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Top Investing Headlines of 2021

By Chris Hill – Dec 27, 2021 at 3:18PM

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And some nominees for CEO of the Year.

Who made the most questionable comments? Why were Ford Motor (F 0.39%), Bath & Body Works (BBWI 4.17%), and Synaptics (SYNA -1.99%) such surprising stocks in 2021? What makes the underlying businesses of Roku (ROKU -0.72%), Axon Enterprise (AXON -0.36%), and Twilio (TWLO -0.79%) better than their recent stock performances? Motley Fool analysts Andy Cross, Ron Gross, and Jason Moser answer those questions and share why Arkadiy Dobkin of EPAM Systems (EPAM -0.03%), Satya Nadella of Microsoft (MSFT -0.94%), and Marvin Ellison of Lowe's (LOW 0.35%) get their votes for CEO of the Year.

Plus, the guys share investing discoveries they made in 2021 and three stocks on their radar: Chipotle (CMG 0.27%), Costco (COST -0.21%), and Crocs (CROX 1.07%).

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 Dec. 17, 2021.

Chris Hill: It's The Motley Fool Money Radio Show, I'm Chris Hill. Joining me this week, Senior Analysts Jason Moser, Andy Cross, and Ron Gross. Good to see you as always, gentlemen.

Ron Gross: Hey, Chris.

Chris Hill: It is our year-end review special. In two weeks, we're doing our investing preview for 2022, but this week, we're going to put a bow on 2021. Andy Cross, let me start with you. What is your business or investing headline for the year?

Andy Cross: Chris, the actual headline would be fly me to the moon memes and new investors. [laughs] February and March saw the peak of the meme stocks like GameStop and AMC where thousands and millions of individual investors with lots of COVID cash to spend, jumped into these stocks, bid them up, gathering them over on Wall Street Bet sub Reddit where they got together and talked about these stocks cause massive short squeezes that sends the stocks up three, five times in value or more in a very short period. The hedge funds that were short, these stocks got burned very quickly, had to cover their losses that continue to bid the stocks up. It really was more betting and speculating, but the reason it's fly me to the moon, Chris, is I was driving around the DC Beltway around then and I saw on the sound barriers a graffiti piece very large that said, "Fly me to the moon, GME," which is GameStop's ticker. There was so much interest in the meme stocks and the individual investors, really individual investors driving the stocks. I love to see so many individual investors into the market and that's been great over the last few years. Unfortunately, a lot have been thinking about this more, about speculating. There's lots of members out there that could use Foolish investing wisdom and I hope that we can do that both on our podcast or in our services and on our website at Very excited for that. But the meme push in February, March was really extraordinary to see.

Chris Hill: Ron, does your headline capture the interest of graffiti artists?

Ron Gross: I can't say it does, Chris. But for me, it's got to be inflation, inflation, inflation, because I don't know if you heard, Chris, there is a little bit talk about inflation during the year. November data indicated that prices have increased seven percent year-over-year. That's the highest increase in four decades. Fed officials for months had been insisting that inflation was transitory and closely tied to COVID-related factors that eventually, they said, would fade. However, in recent days, Chairman Powell and others have indicated that the word "transitory" is perhaps no longer appropriate and likely will be dropped from future communications. Supply chain bottlenecks, surgeon demand, primary drivers of inflation, in this particular case, they've only eased marginally. But the labor market has firmed up, headline unemployment rate recently falling to 4.2 percent. 

This likely creates some cover for the Fed to act to combat inflation. At the Fed meeting on December 15th, the Fed said it would double the pace by which winds down its bond buying program. The new pacing would bring all asset purchase to a full stop by March of 2022. They also signaled that interest rate hike was likely for next year. Projections currently indicate that three rate hikes will happen next year, another three in 2023, another two in 2024. Markets actually rallied on this news, perhaps counter intuitive. But I think investors would welcome a proactive Fed gradual rate hikes and an end to quantitative easing rather than runaway inflation.

Chris Hill: Be interesting to see if they actually stick to that plan, particularly in 2024, which is, by my math, 28 years from now.

Ron Gross: COVID is always the wildcard. We'll have to see how that factors then.

Chris Hill: Jason Moser, what's your headline for the year?

