When It Comes to Investing, Don’t Mail It In

Last week, I received dozens of birthday wishes from family and friends via text, email, and social media. I also received a lone card in the mail from my 93-year-old aunt.

Seeing that envelope triggered a wave of nostalgia. My name and address were handwritten in cursive and there was an actual stamp affixed to the upper-right hand corner.

Oddly, it was the stamp that I noticed the most. I can’t remember the last time I used an actual stamp to mail something.

As a kid, I was fascinated by stamps. Each one was a small work of art integrating color, form, and text. I especially enjoyed receiving postcards from overseas, using stamps of all shapes and sizes.

Although stamps may now be obsolete, there is nothing passe about the recent performance of Stamps.com (NSDQ: STMP). Since the start of this year, STMP has more than doubled in value.

The company’s name is a bit misleading. Although it offers a variety of shipping solutions, the one thing it does not sell is physical stamps. You can buy something called a “Netstamp” from them, but you can’t glue that into your stamp album.

What you can do at Stamps.com is manage all of your shipping options and vendor relationships. You can also print USPS and UPS approved shipping labels that match the appropriate mailpiece type.

Over the past three months, demand for online shipping solutions has skyrocketed. The coronavirus pandemic shut down most stores, so merchants are mailing more packages than ever.

According to the company, its customer base has increased by 50% since the outbreak. My guess is a lot of those users will continue using Stamps.com long after COVID-19 is gone.

Robotic Precision

What is happening with Stamps.com is similar to the recent surge in demand for videoconferencing. As a result, Zoom Communications (NSDQ: ZM) has tripled in value over the past six months

In both cases, what used to be a tactile process is now virtual. Rather than swinging by the post office or UPS store to mail a package, you can do it from your desktop computer. Instead of commuting to the office to meet with your coworkers, you can collaborate with them from home on your laptop computer or smartphone.

Quite frankly, these changes are long overdue. We tend to continue doing things a certain way until circumstances beyond our control force us to do them differently. In most cases, there are profound economic consequences associated with these changes.

It’s too late to get in on the easy money made possible by the coronavirus pandemic in stocks like Stamps.com and Zoom Communications. But it’s not too late to begin thinking about all the ways that businesses will operate differently in the years to come.

I believe one of the most disruptive changes that will take place over the next decade is the proliferation of robotics into many facets of our lives. Recent advances in artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and 5G communications make robotics both technologically and financially feasible.

The easiest way to participate in the robotics revolution is buying shares of the Global X Robotics & Artificial Intelligence ETF (BOTZ). This fund is small, with only $1.5 billion in assets.

The fund’s largest holding is NVIDIA (NSDQ: NVDA) at 12.5% of portfolio assets. NVIDIA has a market cap of $231 billion after increasing eighteen-fold in value over the past five years.

Laser Focus

I believe NVIDIA’s performance is a precursor of how the entire robotics sector will perform over the next 10 years. I do not expect BOTZ to appreciate 1,700% this decade. However, I do expect it to vastly outperform the overall stock market.

If you are a gambler and want to take a flyer on a couple of robotic companies that might replicate NVIDIA’s success, take a look at some of this fund’s smaller holdings such as Accuray (NSDQ: ARAY). Accuray designs robotic radiation therapy treatments that attack tumors and cancer cells.

Accuray trades at less than $3 a share and has a market cap of only $219 million. Its share price has dropped steadily over the past five years as the company struggled to grow sales.

in late April, Accuray released its fiscal third-quarter results that included a small profit after years of losing money. Net orders increased 28% over last year, including 11 new orders from China.

China represents roughly 18% of the world’s population. If Accuray can attain a market-leading position in cancer treatment there, its market cap could easily soar above $1 billion.

Of course, there are no guarantees when it comes to investing in new technologies. Especially in the health care sector, where fortunes hinge on the complexities of human biology.

Editor’s Note: Our colleague Jim Pearce has just given you proactive money-making advice. Jim is the chief investment strategist of our flagship publication, Personal Finance. As such, he keeps his finger on the pulse of Wall Street for the latest investment news.

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