Today is Wednesday December 30 and it is 6am.
As we close out 2020 and I wrap up my 33rd year in the business, I can honestly say from a personal and professional standpoint, this has been the most challenging and unusual years that I have ever lived through. We have gone from the depths of the Pandemic in March when literally everything appeared to be breaking down and falling apart, to finishing the year as one of our most successful since I entered the business in 1987. My oh my, what a difference 10 months makes. Yet, particularly here in Central Florida, which is heavily invested in the Hospitality Industry, I see incredible difficulty and financial stress everywhere. It really is somewhat mind numbing when you think about everything that transpired in 2020. The contrast between those that successfully navigated the pandemic and those that could not (in many cases through no fault of their own) is stark.
From an investment standpoint, I feel like this year in particular we were able to clearly demonstrate some of the true value we bring as individual stock investors. Our ability to select the right companies for the challenging environment we faced was critical to our success this year. I want to highlight just one stock of the many that helped us deliver superior results over the past 12 months. Let’s take a look at Amazon.
When Amazon started the year around $1875, many pundits believed the upside was limited as it had recently made a new 52 week all time new high. Many analysts believed that the outperformance was unsustainable and had very low expectations for the prospects in 2020. Then out of the blue in February when the Pandemic hit, it became fairly clear, fairly quickly, that Amazon would be a clear beneficiary of the Pandemic. The extent of the benefit became clear as the year progressed. In addition, many individual investors looked at AMZN at the start of the year and concluded that $1875 was just too high of a price to pay for any stock, let alone AMZN. In fact, the average investor likely overlooked AMZN which ultimately turned out to be one of our top performing stocks in 2020 with a gain of over 77%. (I like lucky 7’s 😊)
Several recent surveys indicate that Amazon’s dominance may continue to grow as more and more consumers shift from brick and mortar shopping to online shopping. And Prime next day delivery makes it even more consumer friendly. Amazon currently accounts for over 40% of online sales but just 5% of total retail sales in all of the US. So the upside in my view is bright.
On another note, I recently saw this video and wanted to share it. The advances in Robotics are astounding. Or as Elon Musk has said, this is not Computer Generated Imagery. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fn3KWM1kuAw
As always, thank you for all of the referrals you sent our way in 2020. We are grateful and humbled. We pride ourselves in assisting your friends and family and can act as a sounding board for them as they attempt to navigate the complex financial markets. I look forward to a Happy and Prosperous New Year!!