Jason Moser: Yeah, we've talked ad nauseum. It feels like about the semiconductor supply crunch. It's had a meaningful impact on every corner of the economy so far this year. When you look at semi's in general, it is becoming less of a cyclical industry, I think, just given the trend toward tech and connectivity, things like Internet of Things. I don't think we're going to see quite the cyclical nature here in semi's going forward that we've witnessed historically. But the general sentiment for most in the industry is that this crunch is likely going to continue through at least the first half of the new year, which is something I think we all obviously need to keep an eye on. The other thing to keep an eye on, I think there are a couple of pieces of legislation out there that are still going through the process. There's the CHIPS for America Act and there's the FABS Act. The CHIPS for America that's creating helpful incentives to produce semiconductors. FABS is facilitating American built semiconductors. These are still hung up in DC grid lock. I know that's just really tough to believe. But the fact of the matter is that while the Senate has passed this US Innovation and Competition Act, which is what the CHIPS Act is part of that. The house is still deliberating that so they are hopefully going to get this legislation through sooner rather than later. But given what we know about Congress these days, I wouldn't hold my breath. But it's certainly something we talked a lot about this year and I think we're going to be talking a lot about here into the new year as well.

Chris Hill: Chief Executive Magazine gave their annual award to Merck CEO, Ken Frazier. Ron, who gets your vote for CEO of the year?

Ron Gross: Chris, at the risk of sounding obvious or stating the obvious, I'm going to go with Satya Nadella of Microsoft. CEO since February of 2014, replacing Steve Ballmer. Only the third person to hold that office in the company's history, he's been with Microsoft since 1992. Shares of Microsoft up 790 percent crushing the market since it was announced that he would take over as CEO. Shares up 46 percent so far this year. Nadella credited with transforming Microsoft into a cloud-based technology company. Microsoft now the number 2 cloud company with a 20 percent market share behind Amazon with a 32 percent share. A very impressive 93 percent approval rating on Glassdoor, is a talented capital allocator, returns $75 billion of capital to shareholders over the last two years through stock buybacks and dividends. Great operating metrics. Microsoft's return on invested capital is an impressive 44 percent. Stocks trading 35 times forward earnings. It's not too cheap, but it's also, in my opinion, not too expensive for it to be a staple in anyone's portfolio.

Chris Hill: Andy, what about you?

Andy Cross: Chris, I'm going with a leader that I followed for close to 10 years here on the stock during that time period is up more than 4000 percent, that's Arkadiy Dobkin from EPAM Systems, symbol is EPAM. The 36 billion-dollar, digital and software consulting firm that provides technology in healthcare, consumer travel advertising, retail technology consulting services to those industries across lots of different areas and lots of different parts of the business at these markets and these businesses and their clients want to continue to grow. He founded the company back in 1993, he's [inaudible 00:07:42] ever since, he's the largest individual share owner worth more than a billion dollars now. Stock is up just 70 percent this year. I mentioned a long-term, a 10-year track record of up more than 4000 percent. It's up 70 percent this year, just joined the S&P 500 this week.

 It's one of the best performers if you look at the S&P 500 companies. He scores high reviews on Glassdoor, he has a great culture across 36,000 employees for EPAM. He makes small and smart tuck-in acquisitions that expand the reach of their client base, grow it internationally. He does a wonderful job of managing the cost structure and the earnings picture. They've grown their revenues and their earnings about 20 percent or plus each quarter going back many years minus the COVID period. When I look at EPAM Systems, look at the opportunity, I own it myself, I think it's a wonderful chance for people to continue to benefit from Ark's leadership. I think he is underrated and doesn't get nearly as much attention as he should.

Chris Hill: Jason, who gets your vote for CEO of the year?

