Investors’ Review of 2022

In this podcast, Motley Fool senior analysts Ron Gross, Emily Flippen, and Jason Moser discuss:

The biggest business/investing stories of the year.
Who gets their vote for CEO of 2022.
Some of the dumbest investments of the year.
Surprising years from Salesforce, Axon Enterprise, and Campbell Soup.
Things they didn’t have on their 2022 bingo cards.
New investing discoveries.
Three stocks on their radar: Booz Allen Hamilton, NextEra Energy, and Topgolf Callaway.

To catch full episodes of all The Motley Fool’s free podcasts, check out our podcast center. To get started investing, check out our quick-start guide to investing in stocks. A full transcript follows the video.

10 stocks we like better than Walmart
When our award-winning analyst team has an investing tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the newsletter they have run for over a decade, Motley Fool Stock Advisor, has tripled the market.*

They just revealed what they believe are the ten best stocks for investors to buy right now… and Walmart wasn’t one of them! That’s right — they think these 10 stocks are even better buys.

See the 10 stocks

Stock Advisor returns as of December 1, 2022

This video was recorded on Dec. 16, 2022.

Chris Hill: It’s time to hand out some awards. Motley Fool Money starts now. From Fool global headquarters, this is Motley Fool Money, it’s the Motley Fool Money radio show. I’m Chris Hill joining me in studio Senior Analysts Jason Moser, Emily Flippen, and Ron Gross. Good to see you all.

Emily Flippen: Hi.

Ron Gross: How are you doing, Chris

Chris Hill: It’s been a while since we’ve had four in this.

Ron Gross: Nice nice.

Jason Moser: It’s taken me back ways.

Chris Hill: Just in time for our year-end review special. In two weeks, we’re going to have our investing preview for the new year, but right now we are going to tie a bow on 2022. Ron, let me start with you, what is your business/investing headline for the year?

Ron Gross: For me, Chris, it’s all about the non, I repeat non-transitory nature of inflation and the interest rate increases, the Fed is undertaking to combat it. This, of course, has led to higher borrowing for all you can see in mortgage rates. Most prominently indication that inflation is moderating but this week the Fed made sure everyone knew that their foot was still on the gas, but perhaps not pedal to the metal because they only raised interest rates by 50 basis points this time around. Here we are in this cat and mouse game, inflation, interest rates, possible recession so 2023 is going to be a good time.

Chris Hill: The word transitory really took a beating this year.

Ron Gross: Yeah, it did.

Chris Hill: Emily Flippen, what about you? What’s your headline for the year?

Emily Flippen: My headline is all about the non, and I repeat non-transitory invasion of Ukraine. I was a little darker, but I will say, I think that February invasion really set the stage for a lot of the dynamics that we saw throughout the course of 2022 with our global markets. Iran mentioned inflation, interest rates. A lot of that was catalyzed by the energy crisis caused by Russia’s invasion, a refugee crisis in Europe, the devaluation of the Euro, and just the unpredictability that like physical violence has on the global markets and the risk tolerance of investors, this is such a protracted invasion. This conflict has really lingered over the world’s head for the better part of the last year and it’s impacting the markets in ways that I think investors, when they started off 2022, could have never predicted.

Chris Hill: Jason, what about you?

Jason Moser: Well stop me if you’ve heard this line before. Stocks extend losses as recession concerns mount, because I feel like I’ve read that headline probably 200 times this year.

Chris Hill: And if not recession concern, recession fears.

Jason Moser: Yeah, looming. That really to me, that has been the theme for the year, it is understandable, some would argue and I don’t necessarily agree with it, but some would argue at least that we witnessed technically a recession earlier in the year because we did see two consecutive quarters of contraction but with a stronger employment picture, I think that we’ve been able to skirt through you actually falling into a recession but the question really is going forward, what does that look like and it feels like the going money is that we are going to witness the recession in 2023.

