Last week, on Jan. 20, Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. With Democrats also holding very slim margins in the House of Representatives and Senate, it’s fairly safe to assume that policy changes are on the way.
But change isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the stock market. The next few years should be characterized by historically low lending rates, ongoing quantitative easing measures by the Federal Reserve (i.e., regular bond-buying), and plenty of fiscal stimulus out of Washington. In other words, we might be at the very beginning of a robust Biden bull market.
The question, as always, is where to put your money to work?
If you have $10,000 at the ready, which won’t be needed to cover bills or emergencies, the following five stocks are the best way to take advantage of a bull market with Biden in the White House.
Fastly’s job is simple: It secures and expedites the delivery of content to end users. With the pandemic disrupting societal norms and the traditional work environment, there’s been an even greater reliance on the solutions Fastly provides. This demand isn’t going away in a post-pandemic environment, and it’s allowed the company to pick up a number of world-class customers, including large-cap companies Pinterest and Shopify.
Last year also served as a learning experience for Fastly’s shareholders. Despite the company’s largest customer (TikTok) pulling traffic off of its network due to a spat stateside with the Trump administration, investors were able to clearly see that Fastly’s business model has grown well beyond a single customer. Total customer count was up 96 in the September-ended quarter from June 2020, with its dollar-based net expansion rate (DBNER) jumping 10 percentage points to 147% from the sequential second quarter. This big jump in DBNER implies that its clients are growing and relying on Fastly’s solutions more than ever. This is a company whose success should continue under President Biden.
You might not think of bank stocks as the best place to park your money with the Federal Reserve maintaining a historically dovish stance on monetary policy. But if you have $10,000 to spare, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to put some of it to work in one of the country’s most efficient regional banks, U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB).
The first thing most investors will note about U.S. Bancorp is its superior return on assets (ROA). This is a bank that’s avoided the riskier derivative investments that derailed money-center banks during the Great Recession. By focusing on the bread-and-butter of banking (i.e., loan and deposit growth), it’s been able to maintain an ROA of closer to 1.6% when 1% is the line-in-the-sand goal for most regional banks. Since we’re in the early stages of an economic recovery, it also wouldn’t be a surprise to see the yield curve steepen and interest income improve modestly for U.S. bank stocks.
The other reason investors should love U.S. Bancorp is its operating efficiency. It’s invested heavily in digitization and has seen a big uptick in customers banking online or with its app. Between August 2018 and August 2020, the number of loan sales completed digitally nearly doubled from 28% to 54%. Because so many of its consumers are willing to bank online or by app, U.S. Bancorp has been able to consolidate its branches and reduce its noninterest expenses.
These are results that I believe investors can bank on under the new administration.
Another industry with incredible potential that can thrive with Biden in the White House is cybersecurity. As businesses shift online and into the cloud in a post-pandemic world, the onus of enterprise and consumer-data protection is increasingly falling on third-party businesses. This is where CrowdStrike Holdings (NASDAQ:CRWD) can stand out.
One of the key aspects that separates CrowdStrike’s security platform (Falcon) from its peers is that it’s cloud-native. Having been built within the cloud, Falcon leans on artificial intelligence to oversee and assess more than 3 trillion events each week. It’s a platform that’s growing smarter with each event, and it’s generally faster at recognizing threats than on-premises security solutions.
What’s more, CrowdStrike’s customers seem to love the product. At the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2018, only 9% of its clients had four or more cloud-module subscriptions. By the end of Q3 2021 (3.5 years later), 61% of its clients had four or more cloud-module subscriptions. The bulk of CrowdStrike’s margin is derived from getting existing clients to spend more.
Don’t be shocked if CrowdStrike’s sales growth accelerates in the coming years.
Bristol Myers Squibb
Among pharmaceutical stocks, Bristol Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) is perhaps the best stock you can buy for a Biden bull market. Although drug-price reform has seemingly been on Congress’s docket for a decade, it’s unlikely to materialize with so many other issues that need attention. That paves the way for cash cow Bristol Myers Squibb to shine.
Bristol really made waves in 2019 when it purchased Celgene in a cash-and-stock deal. Celgene is the company behind multiple myeloma drug Revlimid, which is one of the top-selling drugs in the world. Label expansion opportunities, strong pricing power, and improved duration of use have powered sales of Revlimid higher for over a decade. With this key drug protected from an onslaught of generic competition for another five years (through January 2026), Revlimid is going to generate a mountain of cash for its new owner.
Bristol Myers Squibb is generating plenty of organic growth, too. Eliquis, which was developed in cooperation with Pfizer, has become the leading oral anticoagulant. Meanwhile, cancer immunotherapy Opdivo is capable of generating close to $7 billion in annual sales, and it has dozens of label expansion opportunities that are currently being explored.
If you dig value stocks, you can pick up shares of Bristol Myers Squibb for less than 9 times Wall Street’s projected per-share profit in 2021.
Buffett might be a bit “old school” in his evaluation process, but it’s hard to argue against the results. Not including 2020, Berkshire Hathaway’s share price had returned an average of 20.3% annually over the previous 55 years. To put this into some context, $100 invested in Berkshire Hathaway at the end of 1964 would have been worth more than $2.7 million by the end of 2019. Buffett and his team have a knack for picking out plain-as-day values and hanging onto those investments for a long time.
The Berkshire Hathaway investment portfolio is also packed with cyclical companies. In the neighborhood of 90% of invested assets are tied up in information technology, consumer staples, and financial stocks. These are companies that perform well when the economy is firing on all cylinders. Even though recessions are inevitable, periods of economic expansion tend to far outlast short periods of recession.
In other words, Buffett’s company is perfectly positioned for an economic recovery under Joe Biden.