Jason Moser: Yeah, the more I thought about this, the more clear it became, Chris. I'm going with Marvin Ellison of Lowe's. Forget that shares were up 57 percent this year and outpacing Home Depot and the market. You look over the last three years, the shares were up 170 percent still outpacing Home Depot and obviously outpacing the market. That's about the time he came on board with the company. I really I'm just impressed with what he is doing and I think this year we've seen a lot of signs that his strategies are really starting to play out here. I'll take you back to May 5th, 2018, Chris. The episode of Motley Fool Money, right after Mr. Ellison took over. You and I, we were talking about this and I said on that episode that I'm more of a Home Depot guy, Chris, but I think that Lowe's right now may represent the better opportunity for investors over the coming 3-5. Fast-forward to today, that's panned out pretty nicely. I'm really happy to see all of the things that he's done for the company. Some of the things he's doing that are really starting to work out well for the business; focusing on the pro side of the business, bringing a rental dynamic into the business. 

We know that Home Depot has succeeded immensely with that strategy over the years. I like his focus on building out their private label brand portfolio. The supply chain improvements with this new market delivery model were big and bulky products. Essentially is flow directly from the supply chain to the customers' homes and never even have to really go through the store. He's made some changes here and there over these last three years that have just got this business back on track. Like I said, we always give Home Depot more attention it seems because of its size, because it was margin picture, but you know what? Mr. Ellison has gotten Lowe's back on track and it is a formidable competitor, and it's going to give Home Depot run for its money.

Chris Hill: The Dumbest Investment of 2021? Those awards are next. Stay right here, this is Motley Fool Money. 

Welcome back to Motley Fool Money. Chris Hill here with Jason Moser, Andy Cross, and Ron Gross. It's our year-end review special. Let's face it, guys, not every investment works out. Whether it's an investment in your own portfolio or the way a public company decides to allocate their own capital in 2021. Ron, what gets your vote for the dumbest investment of this year?

Ron Gross: Well, Chris, I think I'm going to need to circle back to my humble pie choice from our Thanksgiving episode, [laughs] because not only is Verizon one of the worst-performing stocks in my personal portfolio for '21, it's also the worst-performing stock in our total income services 2021 Instant Income portfolio. It's down about eight percent in that portfolio versus the market that's up more than 20 percent. Verizon is the third worst-performing stock in the Dow Jones index this year. My main motivation for buying it personally was to play the 5G theme. For the Instant Income portfolio, I was attracted to its steady earnings power, its 4.9 percent dividend yields, which was really nice. So far, though, playing 5G through a carrier like Verizon has not been the right call. 5G rollout has been delayed, sales growth is sluggish, they're spending aggressively, competition is fierce. As I said, does have a nice dividend yield, so that helps mitigate things a bit. Only trading nine times forward earnings. Not great for 2021, but it may be a bargain at these prices. I'm hoping it won't be the dumbest long-term investment I have. I actually don't think it will be.

Chris Hill: Jason Moser, what about you?

Jason Moser: Well, I like the fact that we have the field here to not necessarily happen to just call out our own boneheaded ideas for the year. I'm going to just ignore my bone-headed ideas and focus on, I think, what is someone else's bone-headed idea. I'm really I'm actually a little bit confounded by the Square name change. They recently changed their name to Block. It is very obvious why. Jack Dorsey is clearly a big Bitcoin guy. It feels like that is the reason for the name change. It's reasonable for investors to at least be a little bit concerned, "Is this the direction this business ultimately goes?" Because right now, it is a little bit of a weird assortment. You've got Title, you've got Square, then you've got all this blockchain Bitcoin stuff. You wonder what the priority is going to be. I find myself constantly wanting to call it Cube. Chris, I'm already confused.

Now, here's the thing, though. I don't know if you saw this headline. I actually think there is a decent chance H&R Block is suing Cube or, well, Block, never mind. H&R Block is suing Block for this name change. Now, they contest that people are going to get confused between Block and H&R Block. It sounds funny on its surface, but the more you dig into it, I think that's actually a pretty reasonable concern. H&R Block claims there have already been numerous indications that people are confusing the two. Remember, Block has the tax angle to their business now with that Credit Karma tax acquisition. They are similar businesses. I would not be surprised at all to see a court come in here and tell Block that it needs to change its name again. If that's the case, say listen, maybe Cube is still on the table, I like trapezoid myself, but we'll see.

Chris Hill: I wouldn't be surprised if the people at Block just wrote a big old check to make this problem [laughs] go away. Andy Cross, what's your vote for dumbest investment of 2021?