The consumer, we’re seeing a lot of signs, the consumer being stretched, and you have 60 percent of folks now living paycheck to paycheck versus 56 percent a year ago. Personal savings rate at 2.3 percent, now you got to go all the way back to July, 2005 to find a lower personal savings rate. Now we’re seeing the big bank CEOs as well talk about the stretch consumer while just a month-and-a-half ago they were talking about the consumer being in a good place. It’s all to say that, yeah, it feels 2023 might get off to a rough start. My hope is that the Fed’s actions will start to take hold, we will see inflation at bay, we’ll see the labor market tightened a little bit there in, maybe we see a stronger back half of 2023.

Chris Hill: CEO Magazine gave their annual award to Unilever CEO Nicky Sparshott. Ron, who gets your vote for CEO of the year.

Ron Gross: I’m going with Rich Templeton, CEO of Texas Instruments. TI’s success over the past two decades, I think is in a big way due to his leadership. He became CEO in 2004, Chairman of the Board in 2008, he was President of the semiconductor business starting in 1996. Since he became CEO, Texas Instruments’ shareholders have enjoyed over 800 percent in total returns, more than double the S&P 500‘s return and at the same time, the dividend has increased more than 5,000 percent to occur in yield of 2.8 percent. Glassdoor rating of 92 percent for Mr. Templeton, only one of a handful of stocks that is both up and beating the market in our instant income portfolio that we started in March.

Chris Hill: That’s a lot of calculators, just on about that. Jason Moser, who gets your vote?

Jason Moser: David Kimbell at Ulta. One of the reasons why I feel he’s deserving it, he had some really big shoes to fill when Mary Dillon stepped down from Ulta and she did tremendous work with that business for the time that she was there but Kimbell really has stepped in and just kept this story going. The stock is up 10 percent year-to-date, clearly outperformed the S&P, which is down around 20 percent right now as we speak, up 35 percent since he took over back in June of 2021.

You look at the way this year is wrapping up, they just raised guidance, they’re calling for sales between $9.95 billion and $10 billion, that would represent significant growth, are you talking about $8.6 billion in revenue they brought in just a year ago. Add to that the loyalty program that they continue to build at. They now have 39 million active loyalty members, that’s 9 percent higher than a year ago, so yeah, it is a strong business and it was one that was witnessing some turbulent times when Mary Dillon stepped in there, it’s good to see the David Kimbell’s really been able to keep the ball rolling.

Chris Hill: Emily, who you voting for?

Emily Flippen: We have Ulta, Unilever, Texas Instruments. All great businesses, but CEO of the year doesn’t necessarily have to be a business that has done particularly well because of a CEO. I don’t think it’s possible to reflect on CEOs in 2022 without mentioning Elon Musk because it’s become notorious a meme at this point but Tesla and Twitter, numerous businesses impacted by what we can probably call her or his antics that he’s performed over the past year. Certainly some of the biggest headlines in the year all generated from Elon Musk, even as we’re taping today, new headlines out for this business and the way he’s managing Twitter. When I think about the CEO that define the past year, there’s nobody that takes that title more than Elon Musk does.

Chris Hill: What was the dumbest investment of 2022? That award is next so stay right here. You’re listening to Motley Fool Money. Welcome back to Motley Fool Money, Chris Hill here in studio with Emily Flippen and Jason Moser and Ron Gross. It is our year-end review special. Let’s face it, Ron, not every investment works out so, whether it’s an particularly this year. Whether it’s in your own portfolio or maybe the way a public company decided to allocate their own capital in 2022, when you think about this year, what gets your vote as the dumbest investment of the year?

Ron Gross: Investment that I made that could have been a disaster, but I got bailed out by the WallStreetBets Reddit crowd was Bed Bath and Beyond, we talk about it a lot on the show. I bought it around $12 and $14, here we are at three dollars. I think the lesson here is that I bought Bed Bath has a turnaround play, and that’s much different and riskier than buying a great company and holding it for the long term. I think we can have a certain allocation to things like turnarounds, but they should probably be the exception, and not the rule, in this case, I was betting that new CEO, Mark Tritton would come in and work the same magic he worked at Target. He did not, in fact, he actually performed quite poorly and he’s no longer with the company and now they have a real chance of bankruptcy so, I got lucky, the Meme crowd bailed me out at artificially high prices, thank you folks. But if not for that, I would have been crushed.

