The best and worst of 2019… and my favorite ideas for 2020

Happy New Year!

It’s New Year’s Day, and yes, I’m doing a podcast for you.

I don’t have a guest today, but I begin by recapping the best and worst performing sectors of 2019. I break down a lot of individual companies—both winners and losers—and give you some of my favorite ideas heading into 2020. 

I also give you my thoughts on the winners and losers this holiday season, and explain why you need to pay attention to a massive rotation happening in stocks right now… 

Inside this episode:
  • The winners and losers of 2019, plus where to look—and what to avoid—in 2020… [00:35]
Transcript

Wall Street Unplugged | 702

The best and worst of 2019... and my favorite ideas for 2020

Announcer: Wall Street Unplugged looks beyond the regular headlines heard on mainstream financial media to bring you unscripted interviews and breaking commentary direct from Wall Street, right to you on Main Street.

Frank Curzio: What’s going out there? It’s January 1st. Yes, and a podcast on January 1st, so Happy New Year. I’m Frank Curzio, host of the Wall Street Unplugged Podcast, where I break down the headlines and tell you what’s really moving these markets.

Frank Curzio: Let’s go, Eagles. I’m so disappointed in this team. Not so much in offense, or three top wide receivers, running backs, offensive linemen, but their defense was supposed to be top five this year, and it was just terrible. They were throwing on them like crazy. It was horrible. But the last four weeks, and I know that schedule’s been pretty easy, but, that defense has been lights out. I got to tell you, if the Eagles continue to get that kind of pressure on the quarterback, now that they’re in the playoffs, they won the division, I mean, they could play with anyone in the NFC. I’m not saying that they’re going to go to the Super Bowl, very far from that, and I don’t know if they can compete with Baltimore anyway, who’s unbelievable. But, it’s just nice seeing the team rally around Wentz the way they rallied around Foles.

Frank Curzio: What Wentz has done this year is, I mean, the most amazing stat you’ll ever hear in football, Wentz is the first quarterback in the history of the NFL to throw for over 4000 yards but have zero of his wide receivers have over 500 yards receiving. That’s insane. That tells you it’s someone that improvised, uses tight ends as running backs, pretty amazing, playing with heart, and they don’t have the talent. They’re not going to win the Super Bowl. But, man, it’s cool to watch after such a disappointing year for most of the year. And, when it comes to Wentz, I finally think that this team has his back, which I was questioning at the beginning of the year. Anyway, sorry I had to start there. I had to start there. It was great, Eagles last two games. Man, NFL, San Francisco and Seattle, what an ending to that game. But I had to start there a little bit. Pretty slow week.

Frank Curzio: Anyway, I wanted to get out a podcast to you today, even though it’s New Year’s Day, so I’m going to keep this short and sweet. No interview today. A lot of freestyling here. Wrote down some figures, couple stocks, not a couple stocks, but get your pens and papers out because I’m probably going to, I would say, close to 50 different stocks, ideas, sectors. I’m going to break down everything in 2019, what I’m seeing right now in the markets, and then give you some ideas, things I’m looking for in 2020. If you look at the S&P 500, it’s up close to 30% this year. One of the highest percentage gains in over 20 years. This comes off of a 6% loss in 2018, which actually the S&P 500 declined 20% off its highs from September to December last year.

Frank Curzio: The Nasdaq, which is very tech heavy and you guys know how great that sector is out before, especially the large caps, close to 35%. This comes off of 4% loss in 2018. I started looking at different sectors that are outperformed and underperformed. I mean defense aerospace up close to 40% this year. I mean you’re looking at Lockheed, Raytheon, Northrop. I mean these stocks are all up over 45% this year, incredible. Before, it was a big laggard in this industry, more like an infrastructure company, but it’s in this sector. It is down 44%. Especially pharmaceuticals. Pharmaceuticals also had a pretty good year. Merrimack only up 20%, underperformed in the overall market, but Pfizer’s down year to date but if you look at Marathi up 187%. Direct Corp up 500%. Dimera up 100%. There are a lot of individual names that have done fantastic in that space.