Andy Cross: Serve me up a slice of that humble pie because I'm going to a SPAC that I invested into and we had recommended actually. CuriosityStream, symbol C-U-R-I. The $32 million market cap. Maker of documentaries. It has more than 5,000 titles under its belt. It's located right here in Silver Spring, Maryland, where I live. We've been public in, well, through a SPAC in 2020. I'm down more than 50 percent in my investment that I made earlier this year. Was founded by John Hendricks, who founded Discovery Channel, and he owns more than 40 percent of the business. He's really invested in this business. I hope I'm more early than dumb on this, Chris. This is the approach I'm taking, more early than dumb. They continue to build out their library, expand their reach, make smart small little acquisitions. They have a high subscriber growth. They are growing revenues and making licensing partnership deals, but the cost structure is really hitting them and clearly a very competitive space. We'll see how CuriosityStream does. I'm somewhat optimistic to be able to get it right and see what Hendricks and his team does as they continue to build the partnership and add more and more subscribers and monetize those subscribers.

Chris Hill: The Nasdaq is up about 20 percent year-to-date, but it is down from its highs and along those lines, a lot of investors, myself included, are looking at stocks that are down from their highs and wondering, "Hey, is this just a rough patch we're going through here, or is this a legitimate problem for this business?" Let's just call this, Jason, our Good Company, Bad Stock segment. In 2021, what do you think is a stock that's had a rough ride, but there's a good company underneath it?

Jason Moser: Sure. I'll go with one that I've recommended, one that I own personally. That's Twilio. The stock is down around 20 percent for the year with a market that has performed fairly well, of course. I wouldn't read too much into that. Twilio, this is a modern-day communications company. It provides the APIs, the digital building blocks, to allow companies to communicate whether it's through video or audio or text, to allow companies to communicate with their customers and vice versa. Management believes the total addressable market for their services are going to reach 87 billion by 2023. Very sticky service. They have more than 250,000 active customer accounts today and will continue to record revenue growth of 30 percent plus annualized here over the next few years. The stock recently got hit on an earnings release. I wouldn't read too much into that. Seems like a little bit of a knee-jerk reaction to what is a very established and growing business.

Chris Hill: Ron, what about you?

Ron Gross: Got to go with Roku. Off 56 percent from its 52-week high. Lots of investors feeling some pain here. For context, though, the return from its September 2017 IPO is plus 1,400 percent. Strong company with a bright future, but the stock got a bit ahead of itself, as did many stocks that benefited from the pandemic. But clearly, we're moving to a cord-cutting world. Pay TV subscribers have declined by more than 23 million since peaking in early 2012. The Roku operating system has become the number 1 selling connected TV operating system in North America with a 38 percent share. As of third quarter, 56.4 million monthly active users. Stock may have been ahead of itself at $490, but at 214, it's looking very interesting to me.

Chris Hill: Andy, we got less than a minute. What do you got?

Andy Cross: Chris, Axon Enterprise is actually is up 17 percent for the year, but 30 percent off its highs. The maker of advanced electronic devices like tasers and body cameras for law enforcement, corrections, legal, justice, military, and civilians. I really like their market share. It's very high. They're a leader in this space with connections with 17,000 out of the 18,000 law enforcement bodies in the US. What's exciting, Chris, is they are building out their product scope, pushing more and more into the Cloud space, trying to connect devices with Cloud, helping to build out that for all different digital evidence management systems, for so many different clients, including global and the military. I like Axon, I like what they're doing, and I like its leadership team with Rick Smith, who owns a very large stake in the business. Hoping for better days ahead for Axon Enterprise.

Chris Hill: For me, the most questionable comment of 2021, we've got some nominees. Stay right here. This is Motley Fool Money. [MUSIC] Welcome back to Motley Fool Money. Chris Hill here with Jason Moser, Andy Cross, and Ron Gross. It is our year review special. We're going to play around, fill in the blanks. So Andy, the stock or business that surprised me the most this year was blank.