Chris Hill: I’m right there with you. Again, shout out to the WallStreetBets crowd for helping us out there on the turnaround. I think that one of the things that did it for me was the fact that when Tritton was shown the door, there wasn’t really any clear path forward for the Company. The Board wasn’t really saying he’s out and here’s what we’re going to do instead, it was just, well, we’re going to trade water for a while and I said, I think it’s time to sell. Tritton was focused on private label, they decided to go back to brands, but the shelves are empty because the vendor relationships were shot, and the balance sheet’s a mess so this could not end well, it might not end well. Other than that shares look happily, Emily, what about you, dumbest investment of the year?

Emily Flippen: It can be easy for me to say Elon Musk overpaying by probably about $40 billion for Twitter but let’s not kick someone while they’re down so, here I’ll kick a different industry while it’s down. Cryptocurrencies, I’m sorry to say it again, kicking someone while they’re down but cryptocurrencies have to mark 2022 as some of the worst investments you could have bought. This is not just because of recent news, although it has been in the news a lot. This has really been since the beginning of the year. There’s a big pullback in tech companies, many of which supported crypto-investments as either part of their business strategy or their ideology.

As a result, both retail and institutional investors, the risk tolerances completely changed and their guys for a lot of these cryptocurrencies are being a hedge against inflation and political turmoil. That started to crumble as their asset prices decreased alongside the broader markets and on top of that, you had all this regulatory pressure heating up, increasing tax obligations to looking for ways to protect consumers both in the US and abroad. Then on top of it, big coins, terror, for instance, melting down as a result of numerous bank runs caused by fear in the market. Then the cherry on top, the fall of the crypto exchanges themselves with FTX just being one example of a high-profile crypto exchange falling apart due to fraud and mismanagement. It’s a hard time to be a crypto investor. I won’t make any expectations headed into 2023, but I can confidently say 2022 non-degree year to be invested in crypto.

Chris Hill: It’s a hard time to be a crypto investor. It’s also got to be, particularly in the wake of the follow-up with Sam Bankman-Fried. It’s got to be so hard to be a crypto bull, to have your job tied to really making the case for crypto as a great investment in 2023 and beyond.

Emily Flippen: Let’s be clear, there are lots of people for which that is the case and as much as we talk about fraud and mismanagement as with most new technology, these tend to be a lot of it in these new industries. There are also people who are legitimately trying to do the right thing, innovate in industry because they believe in either cryptocurrencies or blockchain technology and those people are trying to build businesses on what is now an asset class and a technology that is deemed by many professionals to be completely defunct. You are essentially trying to convince people that the crimes and the issues that have happened in the past will not repeat again in the future without actually being able to make that promise so, finding new capital allocators, finding people to invest in these ideas and in businesses, it’s hard to imagine they’re getting any better in 2023.

Chris Hill: Jason.

Jason Moser: I don’t know if it’s the dumbest, but it certainly is questionable. We did some research recently, we discovered that Kellogg has three bowl games on the dog. They’re sponsoring three bowl games.

Chris Hill: I didn’t know that.

Jason Moser: Two of them are the Cheez-Its. You’ve got the Cheez-Its Citrus Bowl, which just doesn’t sound right.

Chris Hill: No.

Jason Moser: Then you get the Cheez-It Bowl and then you get the Tony the Tiger Bowl. Now listen, extra toasty cheeses are on my Mount Rushmore of snacks. Easily, one of the best things ever produced and dating all the way back to 1921. Did you know Cheez-Its do? They bring in $1.2 billion in revenue for Kellogg, a company that brings it around $15 million a year. Cheez-Its they’re responsible for $1.2 billion. Now here’s my concern.