Frank Curzio: Computer hardware company is led by Apple, and it is a sector that was up 42%. Apple is up 80% year to date, what a year. Seagate, Western Digital also up over 50%, Western Digital up over 50%, about 52%. Western Digital up around 60% so both of those companies up over 60%. Cloud Computer Processing great year, up over 40% as well. Digimarc, Mara Holdings up 1200% year to date. Fiserv up 62%. RingCentral up 100%, again just throwing some names at you that outperform. Semi’s had a monster year. The sector is up 50% year to date. AMD up 150% also AMD came off a great year the previous year. Applied Materials up 80%. Cyprus up 80% which was a former holding. Intel up 30% which is a holding, did very well Intel this year. Micron up 60%. edX be up 60%. Skyworks up 80%.

Frank Curzio: Lots and lots of winners here especially those who operate in the bigger secular trends. Like IoT, artificial intelligence, data analytics, self-driving cars. And for me self-driving cars, I’ve been doing a lot of research on this industry, and kind of questioning it, no so much where the Semi’s are going to make money they are getting a massive amount of orders. Everyone’s turning to self-driving autonomous vehicles. Electric cars especially, I mean looking at electric cars, a monster market. At least that is what everybody predicts.

Frank Curzio: I don’t know if those projections are going to be made, I mean electric car market, I probably spend three, four days with, lithium, the whole entire sector, you are basically, and the reason why I am looking at this industry is because when it came to CMG natural gas for cars and trucks, I was one of the early adopters there. And I thought it would be a monster industry, monster industry. I mean the prices were right, natural gas prices were down, it just made sense. But you know what really crushed that industry was the infrastructure, there was no infrastructure. There was some but not a ton, and there are still trucks that use CMG, that’s fine.

Frank Curzio: But when I look at the electric vehicle, and people charging. There is just not enough infrastructure, there is some, but are you really going to get mom and pop to basically charge their battery, maybe in the garage, have something attached to their home? And it’s a big learning curve, and people are not begging for this technology. They are not begging for it, they don’t really, you know… self-driving cars? I mean people like driving, it’s relaxing for some people.

Frank Curzio: I like to drive, I can’t picture jumping into a car that is going to drive itself to the supermarket or where I have to buy something that’s 10, 15 minutes away. There are gas stations everywhere, it’s very easy, I mean, you are talking about a big change in culture, and yet everybody just has their 2030 figures. Like, wow, there is going to be 20, 30, 40 million electric vehicles on the market. I’m not there, I just don’t see it. Does it mean semiconductor companies are going to do bad, does it mean that a lot of the car companies are going to do bad? Again, everybody is turning to this industry, electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles.

Frank Curzio: I’m going to see CES in a couple of days, going to go over the best technologies there. Please follow me at Twitter, @FrankCurzio. Lot of live things, going to be interviewing people, I’m bringing a film crew with me, it’s going to be awesome. It’s going to be from the sixth to the ninth. I’m going from the fifth to the 10th, but it’s sixth, seven, eight, ninth, we will be there interviewing, sampling new technologies like I do every year. Came back with so many great ideas from that show. Really have it down with science, because if you go there you are going to be lost.

Frank Curzio: There are 4,000 companies, probably 3,500 don’t need to be there. Robots, drones flying around, crazy, so many things going on, but for me, I’ve been doing it for such a long time, I really pin pointed where the best technologies are. Who to talk to about the best companies that present with the best products. I have a media badge thanks to my podcast, so I get to see the show stoppers, the best products and they always have the CS Awards for maybe a couple of hundred products. I get to see the early, this way I get to go to their booths and talk to those management teams. But it’s really stock focused, it’s not really technology. It’s technology obviously, but it’s where we can find publicly traded companies that are undervalued in this sector and that have great technology. CES is every January, first, second week in January, and these are the companies that announce their new technologies, their new products, their new devices, for the whole next year.

Frank Curzio: So you are able to see a lot of catalysts, you are able to see, wow, this thing is coming out, this is awesome, this is a great product, it won awards. And the people that I talk to are my sources there, they point you in the right direction of companies that just got booths late, that may be on the side of a wall in the middle of nowhere, and hey these guys have great technology, they wanted to be here, they basically signed up a month ago, a couple of weeks ago. But nobody really knows about them, because it’s a little company in the corner. But just having the right contacts in that industry is fantastic.

Frank Curzio: You know, autonomous vehicles are huge, every major car company is there, everyone. Displaying their new cars, new technologies, lots of pictures and videos. Again follow me on Twitter for all this, trust me it’s going to be worth it.

