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The World’s Best Stocks
I think the 0.25% raise by the Fed yesterday will be followed by a pause. Won’t it be nice when stocks fluctuate primarily around company performance rather than actions by the Fed? Elsewhere, Xi and Putin meet in Moscow in a sign of solidarity and challenge to the U.S. and the West. Novo Nordisk (NVO) is up 10 points this week while today we have a new emerging market recommendation from a country with one of the strongest currencies of 2023.
Market struggles resumed as Fed Chairman Jerome Powell continues to warn of interest rate hikes as inflation concerns linger. MP Materials (MP) was downgraded to sell last week as Elon Musk’s Investor Day comments raised questions about future demand for MP’s rare earths. Most Explorer stocks were steady as Polestar (PSNY) posted strong revenue growth and an ambitious sales target for 2023. This week’s recommendation is a smart way to play China’s emerging market rebound.
America’s economy has been resilient in the face of rising interest rates, pushing the 10-year Treasury to the cusp of 4%. Earnings have been pretty good but ironically, the threat of too strong an economy, or a recession, seems to be weighing on markets. Our Exscienta (EXAI) was stopped out while Centrus Energy (LEU) was up 14% yesterday after positive earnings.
As Congress struggled with raising the debt ceiling, the excess of Federal spending over tax revenue totaled $459 billion through the first four months of the fiscal year (started October 1, 2022). Meanwhile, the strong dollar is a drag on multinational earnings. Today, we explore a fascinating company and stock that leverages artificial intelligence to accelerate biotech development.
Tesla doesn’t look sick to me. Last night it reported Q4 net income of $3.69 billion and revenue of $24.3 billion, up 59% and 37%, respectively, from a year earlier. Tesla sold 405,278 vehicles, up 31% from a year earlier and stated it knows it needs to produce cheaper EVs to become a bigger automaker. With EVs on the brain, this week we go to Sweden for an under-the-radar electric vehicle maker that is gaining momentum based on performance and styling.
As we move into 2023, Explorer stocks are performing well as volatility is muted. My goal is to seek a balance between conservative and aggressive ideas so that you can select a blend that is appropriate for your circumstances and goals. I believe at some point in the first half of this year, markets will turn upward as more reasonable valuations will reignite investor interest. Today we return to a synthetic graphite idea that was a profitable trade about a year ago.
As we finish a tough year for stocks we should guard against pessimism since interest rate hikes should slow and level out and lower valuations for growth stocks could ignite a rally. Explorer stocks had little news as we sell one holding and are close to selling MP Materials (MP) as well. This week we go back to a small-cap medical technology stock trading at an attractive price.
The Fed raised benchmark interest rates a half a point and signaled more to come. Elsewhere, scientists studying fusion energy at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have crossed a huge milestone in reproducing the power of the sun in a laboratory. Explorer positions showed relative strength, led again by Kraken (KRNKF). Today we go to Britain for a historic and strategically important company, brand, and stock selling for a bit over $1 a share.
Centrus Energy (LEU) shares were largely unchanged as the company is well positioned to benefit from growth in next-generation nuclear technology, helping provide reliable and carbon-free electricity. This is still a buy for aggressive investors.
One of our stocks surprised markets on the downside with poor third-quarter numbers while two others were up 15% and 16%. Crypto hit heavy turbulence as the stock market slipped rather than soared on the midterm election results of an underwhelming GOP wave, uncertainty, and expected gridlock over the next two years. Elsewhere, the United Nations projects that next week, the world’s population will exceed 8 billion, and this leads to a new Explorer, recession-resistant, agribusiness idea this week.
Ford (F) reported a down third quarter, but Explorer stocks had a good week with all positions in the black. MP Materials (MP) and Oracle (ORCL) were up 11%, and SQM rose 8%.

The headline of today’s GDP report will likely be more upbeat than the two previous negative growth numbers, instead showing that third-quarter GDP grew at about a 2% annualized pace.

But beneath these numbers, investor sentiment, economic trends, and geopolitical risks are not all that encouraging.

How should investors take all this in and execute a strategy to exploit the situation?
A tough week for markets as concerns over recession, persistent inflation, and geopolitical tensions grow. Explorer stocks were not spared as they all pulled back with exception of Oracle (ORCL) and micro-cap Kraken Robotics (KRKNF). New restrictions on chip-related sales to China hit semiconductor stocks. An almost $8 billion deal by Brookfield Renewable Partners and uranium producer Cameco to buy nuclear services firm Westinghouse is the latest sign of revival in nuclear power after years of decline. The matchup would create something of a Western nuclear powerhouse, pairing a key nuclear power service provider with the largest publicly traded uranium company and one of the world’s biggest owners of wind and solar projects.

This week we sell two positions and go to Japan for a conservative, high quality play on an overlooked but critical part of the electric vehicle revolution.