Chris Hill: That those people are drunk with power?

Jason Moser: Possibility, possibly. Typically to sponsor a bowl, you’re talking about millions and millions of dollars and I’m not necessarily knocking them for sponsoring the bowls. Having three bowls, remember Kellogg is actually in a split into three different companies by the end of 2023, one snack, one cereal, one plant-based. For my money, I feel like you don’t double down on the cheese. It’s maybe you shine a spotlight right on Pringles, man.

Chris Hill: Those Pringlesome love.

Jason Moser: Those Pringlesome love really leverage that portfolio for all it’s worth because doubling down on the Cheez-Its as much as I love them, it just feels like it’s not the best investment.

Chris Hill: I would love to see an office style mini documentary with the different brand managers because you know, there are some brand managers who are very upset about the fact that Cheez-It gets two bowl games and their brand doesn’t get any.

Jason Moser: At the very least, you’ve got the Cheez-It Bowl and then you’ve got the Extra Toasty Cheez-It Bowl. Differentiate a little.

Chris Hill: Now I’m going to have to try these.

Jason Moser: Oh my god, they’re so good.

Chris Hill: We lead the show with the big stories of the year and every year there are important things that go under the radar either at a company level, an industry-level, a trend level. What’s something that you think didn’t get enough attention this year wrong?

Jason Moser: Some of that i discovered last month, it last week actually was Casey’s General Stores as a chain of convenience stores that many people probably have not heard of, depending on what part of the country you live in. It’s trading near its all-time high in this market environment and I don’t think they’ve gotten enough credit for that. It’s now a $9 billion company. 2,400 stores, EPS growth of 42 percent in the most recent quarter. They raised their guidance. Their stock is up 23 percent this year. Now it was not cheap, it’s 25 times forward earnings so be careful there. But it’s very impressive in this environment to put up those numbers.

Chris Hill: I saw some stories earlier this week about the top stocks of the year. No slight against them, but some of them are just like micro-caps that happened to hit a little bit of a hot streak. When you talk about a business like Casey’s, it really is a business that goes under the radar and that’s amazing.

Jason Moser: Really good. They have the inside and the outside. Gas on the outside and all their convenience items on the inside and they’ve done a great job,.

Chris Hill: Plus beer, cheese, pizza.

Jason Moser: Of course.

Chris Hill: Emily, what about you?

Emily Flippen: Sure, my story is actually US trying to relationships and this is a big story. It’s gotten a lot of headlines, but I think investors are reading it wrong, which is why I highlighted as an investing story that has gone under the radar. The biggest thing that’s being reported on right now are the chips sanctions. Not selling high-end chips to China, ensuring that more production comes with the US. But this is a massive change in policy that can have a really wide reaching effects for the global economy for decades into the future. We haven’t seen this streak of nationalism in an extremely long time, which is essentially saying we’re giving up the benefits of globalization of a closer relationship between two of the largest superpowers in the world in an effort to protect and ensure domestic national security and production.

It’s important, I think, to the rest of the world and myself as just an American that two superpowers that have so much that influence over each other’s stay connected in a way that prevents global conflict. But this decoupling is very scary in the sense that i could have wide reaching ramifications on the world stage. I think the chip policies that we saw institute in 2022 could just be some of the first policies that is at the beginning of a wider decoupling heading into the next few years.

Chris Hill: As we speak in one of the stories gaining traction across the river on Capitol Hill is TikTok and banning TikTok from government devices.

Emily Flippen: Well, not just TikTok, banning any social media platform that is owned by an adversary. China, Russia, Cuba, any of these countries, their technology, their innovation, their entrepreneurship no longer being accessible to Americans for national security of course and I think there are legitimate concerns there. But it just goes to highlight that we’re going to be protecting our domestic industries, not just in the US, but other countries as well. As we move toward more individualistic policies, the globalization that we spent the better half of the last century moving toward becomes less and less relevant increasing the potential for further geopolitical conflict. I don’t mean to sound super scary here, but nothing of that sort is happening right now. But it’s certainly taking a step in that direction.