Frank Curzio: So the semi’s that are doing the best are the ones focusing on the biggest trends. However, like I said, I’m not, electric cars, self-driving vehicles, I think we are much further out than what the projections suggest because we still need infrastructure and we still need to convince the public that electric vehicles are cool. They are great, they are awesome, and we haven’t done that yet. How many have been sold? A million last year? I mean hardly any compared to the overall market.

Frank Curzio: Now, we just talked about the best performing industries, let’s talk about the worst performing industries. Because this is important guys, there is a big shift going on, there is a huge shift, and it’s from growth to value. I’m seeing the smart money when you look at the 13F’s, I’m seeing a lot of these companies just pop tremendously, one of the ones that come to mind is MyTelenor Portfolio, it’s done fantastic. And companies just left for dead, had lots of problems, but man, where ever it was, 40, went down to 10, we recommended it, now 20, 30% of the name’s doing well. But there is a lot of depressed names that were trading at levels that were so mispriced that they popped and you know I covered this on past segments of my podcast, Stamps.com, should have been trading an $30, and it’s $80.

Frank Curzio: But pay attention to this industry, not saying these are buys, but it’s a good starting point. The worst is apparels, specifically retail, you are looking at AOE is down 25%. Chico is down 35%. Duluth down 60%. Foot Locker down 25%. GAP and all brands down 35%. Children’s Place down 25%. Stein Mart down 40%. Not everything is bad in apparel. TJX up 36%. Raw Stores up 37% year to date and for the year. But mostly there are smaller retail receives that most of their sale through apparel have gotten crushed.

Frank Curzio: Grocery stores, Natural Grocers, iFresh, AMCON, among the biggest losers, the sector was only up 6% this year. On a normal year that sound pretty good, but again we are up 30% on S&P 500. Drug stores, Walgreens down 13%. CVS was up 13%, again still underperform. We had Rite Aid that was up 40%, a lot of that that was due to this massive move over the past month and a half, two months or so. But Rite Aid has a billion-dollar marc cap compared to $50 billion for Walgreens, I think it’s a $100 billion for CVS, so overall, drug stores not really doing too well, underperforming.

Frank Curzio: Tire companies, got wrecked this year. Goodyear, Cooper Tire, MeriTyre. Terrible. That sector is down 16% this year. Iron and steel companies, US Steel down 40% this year. Suncor, Timken steel, General steel, Allegheny Technology, all down for the year. Chemical companies, not terrible they were up 10% but again significantly underperformed. Avmor, Chemours, Rayonier Advanced Materials, that was down 60%. Valvoline, WD-40, relatively flat in the year, tiny gains there.

Frank Curzio: Not all technology did great, look at computer network companies like, Juniper, 5F, Silicom, not good years. Energy, which you guys know about, underperformed most of the year starting to come back a little bit in December. Chesapeake down 60% on the year. Cabot down 27%. EQT down 47%. Occidental down 34%. Range Resources down 53%. Southwestern Energy down 38%. Even the majors in the higher tier names underperformed. CVX was up 9% which is okay. Conaco was only up 2%. Marathon only up 1%. Exxon was flat on the year. Sunverge up 8%. Halliburton down 10%, and some really big under performers.

Frank Curzio: Transportation Logistic Companies, Expedia is in that group down 3%. FedEx, horrible year down 7%. UPS, the bright spot in the group, up 20%, but again still underperforming in the market around 15%.

Frank Curzio: Now why am I sharing all of these garbage names with you? I shouldn’t call them all garbage, they are brand names, they just had a bad year. Start looking at the list of names that have underperformed, I mentioned earlier if value is back, hedge fund managers are looking for super depressed companies that are miss priced simply because they are in a weak industry.

Frank Curzio: It’s already happening, you got to see in December, even last week, Goodyear upgraded, surprise, Bank of America just came out they predict ExxonMobil could surge 50% this year, this year alone. Mostly because they are going to be selling non-core assets, so smart money falling into Occidental. You are seeing this rotation of the smart money from technology and some of these other sectors a little bit, not selling all their technology, but they are rotating to energy and materials.

Frank Curzio: Even airlines is a sector I love, Delta, Southwest up 16% year to date, and you know Southwest is linked to the Max, and the Max is going to be in the air probably by March, April. So I think Boeing is a fantastic buy here, going to see that growth no matter what, there is nothing they can do, nobody could get those orders anyplace else, you only have two, you have Airbus and you have Boeing. Two companies that control 90% of the industry.

