no women there to design it at the time, they didn't think that women were on top of mind.
All of these warlike analogies, they're crushing it with the boom and all of these just really hard core, type of a lingo that goes along with the stock market plus all the acronyms, it guidelines women, it marginalizes women, and it's intimidating. I think when you get to a certain age as a woman and you are well-educated, you're almost ashamed that you don't know more about the stock market or more about how your 401(k) is being invested. We need to change that, especially because in the next few years, there's going to be the greatest transfer of wealth and that transfer of wealth is into the hands of women. Women need to become savvy about money.
Hill: I mentioned before the break, you can find more information on the documentary on the Santa Barbara International Film Festival website. Even better, you can go to the film's website which is savvy-film.com. Just make sure you're putting in a hyphen between savvy and film. So savvy-film.com. Two quick stories before we get to radar stocks. Last year Clubhouse launched. It's a social media app that hosts live audio conversations. Reports this week, Emily, that Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) looked into buying Clubhouse for $4 billion but things appear to be on hold. Which outcome should Twitter shareholders be waiting for?
Flippen: If I was a Twitter shareholder, I would not want them to spend $4 billion buying Clubhouse, not only because they're building out their own voice platform called Spaces, but also because I just hate it. Am I the only one who feels this way about Clubhouse? But it feels like a special form of torture, having to be invited to a conversation with people who perceive themselves to be experts on topics. I mean, it sounds like absolutely no fun to me.
Moser: Given the choice, I'm going to the Dentist, 10 times out of 10, Emily, I'm right there with you.
Hill: This week, indoor farming company AppHarvest (NASDAQ: APPH) bought Root AI, a robotic start-up in a deal worth $60 million. That's not a big price tag, Jason, but shares of AppHarvest fell on the news. Do you like this deal?
Moser: That's a big price equity, don't make any money, Chris, and AppHarvest really don't make any money. I think they're guiding for something in the neighborhood of $20 billion-30 billion in revenue this year. But it's a spec that just came public and they are very, very new to the game. I love the looks I get when folks ask me for intriguing 5G ideas and I tell them about AppHarvest, but it is about AgTech. AgTech is a thing bringing conventional agricultural techniques together with modern day technology and that's what this deal is. Root AI supplies machine vision systems that can determine when fruits and vegetables are ripe and ready, that there's overcrowding or harvest issues, and monitor these controlled environment agricultural facilities. To me, this is right in line with what AppHarvest does. It also presents them with some optionality going forward and perhaps being able to license that technology out to other markets beyond just their core fruits and vegetables offerings.
Hill: Let's get to the stocks on our radar. Our man behind the glass, Dan Boyd, is going to hit you with a question. Emily Flippen, you're up first. What are you looking at this week?
Flippen: My radar stock for this week is a business called Sprout Social (NASDAQ: SPT). The ticker is SPT and they're a social media management tool that provides a one-stop shop for companies and individuals to manage their social media presences. This lets them do things like schedule tweets or manage their engagement but they also provide analytics, reputation management, and public relation services as well.
Hill: Dan, question about Sprout Social?
Dan Boyd: Absolutely. Chris, at the risk of sounding too much like Ron Gross, this sounds like the most millennial company ever, and I am a millennial.
Flippen: I will not lie to Dan. I am aware of this company because back when I was in college, I did an internship at a Think Tank that used a competitor that was free called Hootsuite and I spent a majority of my very millennial internship managing tweets. While it may not be the most fun investment for somebody who isn't active on social media, I can say from firsthand experience, the demand is very high.
Hill: Jason Moser, what are you looking at this week?
Moser: I've been digging more into a company called CIEN (NYSE: CIEN). The ticker is C-I-E-N. CIEN provides hardware, software, and services that enable the transport, the routing, the switching, the aggregation, delivery of video and data and voice traffic all across the Internet and communications that works. If you look at the drivers there in things like mobile and over the top streaming Cloud-based services, IoT, 5G, edge computing, these are all drivers for CIEN's business. There are some tailwinds developing. They have a very broad customer base with communication service providers like Verizon and AT&T, among others, like table and multi-service operators, enterprises, government's research customers. But it's an interesting business. It's fiscally fit. Gross margin hovers in the 45% range, they have around $330 million that cash on the balance sheet. Nice cash flow rich business. Yeah, it's one I'm digging into.
Hill: Dan, question about CIEN?
Boyd: Yeah. Sure. Jason, this is an almost $9 billion company and I've never heard of it. What's going on? Why have I never heard of CIEN?
Moser: In today's world, Dan, $9 billion is chump change. That's a new small cat. That's why you've never heard of it.
Hill: What do you want to add to your watch list, Dan?
Boyd: I'll tell you what, I'm just not sold on the idea of social media management. Maybe it's that I'm not millennial enough these days, so I'm going to have to go with the unsung hero, CIEN.
Moser: Love it.
Hill: Emily Flippen, Jason Moser, thanks so much for being here.
Moser: Thank you.
Flippen: Thanks, Chris.
Hill: That's going to do it for this week's edition of Motley Fool Money. The show is mixed by Dan Boyd. Our producer's Mac Greer. I'm Chris Hill. Thanks for listening. We'll see you next week.