Chris Hill: Jason, what about you?

Jason Moser: A company I’ve recommended a company that I own Outset Medical. If you remember earlier in the year, around mid-June, they released some news that they’ve been working with the FDA’s Outset as a reminder they are in the dialysis market. They have a machine called the Tablo, which is ultimately is the first two-way wireless connected dialysis machine. They are taking it beyond just hospital settings and really focusing on the in-home setting as well. It’s making dialysis more affordable and accessible for everyone who needs it. It is a need, it’s not really optional for many people. But there was an issue with a software update. The FDA wanted more information, more data.

Ultimately what they had to do, they to put the shipping of these devices on hold. As you can imagine, the market did not receive that newsreels stock fell 35 percent just that one day. It seemed a bit odd. We knew that the acute demand was so strong for the machine, the in-home demand was still strong and they’re running those safety issues that really did look like it was just the FDA wanted more data. They wanted to cross all the T’s and down all the I’s so to speak and ultimately that’s what happened. Then you fast for a couple of months, they were able to start shipping those devices. Again, the stock is up 75 percent since that press announcement came out at the hold on the shipments. It’s just it’s a good reminder sometimes you can dig in there and you can find some opportunities when you feel like it’s something that perhaps is not necessarily fatal the business, but just something that the company is working through.

Chris Hill: Its also surprising to see the FDA react that quickly.

Jason Moser: Well, you’re right, but I think that speaks to the importance of the machine that they make and the value that it serves.

Chris Hill: One thing about investing, there are always surprises. So after the break, we’re going to share a few things we did not have on our bingo card in 20-22. Stay right here, this is Motley Fool Money.

Chris Hill: Welcome back to Motley Fool Money. Chris Hill here in studio with Emily Flippen, Jason Moser, and Ron Gross to our year end review special time for around a fill in the blank, Ron.

Ron Gross: The stock or business that surprised me the most this year was Blank. Much like Casey’s General story, the story for Campbell Soup really surprised me because it’s sleepy. It’s always there, but we don’t talk about it that much. It’s trading at its five year high. It’s up 30 percent this year. It turns out if you make soup, you have pricing power. If you make tasty water, you could raise prices occasionally, good for them. The recent report was quite strong. They raised guidance, a successful turnaround by relatively new CEO Mark Clouse who joined the company in 2019. He did things like redesign the labels, so give them more modern look, removed out-of-favor ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, a new line of spicy soups under the chunky brand. Great marketing actually with athletes, social media, Madden video games. They’ve done a really nice job and it has shown up in the stock price.

Chris Hill: Yeah, you don’t think of soup as having pricing power.

Emily Flippen: You guys haven’t been to the grocery store recently, because I’ll tell you what? I wanted to go buy some Campbell soups. They’re like $5 a can now it’s ridiculous.

Ron Gross: Shareholders thank you for your purchase. Soup is good food.

Chris Hill: Emily, the stock or business that surprised you the most this year.

Emily Flippen: The stock that’s surprising this year here is certainly Axon, not nearly under the radar as Campbell’s. But it’s been a really weird year and I don’t think anybody can fault a company for setting out expectations for 2022 that didn’t quite come to fruition. Axon on the other hand, is absolutely killing it and it’s been very surprising. Not only has their business been virtually unchanged by the world around them, but it’s actually gotten better. All metrics that the company put forward at the beginning of the year have been surpassed, revenue growth is accelerating, government contracts have grown at a time.

When people heading into the year definitely believed that that market was relatively saturated. Their international expansion, even given the geopolitical turmoil, has been incredibly resilient. More importantly, supply chain issues that impact the hardware part of their business have been more than made up by the software, so gross margins have grown year over year. They even became operating profitable much earlier than anybody expected. This stock has dramatically outperformed the market over the past year as it results. But heading into the year, I was very excited about this business that by no means that I expect for them to have such an incredible past 12 months as they have.