Frank Curzio: The Airbus can’t take on any more capacity and plus this plane is going to save, The Max is, billions in cost over the life of the fleet of these planes. Could be 20, 25 years. So those orders are all there, that money is going to come in. They are going to see revenue increase 40, 50% by next year. Maybe it gets pushed out another three, four months depending on the timeframe. The Max is going to be launched, it’s going to be out there, it’s going to be one of the safest planes.

Frank Curzio: Boeing did a great thing, a great thing business wise, that’s what you do when the shit hits the fan and you have major problems, well you need to throw somebody under the bus, and it’s got to be a powerful name. So it’s the CEO, they probably gave him a nice golden parachute, here is $50 million go have fun, “Yeah cool, okay bye.” And now everything that happens going forward they blame on that guy. Which is cool, smart, that’s how a business works. It’s actually big biz, get rid of the top guy, make sure it’s a big splash and Boeing went up because of that.

Frank Curzio: But getting back to these depressed names. You are seeing that rotation, seeing lots of names come off their lows, they were down 40, 50, 60%, that popped up 100% off their lows. What does that mean? It means a stock at 10 went down to two or three and then it goes to six, that’s a 100% from three to six and you are like wow, look at this gain. It’s still down tremendously for the year though, from 10 to six.

Frank Curzio: But you are seeing just total sell offs, a lot of algorithms coming into play, these things they just run to the exits immediately and we have been picking off names like crazy for CRA and CVO. There are some nice gains in those portfolios, so if you want to find the names that are underperforming, go to CSIMarket.com, pretty cool site. I don’t get paid by anybody, I’m trying to find free sites for you, but CSIMarket.com. And if you have trouble finding it just put into Google, worst performing sectors in stocks CSI, and it’s going to come up.

Frank Curzio: It’s going to list all the names, year to date, the sectors that have underperformed the most, and then you can gut the sectors and get into individual stocks and you can scroll down the page and they are going to have 50 of the 100 worst performing stocks. I got to tell you there are a lot of brand names on that list that are going to surprise you. I’m not saying all of them are buys, but start looking into some of those names. I’m not telling you to sell all technology, or your growth names, especially tech, health care, financials, by far the biggest outperforming sectors in 2019. Look at Apple, Microsoft, Google, JP Morgan, United Health from a technical standpoint, all breaking with very positive going to 2020.

Frank Curzio: And for those of you who are worried about the market going higher next year, because we are coming off one of the best years in 20 years performance wise, S&P 500. Well the last time we saw similar gains, 35% annual gain, S&P 500, up around 30%. But that was in 1995. At 37.5% the S&P popped, and in that year which was pretty cool, the FED cut rates three times that year. Just like they cut this year. So what happened after 1995? For the next four years the market doubled. So if you are thinking, wow, look at the market really surge, it doubled, over the next four years, last time this happened. And we could see that. We definitely could see that, even when I look at the DOW components, the DOW index is up 22% this year, much less than the S&P 500. Why? Because S&P 500 is filled with the top tech names that have skyrocketed this year.

Frank Curzio: But there were only seven DOW components that outperform the S&P 500: Visa, Nanotechnologies, Procter and Gamble, Microsoft, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Apple. The worst performers: Walgreens lost 13%, Boeing was only up 1%, and Pfizer was down 10%, Exxon up relatively flat, up about a percent. 3M was down 7%. I’m not saying that by the dogs of the DOW as an index, don’t do that. But there are several individual names. A lot of them up less than 10% that are very attractive right now. I think they are going to have a great year in 2020.

Frank Curzio: Again, these are the largest stocks, it’s not like you are paying me to recommend the largest stocks in the DOW, but we have done well when it comes to DOW components. I recommended some of these stocks. I love Boeing here, that revenue is going to come in, it’s going to be a little choppy over the next three to four months, but I would establish a position.