Andy Cross: Point, Chris, Bath & Body Works, symbol BBWI, L Brands split off Victoria's Secret went its way, Bath & Body Works went it's way and the stock has just crushed it since then. It's up more than 80 percent for this year. It's now an $18 billion stand-alone company with $13 billion in revenue. Those revenues were up 50 percent, Chris, from 2019. If you look at a two-year picture, which is how they look at the business, revenues are really growing exceptionally high. This is a high-margin retail business still Chris. Retailer margins are pushing into the 20 percent range, mid-20 percent range. Sixty percent of their customers now are buying across two different categories. That's up from 50 percent just a year ago, and they've done a really admirable job managing margins, and costs, and supply chains. A lot of their supply and their chain is tied to the US, so they don't have as much global and international exposure, certainly from the input costs, but not nearly as much other companies. The stock now sells at 15 times 2022 estimates, might be a little bit high for a traditional retailer like this, but they are really getting it done. Admirable company. I was totally surprised by the performance of the business since that separation from Victoria's Secret, so very impressive from Bath & Body Works.

Chris Hill: I will just add for anyone looking to do some last-minute holiday shopping. I just went to the Bath & Body Works website. Those $27 candles, they're on sale for only $17. [laughs] So take advantage of the sale while you can. Jason Moser, stock or business that surprised you the most?

Jason Moser: Well, stock and business, pleasantly surprised with Synaptics, the business that I've recommended a couple of times in my services. Synaptics is a provider of custom designs semiconductor solutions. In their products or things from PCs to mobile devices, smart speakers, AR/VR, head-mounted displays. It's a wide assortment of products that Synaptics technology reaches. I really like management's focus on driving profitability and focusing less on driving that topline growth at whatever costs. I think CEO Michael Harrelson, who's been with the company for a couple of years, that was a primary focus of his. It is working out very well, Chris. The stock is up better than 170 percent this year alone, even after all of the selling that we've seen in December. I think that's even more impressive given the ongoing semiconductor situation that I spoke about earlier.

Chris Hill: What surprised you this year, Ron?

Ron Gross: Boy, did Ford surprise me. Share is up 140 percent this year as the company made electric vehicle production its primary focus. Chief operating officer recently declared that the company plans to become the world's second largest electric vehicle manufacturer within two years, as it ramps up production capacity to 600,000 EVs per year. Huge demand for the company's all electric F150 lightning pickup truck. We've got a new all electric Mustang coming out that seems to be exciting people. In all, Ford is investing more than $11 billion in its electric vehicle production. Management recently said it would reinstate its dividend that had been suspended earlier in the pandemic and they lifted their full-year earnings guidance, so Ford is focused and getting it done.

Jason Moser: [laughs] Oh, man. So good, Ron.

Ron Gross: Thank you.

Chris Hill: When MotorTrend gave their Truck of the Year award to Rivian Automotive, the high-flying stock that doesn't seem to be able to produce actual vehicles just yet, do you think the people at Ford Motor took notice of that? Do you think there's a chance they took notice?

Ron Gross: I'm sure they take notice and they said, "Bring it on, build something and then we'll talk."

Chris Hill: Let's stick with the surprise theme, and Andy, fill in the blank on this. This can be a CEO, this can be a company, you can take this in a couple of different ways. I can't believe that blank is still here.

Andy Cross: Chris, in some ways, I can't believe I'm surprised that Sheryl Sandberg is still the Chief Operating Officer at Facebook, now Meta Platforms. She's clearly one of the most proven, respected tech leader. She's been at Meta since 2008. She's on the board and certainly, part of the inner circle and the partnership with Mark Zuckerberg. However, the last few years have been so stressful. Political, business challenges that Meta is facing, the Cambridge's analytics scandal, which Zuck blamed her and she took the blame for privacy issues, societal concerns or Facebook and Instagram, and certainly the regulatory arrows, not to mention just a shifting dynamic in the advertising space. Miss Sandberg she's pulled back from some of the public duties as Zuckerberg steps up more and more and there's been some stories expressing some concerns about her role and her influence. When I look at all that, even though she is still on the conference calls and she's very active in driving the business strategy, I just think she's got to have a lot of opportunities out there, people knocking on her door talking to her. Maybe some political interest in there at some point, she has a political history. I just wouldn't be surprised if at some point, she does take a step away from Meta and go onto another venture. But, as of right now, she is still there.

Chris Hill: Jason, who or what are you surprised is still around?

