Investors had begun recent years with a mixture of hope for the future and anxiety based on things that happened in the past. This interesting mix can at times be a cure-all, or as explosive as nitroglycerin.
Last year, the market hit a few bumps in the road — mostly from scandals whose genesis were rooted in the go-go years of the late 1990s when scruples (and common sense) were trampled upon. From time to time, stocks paid for the sins and greed of the past. This year, the market will have a periodic biblical/apocalyptic aura, but it will come from outside the realm of business, instead of emanating from the inside.
The world is sitting on a powder keg, and these geopolitical problems present the greatest risk to global economic prosperity and the stock market. The world has always had to deal with mad men destroying their own countries and attacking the basic tenants of humanity; the latest generation of megalomaniacs has money and is working on the means to take its show on the road. Of course the stock market is going to be worried about corporate earning — the Federal Reverse, consumer spending, deficits, etc., but the wildcard is the eventual resolutions of conflicts that threaten mankind.
Stock market themes will resonate from geopolitical events and other deadly trends. These days, it feels like the planet is on the verge of self-destruction. If humans don’t blow up the place, then pestilence will surely overtake the world. Sure, I’m overstating the situation — but this is where some of the hottest investment themes for 2007 will come from.
Renewable fuel is going to be played up to the hilt, as it has become a bipartisan topic on Capitol Hill, the savior of Main Street and a nice place to make money on Wall Street. Some of the hype faded late last year as gasoline prices declined, but make no mistake that the idea of cheaper fuel (which is not going to be the case for a long time and is the snake oil part of the story) is extremely attractive.
The idea of not lining the pockets of loudmouths like Chavez in Venezuela or arming would-be tyrants like Ahmadinejad in Iran is appealing to everyone. So we look for Archer Daniels (stock symbol ADM) to regain its former moment and stocks like Potash (POT) to breakout and soar in 2007.
Water is taken for granted, but it’s the most valuable commodity out there, when bottled sells for significantly more than gasoline. Look for water-related companies to do very well, we like Stericycle (SRCL). There could be other things, like the bird flu, landing in North America and other unforeseen aliments evolving to capture the headlines.
Sure, there will be the continuation of mergers and acquisitions around the world and widespread consolidation will pace the broad market. There is still a ton of value trapped in the market. Speaking of value, although the group has already made a nice move off the bottom, I think homebuilders are going to be huge winners as their share prices race ahead of the eventual housing market recovery. This will happen a lot sooner than the timetable, laid out by the pundits, predicted.
There may be days when we feel like swarms of locusts are descending upon the nation and the world, but in the end the stock market will soar like an eagle.
Charles Payne is the founder and CEO of www.wstreet.com and appears regularly on FNC's Cost of Freedom Business Block.
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