Frank Curzio: That’s interesting, I’m saying not to sell growth and you are looking at the charts setting up nice, and we have this momentum train but two weeks ago I was saying I’m cautions on 2020. Because everyone and their mothers bullish, everyone, you don’t see a bearish analyst anywhere. Even the biggest bears are bullish right now. Plus there are lots of funds that underperform, not outperform. But they underperform, it’s hard to outperform the market when it’s a screaming bull market like this. But there is a lot of cash on the sidelines right now. A lot of this could make their way into equities going forward, and we will see.,

Frank Curzio: Now, cost on 2020, from an indices’ standpoint, I don’t know where they are going to be. I just know that over my 25 year career, when everyone’s leaning on one side the opposite happens. I’m not saying we are going to have a 20, 30% crash, but, for me 10% to 20% gains in the S&P 500, those are the predictions I’m seeing from the major research firms out there. Which is a huge jump coming off this year, I don’t know where the indices are going to hang. What I do know is that it’s a stock pickers market, and it’s been that way for the last six months. Where you are finding mispriced assets, where you thought they were mispriced, where value and algorithms pushed these things even further down years ago.

Frank Curzio: But there are a lot of great opportunities out there that I’m seeing, excited for 2020, in terms of my new sort of CVO, CRA, it’s Curzio Venture Opportunities and Curzio Research Advisory. But again, it sounds like, well your cautions or your bullish it. I’m bullish on individual stocks, there are a lot if individual names that do great. I don’t know if you are looking at the markets mostly skewed by the large technology companies killing it, even the DOW, with Apple and Microsoft. Microsoft is up 55%, Apple is up over 80%.

Frank Curzio: So large cap technology really pushed these index’s up, but if you look overall, it’s a lot of stocks even brand name stocks just got waked in 2019. And when you look at the 13F’s, where if you manage over $100 million, you have to list all your buys and sell on the equity market, and your holdings. There is a lot of money going into these depressed sectors right now.

Frank Curzio: I’m going to end this with a nice podcast, lots of names, lots of research. This is the research I am doing now, especially heading into the CES and conference season. I’m going to be going crazy, you are going to see me everywhere. Love this part of the year. Everybody kind of relaxing, for me this is when you start doing your homework on these sectors, on these names, who you like, who you don’t like. Which ones were sold because they were so depressed for tax all season. Which names have been inflated for window dressing their funds, everyone wants to say the own Apple and Microsoft. But this is a time to really dig deep and look for some great names.

Frank Curzio: So I will end this with things that I saw during the holiday season. I bought an Apple Watch for my wife. They were out of stock everywhere, every Target, every Walmart, everywhere in North Florida, every place. Except for the AT&T stores, which I got lucky. So I was able to get it. This was about a week before everybody was sold out of the new one. The five and even the four, you could get the three which is nothing, again you know what Apple does with their technology, and they make it so you have to upgrade your technology, they actually admitted that and got fined for that, which is fine. They do what most companies do, right. They want you to buy their new product every single year so they have to make those older products obsolete if they can. Went to three different Targets, all were crowded. Walmart’s, jam-packed. Best Buy may be the biggest winner. I mean I have been a bull for Best Buy for a long time, received a lot of shit on it, which is cool. I get it, I understand, sucks all-time high.

Frank Curzio: But, people say, “well Best Buy, so we are tired of retail all companies go out of business.” Well that’s the thing, everybody went out of business except for them. And you can say, “Wow, their biggest sellers are TV’s.” They don’t make high margins on it, they make huge margins on TV’s, not directly but indirectly. And with the TV’s and those prices, you could buy a 55″ for 500 bucks, 300 bucks, 400 bucks, depending on the quality. I’m going to see the best TV’s again at CES, amazing lots of 8K now. Everything is kind of 4K-ish. All the new technologies, OLED, Samsung’s technology. But for Best Buy don’t be fooled, because when you are looking at what they sell they make a fortune from Geek Squad. So let’s say if they sell a TV for almost break even, for $1,000. They are charging anywhere from $99 to $299 for set up and installation, and these TV’s are so big and so cheap you need a mount. There, you’re making good margins on the mounting.

Frank Curzio: Now most people don’t know how to do that and you don’t want to do that either. Even if you do, because if you mess up your TV’s going to fall and crack and break and you’re done, right off the wall, and you are going to have a massive hole in the wall. So you want this professionally installed, got to call Geek Squad.