BYD (BYDDY) reported great earnings, and Novo Nordisk (NVO) got a lift from the World Health organization this past week – but the big news is that Alibaba (BABA) surprised markets by announcing on Tuesday a plan to split the $220 billion goliath into six standalone units.
This was a week to remember. The Explorer does not have any financial stocks, thankfully, though a couple of our small-cap ideas did not have a good week. Federal deposit insurance was introduced 90 years ago during the Great Depression. Ever since then, small depositors within the FDIC limit of coverage have escaped the fear of a bank failure.
Yesterday was Tesla’s annual investor day and it seems it came up a bit short regarding specifics.

Elon Musk started with a big number even by Washington standards, suggesting that realizing the vision for an energy transition could require some $7 trillion of investments in electric-vehicle manufacturing.
Retail sales rose 3% in January, the Census Bureau said yesterday, reversing November and December’s declines. Manufacturing output increased by 1%, following a steep 1.8% decline in December. Positive but slow growth right now might be just what we need to avoid more interest rate increases by the Fed.
It is only a month into 2023 but playing safe has not paid off as the Nasdaq 100 (QQQ) is the best-performing U.S. index ETF with a gain of 10.6% thus far. The small-cap Russell 2,000 (IWM) is next, up 9.8%. The Dow Jones 30 (DIA) – which fared the best in 2022 – is up only 2.95%.
A key theme of the Explorer is that there is always a bull market somewhere in the world. Today we offer a quick update on two – nuclear energy and electric vehicles.

All in all, the track record of nuclear energy is very good, especially when compared with the effects from comparable forms of energy.
U.S. conglomerates, all the rage in the 1970s and into the 1980s, are still alive and kicking though investors prefer a more sector and global approach.

Yesterday, General Electric (GE) completed the spinoff of its healthcare business, GE HealthCare Technologies (GEHC). GE HealthCare, which makes MRI machines and other medical equipment, now trades on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol GEHC.
Portfolio Changes: Infineon Technologies (IFNNY): FROM BUY A HALF TO HOLD

Centrus Energy (LEU) shares were up a point this week but the Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has been revised 21% downward over the last 60 days. This is still a buy for aggressive investors as interest in expanding nuclear power gains momentum.
Centrus Energy (LEU) shares retraced from 38 to 34 as three hedge funds were long Centrus in the third quarter, while six hedge funds were long the stock in the previous quarter. Their total stake values were $14.9 million and $14.7 million, respectively. This is still a buy for aggressive investors.
Centrus Energy (LEU) shares recovered five points this week to reach 35 as the Department of Energy announced that it and Centrus Energy’s American Centrifuge Operating, LLC will share the $150 million cost 50-50 to demonstrate production of a fuel called high assay low enriched uranium. This is still a buy for aggressive investors.
Centrus Energy (LEU) was steady this week as Congress seeks another $1.5 billion in a government funding bill to boost domestic supply of uranium to offset lost Russian fuel.

Ford (F) shares rose 7% this week as its October U.S. sales declined by 10% but electric vehicle (EV) sales rose nearly 120% year over year. It now claims to be the #2 EV seller in America behind Tesla.
Explorer stocks were all up this week though it is not clear we are out of the woods yet. Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile S.A. (SQM) jumped from 83 to 90, Infineon Technologies (IFNNY) shares had double-digit gains, and Kraken (KRKNF) was up 8% yesterday and almost 20% over the last two weeks as smaller stocks are in favor.
MP Materials (MP), a rare earths mine and processor, is down about 11% this morning.
Exscientia (EXAI) is down about 10% this morning.
Exscientia (EXAI) pulled back yesterday but is recovering this morning.
Based on market conditions and to limit losses, I suggest you sell the following two Explorer recommendations:
Due to escalating regulatory risk by Chinese authorities, please sell Pinduoduo stock. I will have more in this Thursday’s update but, in short, the Chinese are exerting their authority on Chinese companies that have used offshore entities to list on U.S. markets. China wants these companies to list in Hong Kong or Shanghai. There may be some trading and arbitrage opportunities developing, but the risk for Pinduoduo is now too high.
To follow up on today’s issue and new recommendation of Fisker, Inc.
Based on the below press release highlighting the agreement for Australia’s Lynas to build a rare earths refinery in Texas, I recommend you sell your MP Materials (MP) position.
Two portfolio stocks reported earnings yesterday and both remain Buys.
This portfolio stock was up 18.3% yesterday in anticipation of earnings that were released after the market closed.
Sell half your position for a 142% gain.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s issue, we got some bad news on this portfolio stock before the market opened regarding an internal investigation of fraud by the company’s COO and several other employees who apparently significantly overstated sales in 2019.
I had already sensed an opportunity in big oil over the weekend and wrote an article that will appear on the Cabot website in the coming days.