President Donald J. Trump is not a man who lives with regrets. However, after staging a press conference near the end of February to reassure the American people regarding the coronavirus pandemic, he may be wishing right now for a do-over. At the time, Trump “boasted” about having the country having only 15 cases. Now, that number is much higher. Still, if you’ve got the nerve, it’s an opportune time for certain stocks to buy.
Of course, it doesn’t look that way at the moment. As I write this, the coronavirus has infected a total of 93,217 people, with 3,203 deaths. The worst hit is China — where the virus originated – with over 80,000 cases. However, the infection rate in South Korea, Italy, and Iran have alarmed onlookers. Combined, they account for over 10,000 cases.
Naturally, this doesn’t bode well for most stocks to buy. Despite central banks’ efforts to calm the markets, they remain volatile due to implications over the economy and the very real possibility of supply chain disruptions.
Back home coronavirus cases ballooned to 128. Further, nine people have died from the outbreak, all in Washington. According to microbiology experts there, the virus may have been spreading for weeks in the impacted areas. Not surprisingly, panic has overtaken the state, with NBC News reporting that Seattle is a ghost town.
Again, this is not a great look for stocks to buy that are levered to international markets. However, the present crisis may provide a speculative opportunity for “stay-at-home” businesses. After all, outright avoidance seems to be the best policy.
For those with an adventurous spirit, here are nine stocks to buy if the coronavirus grounds you.
Streaming giant Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) seems like a ridiculously logical play on the coronavirus outbreak. And by ridiculous, I just mean that it seems too good to be true. With schools and businesses shutting down, many have nothing left but time on their hands. What better way to spend it then binge-watching your favorite shows? That’s the intuitive narrative behind NFLX stock.
The thing is, everybody knows this. And when all the gamblers bet on the same horse, the reward is usually minimal. But that’s not the case at all with Netflix stock. Instead, Netflix shares are up double digits for the year, despite some turbulent waters to start the month of March.
Should the coronavirus worsen – and that’s what the evidence suggests – the streaming giant is one of the more viable stocks to buy in the nearer term.
Trade Desk (TTD)
For those in the know, Trade Desk (NASDAQ:TTD) is an incredibly compelling name that will advantage the transition from linear television to connected TV. With the cord-cutting phenomenon accelerating, advertisers are scrambling to effectively reach their audience under this paradigm shift. Trade Desk specializes in maximizing those ad dollars through a combination of market research and data science.
Unsurprisingly, TTD stock has ranked highly among most lists of stocks to buy. Furthermore, the underlying company blitzkrieged their latest earnings report, exceeding targets for both profitability and revenue. As well, management promised to make strong investments in high-growth areas, including global expansion.
Sounds great, except for this coronavirus deal. However, in an email that I received from Trade Desk’s team, they reported that the outbreak hasn’t really impacted their business. In their words, advertisers are still advertising. That might be enough for you to consider TTD stock.
Streaming has many advantages, among them the ability to watch content when you want to. Further, streaming platforms provide flexibility, where you only pay for the content you actually watch. And these are the core reasons why Roku (NASDAQ:ROKU) has consistently topped lists of stocks to buy in the over-the-top market. With coronavirus, ROKU stock may enjoy a surprising catalyst.
As with Netflix, many folks will of course tune into Roku’s intuitive platform. When you’re hunkering down, mimicking your favorite characters from “The Walking Dead,” you quickly realize that self-quarantining is boredom personified. Nothing helps whittle away the hours than streaming your favorite programs.
But those who are on traditional TV services will quickly realize that they’re limited in their options. In contrast, platforms like Roku facilitate on-demand viewing. This coronavirus-led downtime may help people realize what they’re missing out. Theoretically, this augurs well for ROKU stock.
As a blue-chip stalwart, Disney (NYSE:DIS) features an incredibly ugly chart. Along with the major indices, DIS stock plunged into the abyss during the final week of February. Its present recovery effort looks uninspiring, if I’m being honest. On a year-to-date basis, shares of the Magic Kingdom have fallen nearly 20%.
Given the technical posture of DIS stock, I’d be surprised if it didn’t drop further. So, why am I including it in this list of stocks to buy? Primarily, investors justified the premium in Disney shares well before the coronavirus struck. Stated differently, the coronavirus will someday fade, meaning that any dips over the next few months are huge discounts.