Frank Curzio: Now they have a special, its $299 for warranty of every single product you buy in Best Buy for a year. I thought that was a great deal. Especially if you buy a nice flat screen TV, surround sound, which a lot of people are upgrading their surround sound systems. Because these TV’s are so beautiful, oh hey, I want the whole thing, I want the whole package. That probably is even more money to Geek Squad, because they have to set all this up. So you look at the margins on TV’s individually may be low, but to mount them set them up, also get a surround sound system and set that up, you are looking at 20, 30% margins on the TV’s that they sell. And most people need to go, even me, I’m a big TV person, but I like when they come over and they do the settings perfectly with my surround sound. Again it’s a new TV so you have to find different things, where everything is and sometimes it’s not that easy with the colors, but the put it perfectly to match the room. If you have lighting, or if it’s dark. But who wants to go and install that stuff for you. Not a lot of companies.

Frank Curzio: What else did I see during the holiday season? Well, MGA might be a big one, L.O.L Dolls sold huge, I love the CEO of that company, so I’m Bloomberg trashing, trashing Mattel. “It’s going bankrupt, it’s horrible it’s terrible, they are a mess…” Why were you trying to buy if it’s such a mess. I love CEO, he’s so mad he wasn’t able to buy the company because they said, no way, we are not selling to you. He wanted to underbid the company and just buy it for nothing, and Mattel said no, thank God they did because the stock is up nice now. But MGA is a winner, and Mattel, I mean Barbie Dreamplane and Toy Story Four True Talkers, two of the top selling toys for Christmas, made by Mattel. Yes I have kids, yes I follow this stuff. But it’s also important even if you don’t have kids. Look at the top toys being sold, it’s a big deal, if Mattel is on that list and it’s so depressed you can see that stock really surge.

Frank Curzio: And that’s one of the reasons why I recommended it because every negative, every reason people hated that stock, it was Hot Wheels, it was Barbie, it was international sales. They turned everything around, it was slowly turning around, it’s been that way for years for Mattel, these two, three years have been horrible.

Frank Curzio: They see the problem, and people still cite that problem, without even looking at the stock price. “They are losing Market share,” they went from 40 to 10, we know that, a lot of that is priced in. And they see it and they reversed a lot of those trends. Barbie is going to be a huge sell this year. They are also taking a Marvel approach where they are launching movies around their biggest products like Barbie.

Frank Curzio: We see how much money, I mean if Star Wars gets terrible reviews, it’s still going to generate a billion dollars. And it’s funny because when the reviews came out they were so bad, that everybody that saw it after that loved the movie because expectations were down. So there is a lot to be said for that when it comes to sentiment. When sentiment is sky high it’s hard to match that especially with the stock market, and right now it is sky high, that’s one of the reasons why I am cautious on the overall markets. But when it’s so depressed, when you see companies like Mattel or even GameStop that got crushed this year. You only need a small positive for these things to pop 30, 40, 50% off their lows, because sentiment is so bad. But overall when I look at the economy, it’s probably the strongest economy I’ve seen in my career. I don’t know how anyone could say any different. I don’t care about your political beliefs, I don’t give a shit about any of that. I’m just saying, from the stores, I mean it’s just…

Frank Curzio: And I went to St. Augustine with my family few days ago and it’s basically the best place in northern Florida to see Christmas lights. They have the whole entire town decorated, its beautiful, amazing displays, my wife, my daughters had a great time. There was tens of thousands of people there, tens of thousands of people there. Shopping at all the stores. Have you been to St. Augustine they have got these little streets with stores all over the place. You couldn’t even walk down the streets. I couldn’t drive down the streets to see the lights we had to park and then walk because it was so crowded. All the stores were jammed, some even stayed open later than 9:00 PM, which is amazing for Florida. Not many, but a few. Because “it’s nine o’clock,” “I don’t care, it’s 10,000 people,” “well, I got to be home at nine.” What do you open up a business for? Anyway, it’s a Florida thing, it’s funny, I get it, it’s okay.

Frank Curzio: But the ones that stayed open, like the ice cream parlors and these other stores, just crowded. People buying stuff like crazy. Who would have believed at 10:30, 11:00 we had a lot of fun, took a horse carriage ride with kids to see the lights which was really nice. But everywhere you went, the stores were crowded, people were buying food, drinks, even the bars were packed with kids. It was incredible. I can’t believe I just said bars and kids, that’s how old I’m getting.