Jason Moser: Well, I feel like we've had a lot of fun talking about this one through the years. But I'm still astounded that Blue Apron is around and a publicly traded company. Granted it is barely now at a $235 million market cap, but it's still there, $480 million in trailing 12-month revenue, yes that's down from almost 900 million in 2018. But honestly, I think all four of us probably would've thought that Blue Apron would be gone one way or another by now. It's neat to see they're trying, they're diversifying, they're doing more stuff, they've got wine delivery incorporated, needs that they are selling to consumers now. They're trying to branch out, do more things and that gives them a shot. We all want to bet against them, they're still hear, good for them.

Chris Hill: But to your point, the market cap is such that you have to believe some larger business is looking at them and thinking about a potential acquisition or is it one of those things where the business is such that they just say, "You know what? If we're going to do this, we're going to do this on our own. We don't need to spend money for this."

Jason Moser: I feel like no matter who would consider acquiring this company, it would always be the Blue Apron would need that you're far more than the other way around. At this point, it's such a replicable business. I just think maybe those acquirer days are past.

Chris Hill: Ron Gross?

Ron Gross: I can't believe that Bobby Kotick of Activision is still around. Allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination at Activision. Earlier this year, led to more than 20 employees being fired, 20 more individuals facing other forms of disciplinary action. Kotick's said he would reduce his pay to $62,000 to ensure every available resource is being used to improve the workplace. Good, nice of them to do that. Employees and investor groups have called for his resignation. The National League and Policy Center had issued a formal call to Coca-Cola to remove Kotick from its Board of Directors. The heat has been on for a while, I am surprised that he's been able to withstand that heat.

Chris Hill: If you're the Board of Directors, is anyone looking around that boardroom and saying, "Well, look, there's only one person who can run this business." [laughs] I'm sure it's a complicated business to run but, really, there's no one else?

Ron Gross: No, there are people in the wings, there are people outside the company that could come in. He is Activision in many ways, but at a certain point, you've just got to cut it and start fresh.

Chris Hill: Last fill in the blank. Jason Moser. Blank made the most questionable comment in 2021.

Jason Moser: Oh, Jill Woodworth, CFO of Peloton [laughs] Maybe you're were just saying what you were told to say on the call, but I think you definitely in the running year. Let us just go back a couple of weeks here, a few weeks to their recent earnings call where Ms. Woodworth said on the call, and I quote, "I think just cutting to the chase, we don't see the need for any additional capital raise based on our current outlook. As we mentioned, we're taking significant steps to adjust our expenses across cost of goods sold and operating expenses. With this revised revenue guidance, then we have a lot of levers to pull." What did they do two weeks later, Chris? They announced a one billion dollar offering. [laughs] Somewhere, within that two weeks, lines got crossed, dots were connected. But to me, those are two things that are very at odds with each other. They may want to get on board with communication there, but disappointing to say the least.

Chris Hill: Ron Gross, who gets your vote for most questionable comment of 2021?

Ron Gross: Chris, in January of 2021 in the middle innings of the meme-stock craze that Andy talked about earlier, Elon Musk tweeted one word, "GameStonk." [laughs] With full exclamation points causing GameStop shares to soar 50 percent. His tweet also included a link to Reddit's Wall Street bets stock trading discussion group where supporters referred to him lovingly as Papa Musk.

Chris Hill: End of story. [laughs] Andy Cross, what about you?

Andy Cross: Chris. Now, this is a little achieve because this comment was actually from 2014, but it was revealed this year by CNBC as it went through pages and pages of text by the founder of blood testing company Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes, because she's on trial now. She texted to her boyfriend, then President Sunny Balwani in 2014, "My new life as of this night and forevermore, total confidence in myself as the best business person of the year. Focused, detailed, excellent, don't give what anyone thinks, engage employees in meetings by stories and making it all about them." The fact that she called herself the best business person of the year in 2014, Theranos basically demonstrated to be a fraud. She's now on trial for 11 counter wire fraud and conspiracy and defraud investors. Elizabeth Theranos, you get my award for [laughs] most boneheaded things said at all by calling yourself the best business person of any year.