Second, DIS stock is a comprehensive investment. Headwinds such as Japan closing Tokyo Disneyland till mid-March impose sharply negative implications. However, keep in mind that Disney’s recently launched streaming platform is a huge success (even I’m a paying subscriber). Therefore, it’s a speculative but reasonable bet for “quarantined” stocks to buy.
It’s a tired statistic but I’m going to mention it anyways. Thanks to the mass proliferation of e-commerce, online revenue represents more than 11% of all retail sales. It’s one of the pivotal reasons why Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is found in galleries featuring the best long-term stocks to buy. Additionally, the company is the ultimate disrupter, sticking its nose into everything from cloud computing to groceries.
As such, you might want to buy AMZN stock just so that you don’t get steamrolled. While Amazon is sucking the life out of the mom and pops, there’s no stopping this behemoth.
The company’s dominance also got me thinking: self-quarantining for many folks – particularly the younger generation – may not be a bad gig. After all, digitalization for retail focuses almost exclusively on bringing commerce into the comfort of your living room. Since Amazon shopping addicts self-quarantine anyways, perhaps AMZN stock may avoid the worst of the coming volatility.
Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL)
Two things come to mind when I think about Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) as a possible candidate for stocks to buy: SEO and advertising. Although I didn’t check, I’m sure that inquiries regarding the coronavirus have dominated Google’s search engines. I myself probably contributed to a good 10% of those searches. And that intense interest leads to advertising opportunities.
Invariably, after a user is done reading about the coronavirus, he or she is bombarded with supposed protections against the outbreak, such as a face mask. The spike in interest has allowed entrepreneurs – or should I use the term scalpers? – to raise premiums to absurd levels. You can say what you want about price gouging, but for GOOGL stock, it’s all money in the bank.
As well, people who are stuck at home won’t have much to do. This encourages more web surfing, and thus more opportunities for online advertisements. Even for a huge company like Alphabet, the increased traffic should be notable, thus driving the case for GOOG stock.
For me, the biggest worry about the coronavirus isn’t so much the health threat, though it is a significant danger. Rather, it’s the economic impact. Companies like Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), Alphabet, and Amazon have encouraged or offered some of their employees to work from home. That might be music to the ears of the lucky workers. But for the concerned organizations, this move also represents loss of productivity, among other negatives.
Nevertheless, for smaller businesses that contract certain jobs out to independent contractors, the coronavirus’ impact is limited. Since they’re already used to outsourcing, more outsourcing won’t damage their operations. Because of this unique situation, more investors may consider Fiverr (NYSE:FVRR) and FVRR stock.
Fiverr is very similar to employment agencies. But rather than connecting employers to employees, Fiverr connects contracts with contractors. As such, FVRR stock is a direct play on the gig economy. And with the pandemic forcing everyone to rethink the paradigm of work, Fiverr is one of the more exciting stocks to buy.
Slack Technologies (WORK)
Due to the advent of software innovations and cloud computing, it’s easier than ever to work from home. Now, most employees would prefer telecommuting, but they often run into resistance with their bosses. Call me cynical, but I believe most employer-employee relations operate on a leery, skeptical platform. However, the coronavirus may shift this thinking toward a productive path. As well, it may also move the needle for Slack Technologies (NYSE:WORK) and WORK stock.
One of the reasons given for rejecting telecommuting is the lack of communication and accountability. Obviously, when you’re not in the office, no one knows what the heck you’re doing. But with Slack’s digital office tools, project leaders can assign tasks and responsibilities through a communication portal. Among the many benefits is that it prevents (in theory) people from asking stupid questions: whatever documents or information you need can be placed in an organized folder.
Interestingly, WORK stock is up big this year despite some recent turbulence. The outbreak may have added another catalyst to the underlying thesis.
Among the stocks to buy on this list, Uber (NYSE:UBER) is probably the riskiest for the nearer term. Although ride sharing is one of the most innovative concepts forwarded in the digitalization era, we must remember that we’re still far away from fully automated taxis. Thus, the human element still exists for UBER stock and that’s not a positive during a health crisis.
As reported by CNBC, reports of discrimination have recently dogged ride-sharing companies as some drives refuse to pick up people of Asian descent. Personally, I think this is so stupid. You should avoid all people if possible.
I imagine that as the coronavirus worsens in the U.S. and abroad, the incentive for drivers will decline precipitously. At the same time, Uber Eats is a growing component of the company’s business. And with so many people cooped up in their homes, food delivery services could experience a demand surge.
Still, a lot can go wrong with this idea. Therefore, if you want to bet on UBER stock, do so carefully.