Frank Curzio: But it felt like Rockefeller Center, which I have been to a dozen times, more than that, living in New York. It was jammed, you couldn’t event walk, it was packed. And everywhere I went this holiday season, and I want to hear from you frank@curzioresearch.com, but man lines everywhere. Even for the stores that weren’t doing too good because they were discounting their merchandise so much, because they have so much inventory, even those stores were crowded. Okay it’s not going to show up too much because their margins are going to be terrible, especially for the apparel companies, but it’s no surprise when you look at early indications suggest that we had a record year in holiday spending. Can’t be surprised at that.

Frank Curzio: I’m going to leave here with one last though for you. Everyone has been saying how big box retailers, they are dead. Everyone. If you look at the retail sales 85% of sales this holiday season came from big box retailers. While 15% of shopping is eCommerce, which is growing tremendously. 85%, and I’m not saying, “Hey go buy Kohls, JC Penny, American Eagle Outfitters,” you know the apparel companies, the big box apparel companies. I’m not saying that. But the Walmart’s, the Target’s, Ross, TGM, Best Buy’s, big box, a lot of these guys killing it right now. Amazon understands this, that is why they signed a deal with Kohls, which I was surprised at, I’ll tell you what I was surprised at in a minute. But Kohls, you can bring your returns from Amazon to Kohls big box retailers. It helps them out a lot.

Frank Curzio: I think they did a pilot program, they loved it, and now Amazon expanded to everywhere which is amazing. So this doesn’t make sense, I go into Kohls because I was looking for the watch for my wife, I said, “Let me see if Kohls has it.” They signed the deal with Amazon for returns, they should be selling the Apple watch, they don’t sell the Apple watch. I’m like, why don’t you sell the Apple watch, they sell it as so many different stores. They have a technology section, not that it’s big in Kohls, but they were selling Fitbit’s. Saw Fitbit’s everywhere. I’m not saying people were buying the Fitbit’s, but it was interesting.

Frank Curzio: When you look at certain bog box retailers, they are getting it done. They found the right mix of eCommerce, big box. Best Buy matches the prices for Amazon, and hey we are going to go in there and install, because nobody else is going to install. I can’t call Amazon to install something for your TV, surround sound system, anything.

Frank Curzio: Amazon also a big winner, almost every product you buy at Best Buy they give away an Echo. Why? because now they are going to control you, they are going to know everything about you. The smartest move by Amazon. Get that Echo into every single place, now it’s going to link to smart homes and all the appliances being made. Two massive growth markets they will be covering, smart cities and smart homes. Two trends that I have been covering for three years, last year got bullish on both of them, recommended stocks on performers. Actron, fantastic, up a ton for us. Also, had a takeover of Silver Springs, just taken over by Actron, that’s how I got familiar with Actron. They are going to be at the Consumer Electronics Show. But the smart home is where everything is universal now, you can have and Echo, and every one of your devices is going to be controlled by that.

Frank Curzio: That’s what I saw last year, wasn’t “Hey, let’s use Apple home or Google Assist,” no, everything was Amazon, everything was Echo, everything was Alexa. It’s going to get bigger and bigger as they have data on billions of people. Billions of people, their spending habits, what they like, what they don’t like. Amazon is going to know all of that, they are going to be the king of that. Which, is the biggest market in the world. Any single company wants to know the demographics of their business, where they are spending, when they are going to spend, when they want to buy stuff. Otherwise, it’s just marketing with your eyes closed, which could cost a fortune to do.

Frank Curzio: Better to target the right audience, that’s why Facebook is amazing. I always give the example of Starbucks, Starbucks could advertise wherever they want. They could advertise on TV, the golf channel, where ever they want. You really don’t know who’s watching, you know when they get up, you really don’t know anything. But with Facebook they know, hey there are two million people right now in your Starbucks stores, what do you want to send them? You could send them something right now, text them, send them a coupon, whatever. You can’t beat that.

Frank Curzio: Getting back to those big box retailers, not all of them are dead, some of them yes, you are going to see more store closures and it makes for a great headline, great story. But the survivors are going to do more and more business just like Best Buy. When you kill the entire industry, well, there is one left standing.

Frank Curzio: Name another electronic retail store, you can’t go to Walmart to buy electronics, half the people in there, you ask them, they don’t know anything about it. Same with Target. Yet Best Buy, they will tell you everything about what TV, the best technology, how to install, everything. Target, Walmart, fantastic with their eCommerce business.