Chris Hill: Coming up after the break, we've got a basket of stocks on our radar with a theme that ties it all together. Stay right here. You're listening to Motley Fool Money. As always, people on the program may have interest in the stocks they talk about, and The Motley Fool made a formal recommendations for or against. Don't buy yourself stocks based solely on what you hear. Welcome back to Motley Fool Money. Chris Hill here with Jason Moser, Andy Cross, and Ron Gross wrapping up our year and review special. Ron, what was your investing discovery this year? It can be a stock you bought, a book you read, someone you started following on Twitter, take it wherever you want.

Ron Gross: Chris, Aswath Damodaran is an esteemed Professor of finance at NYU Stern School of Business. He was actually my equity valuation teacher when I was in graduate school back in 1994, a very long time ago. He puts all of his lessons and lectures online for free. It's all great stuff. Something else he does that I had moved away from but rediscovered in 2021, is his blog Musings on Markets, filled with wonderful lessons on markets, companies, valuations and lots more. I highly recommended it to investors,

Chris Hill: Jason Moser, what about you?

Jason Moser: Well, Chris, maybe I was a little hard on Block earlier here, so let's give Square some props. I'm a shareholder. I still like the business. If you remember my wife this year, she opened up a little shop here near where we live. It's a little bit of a side gig and she calls it our shop, but really she's the one that does all the hard work. With that said, we go in there and help her out and do some hours behind the counter when I can to keep things moving along for, and we use Square there for our retail operations. I have to say as a user, man, Square is pretty darn good stuff. It was just really nice to see from the customer's perspective, not the user like, if we go buy something, but as the customers, the retail shop owner, I tell you, it's a good user experience and made me feel really good about being an investor.

Chris Hill: Nice. Andy, what about you?

Andy Cross: Chris, J.P. Morgan Asset Management produced a study called the Agony and Ecstasy of Investing, back in 2015. They updated it this year and I love this study because it gives a really good perspective of long term investing. They found over 40 years of data looking at the Russell 3000 which is a wide index of investors of stocks. Forty-four percent of companies fell, 70 percent or more from their highs. Essentially a permanent loss and they never came back. Two-thirds of the stocks under-performed the wider index, the medium returned, they trailed the market by six percent per year, and 42 percent of stocks actually lost money, Chris. But the bright side and what has been driving the market for so many years, really, for decades, is that around 10 percent of those stocks are what they call mega winners. Those are stocks that are up hundreds and hundreds of percent. Just a reminder of Foolish investing principles of owning a wide diverse group of stocks, holding lots of businesses, holding for the long period. If you're holding those winners, those the ones that are going to drive the bulk of your gains, but it does come with that pain at the individual stock level, Chris, that you will likely have some of those trailers and losers in there. Make sure you own lots of different businesses.

Chris Hill: Before we get to the radar stocks, starting in January, we're turning Motley Fool Money into a daily show. We're still going to be doing this episode on Fridays for radio stations across America and for podcast listeners around the world. We're going to be adding more episodes on weekdays with business news analysis, deep dives and more. If you've ever listened to podcasts like Market Foolery, Industry Focus, Motley Fool Answers, think of that as a preview of what's coming in The Motley Fool Money feed in January. We have a lot more in store, and we want you to weigh in on the topics that you enjoy hearing about the most. We have a four questions survey that we're going to put in the description of this episode, just click that link. It shouldn't take more than a minute to fill out, and thank you for doing that. You've heard me say before, The Motley Fool is a growing company. We have more than 600 employees worldwide. As we grow, people get tapped to do other things. 

One of those people is long time producer Mac Greer. Now, if you are member of The Motley Fool services you know, we've been producing a lot more video content, including daily live streams with our investing teams. Mac is one of the people charged with leading that effort, so at the end of this month, he will be stepping away from producing our weekly radio show. This is something he has done since he started at The Motley Fool in 1998. The Motley Fool radio show, the original one hosted by Tom and David Gardner, started on commercial radio that year. It quickly became one of the most listened to shows in the country. Three years later, it made history by becoming the first syndicated show to jump from commercial radio, to a public radio, and within six months, The Motley Fool radio show became the fastest growing show in the history of NPR. Think about that with shows like, All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, it grew faster than all of them. He was instrumental in creating and launching Motley Fool Money. We love Mac, we know he's going to do great things in other parts of our company. We're going to salute him the only way we know how with a Mac Greer themed stocks on our radar. Ron Gross, you're up first.

Ron Gross: Love you, Mac. I've got to go with Crocs, C-R-O-X, not specifically known for his fashion sense. This is a favorite of Mac's, both as a comfortable, durable staple of his wardrobe, but also as a great investment. Crocs is up 1,800 percent over the last five years. Mostly because Mac talks about them every chance he gets. [laughs]

Chris Hill: Let's go to our man behind the glass, Dan Boyd. Dan, thoughts, questions?

Dan Boyd: Yeah, Ron, what style of Crocs do you think Mac is wearing when he goes out for date night with his wife?

Ron Gross: Always the traditional Crocs which goes with everything, Dan.[laughs]

Chris Hill: Jason Moser, what about you?

Jason Moser: Yes. Some will say queso is a Texan birth right. I feel like Mac would agree with that, being from Houston himself. Forget the health scare for Chipotle. I think the real controversy was their queso 1.0. I think we can all agree that no stabilizers was no bueno and we had a lot of fun on and off air with that story. They've gone back to the wealth queso blanco. We'll see if that works, but it's still been a great stock to hang onto, and one that makes me think of Mac every time I see the ticker or get a burrito bowl. Mac, thank you for everything you've done for us. Thank you for everything you've done for me. We love you.

Chris Hill: Dan, question about Chipotle?

Dan Boyd: Yeah. Jason, do you think Mac is more of a bowl, a burrito, a taco guy? What's his order at Chipotle?

Jason Moser: I feel like as I get older, I'm a little bit more health conscious, not much, but I try to eliminate some of that extra sodium in carbs and get away from the burrito and go more toward the bowls, so maybe Mac's a bowl guy. I don't know. I'll have to ask.

Chris Hill: Andy Cross, what about you?

Andy Cross: There maybe no more company associated with Mr. Mac Greer than Costco, the membership warehouse business Mac talked about and shopped at for many years. When Mac joined in 1998, Costco was selling about 30 billion worth of goods. Now it sells, $200 billion worth of revenue, at least. The stock is up 1,790 percent since Mac joined The Motley Fool, turning 10,000 into 188,000. Mac, your wardrobe with as Ron called, thanks to Costco, you are still looking good. If you want to buy tubs in the Nutella, Kirkland dress, shirts, and caskets, Costco is the place and Mac would agree.

Chris Hill: Dan?

Dan Boyd: Yeah. Andy, if Costco stopped selling clothes, where would Mac shop? [MUSIC]

Andy Cross: [laughs] Well, got you, I'd like to say Mac's up to the Lululemon, which he has a little bit, but I think Mac will be hurting a little bit if Costco stops selling those clothes.

Chris Hill: Guys, we're out of time. Thanks so much for being here. That's going to do it for this week's show. Our producer is Mac Greer. It's mixed by Dan Boyd. I'm Chris Hill. We'll see you next week.

JPMorgan Chase is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. Teresa Kersten, an employee of LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Andy Cross owns Block, Inc., Chipotle Mexican Grill, CuriosityStream Inc., EPAM Systems, Home Depot, Merck & Co., Meta Platforms, Inc., Microsoft, Roku, and Twilio. Chris Hill owns Axon Enterprise, Block, Inc., Chipotle Mexican Grill, Costco Wholesale, Home Depot, JPMorgan Chase, Lowes, Microsoft, and Twilio. Jason Moser owns Block, Inc., Chipotle Mexican Grill, and Twilio. Ron Gross owns Bitcoin, Block, Inc., Costco Wholesale, Meta Platforms, Inc., Microsoft, and Twilio. The Motley Fool owns and recommends Axon Enterprise, Bitcoin, Block, Inc., Chipotle Mexican Grill, Costco Wholesale, CuriosityStream Inc., EPAM Systems, Home Depot, Meta Platforms, Inc., Microsoft, Peloton Interactive, Roku, and Twilio. The Motley Fool recommends Lowes and Synaptics and recommends the following options: long January 2022 $75 calls on Activision and long January 2022 $75 puts on Activision. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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