Frank Curzio: So a lot of names I’ve shared with you, a lot of things I saw in 2019, a lot of things that I am seeing now in the holiday season and why the economy is so strong and also what I expect in 2020. Lots of stocks, lots of ideas, huge returns next year. Look at the DOW components, guys, I know I’m not going to recommend tons of DOW components to you guys in Curzio Research Advisory again, you guys don’t pay me for that. But there are a lot of names out there that could show 30, 40% returns. And Bank of America, I don’t know if they are right or not, but 50% gains are expected on ExxonMobil next year. Even if it is 20% that’s pretty good, 20% gains are amazing returns on a company like Exxon. You are not buying some crazy technology company and hoping for the best or a biotech company, or a mining company, hoping for a major discovery or they are going to get taken out.

Frank Curzio: There are some good brand name sticks trading at significant discounts that expect to have a good year in 2020, start looking, I just gave you a list of at least 30, 40, 50 names. Start there. Go to CSIMarket. Again, I don’t get paid by them at all but that’s the best place, if you find it someplace else that’s fine.

Frank Curzio: But I am looking forward to a great 2020, looking forward to giving you lots of new ideas, and the short-term, I’m looking forward to giving you the scoop, the real time updates especially for subscribers. You are going to see lots of new names from the Consumer Electronics Show. Interviews with some big executives. I’m going to try do a podcast while I’m out there as well. A live podcast, see if I can get some guests, everybody is very busy, might be tough.

Frank Curzio: But the easiest way is follow me on Twitter, @FrankCurzio, and live updates, live everything. Technology is going to be cool. You are going to see me make a fool out of myself trying some of the things, but it will be really fun, I promise.

Frank Curzio: But more important, is the ideas I’ve gotten from this show over the last eight years have been amazing, they have been very, very big performers. The track record has been amazing because I put in the work, I put in the time to really focus on the newest technologies, the best companies and try to avoid all the noise behind everything else. More important you can see which trends are dying, 3D printing, wearables, has been an industry that… GoPro, I told you to avoid. Fitbit’s I told you to avoid. You go in there and you see three, 400 companies with the same technology in wearables, and Apple is doing so well with that because they sell their product and its compatible with your phone and they are selling it to their base, so they are doing fantastic in that market.

Frank Curzio: But for others, there are so many choices. You have no idea, at least 300, and I’m probably being conservative about this year when it comes to wearables, and companies displaying their technology. There are not patents on this stuff, very few, low barriers of entry, very little pricing power.

Frank Curzio: So not only am I sharing great ideas from the CES, I am also showing you trends that you should avoid, that people are really talking up. And one of those trends may be electric cars. I’m really going to dig in even further into this industry. I just don’t see it happening as soon. I mean they are starting in the next five years, over the next five years they say, tremendous growth. You will see tremendous growth because it counts for 1% of the market, that’s fine. But you are not going to see 5%, 10% in electronic… I just don’t see it.

Frank Curzio: Until the infrastructure is built, until the educational curve. I mean people care about the planet but I don’t know if it’s enough to, “hey, you know what, I’m going to get rid of my SUV and buy an electric car that I’m going to have to charge up, which I have no idea how to do right now.” Lot of people saying that. Do I have to install something in my house, how far can I go, what if I run out? I need to know where these places are. I’m sure you get a list in the car with GPS systems, but it’s not a lot.

Frank Curzio: It’s so easy just to pull over at any exit and get gas. It’s going to be interesting to see how this trend plays out, considering consumers really don’t care about the electric car market. So you have to change their minds before this gets widely adopted.

Frank Curzio: I’ll be reporting to you next week from the Consumer Electronics Show, giving you the scoop on all of this. So hope you enjoyed the holidays, hope you enjoyed this special podcast. Happy New Year to you and your families. I’m looking forward to a great 2020. So I’ll see you in seven days. Take care.

Announcer: The information presented on Wall Street Unplugged is the opinion of its hosts and guests. You should not base your investment decisions solely on this broadcast. Remember it’s your money and your responsibility. Wall Street Unplugged, produced by the Choose Yourself Podcast Network. The leader in podcasts produced to help you choose yourself.


P.S. Next week, I’ll be heading to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Make sure to follow me on Twitter @FrankCurzio for the latest news and updates from the show. 

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