Chris Hill: Jason, what surprised you this year.

Jason Moser: Business, it has a rich history here. It’s the market leader in space and in customer relationship management. Sales Forces had a really difficult year. Stock is down 50 percent and they are witnessing a massive leadership exits. Now sole CEO, founder and CEO Marc Benioff just saw his second co-CEO in three years depart Bret Taylor took off. He’s lost now, Stewart Butterfield who was the Slack founder, he lost the Tablo President CEO Mark Nelson. According to Bloomberg report, at least a dozen individuals have announced resignations since October.

It makes you wonder a little bit what’s going on here? What’s Benioff going to do? Is there a cultural shift happening? But there is some news out there and that he’s asked some managers to rank their lowest 10 percent of employees. It sounds like Salesforce might be joining that job cuts bandwagon that we’re seeing a lot of these software companies go through now. It’s a business that brings in a lot of money, but they are being pressed now to focus on profitability, which I ultimately think is a good thing. I feel like there’s more than likely as an opportunity but clearly something is going on here that Benioff is going to have straighten out.

Chris Hill: I want just to add in that if you told me a movie sequel to a movie that came out 36 years ago was hitting the theaters, I would be reluctant to predict it’s success. Yet Top Gun Maverick is the number one movie at the Box Office this year. Related to that, and this blew me away, the average Box Office receipts for movies released this year were the highest since 2010.

Jason Moser: Wow. I haven’t seen it yet.

Chris Hill: You haven’t seen it?

Jason Moser: Don’t give it away. Give us the spoilers Given away.

Chris Hill: We better wrap up the show so you have to see this. Fill in the blank, Ron? I can’t believe Blank is still there. It can be a CEO, it can be a company that maybe you thought was going away.

Ron Gross: I can’t believe the SPAC industry is still here. Despite the almost total implosion of the SPAC frenzy, there are still plenty that are still lingering. There has been an incredible amount of value destruction by these so-called special purpose acquisition companies. At least 80 SPACs which have raised $24 billion are facing investor meetings that will give clients the chance to exit ahead of a new US tax law that could hurt their returns. At least 32 SPACs holding roughly 18 billion are looking to close up shop and return capital over the coming two and a half weeks. We really saw a bubble here with people being able to raise money very easily and it has come home to haunt a lot of folks.

Chris Hill: Do you think they’re happy about what’s happening in crypto because they look better by example?

Ron Gross: With uglier people you look pretty.

Chris Hill: We are just going to hang up with crypto cry. Emily, you can’t believe Blank is still here.

Emily Flippen: On the flip side, I can’t believe that Warren Buffett is still. That’s not a shot at his age, I know that’s what it sounds like, but more that he is just as relevant as ever. There was an extended period of the vast majority of my time as a relatively young investor, I’ve seen and grown up in an environment we’re Warren Buffett was maybe a little bit outdated, a little less trendy in some of the stuff that’s been going on in the market, especially with run growth stocks. But, 2022 had certainly different things in store and Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway making so many interesting investments into the energy sector, just being one example of ways that they’ve driven operating profits for that business in a way that is increasingly relevant. While some of those equity investments have been into oil and gas, a lot of them still in to really forward-looking technology like renewable energy. Still around, still relevant. Who knows what 2023 will have? But 2022 is certainly good.

Chris Hill: I’m genuinely surprised that he hasn’t done what we’ve seen in other CEOs in his position do, which is to essentially put themselves upstairs, say, I’m not going to be CEO anymore, I’m going to remain as chairman. I feel like that’s the next move. But what do you think?

Emily Flippen: If I had to bet, Grandson, I would’ve said the same thing headed into 2022, but 2023 is the year y’all. He’ll make that decision, he’ll step back or he’ll die trying.

Chris Hill: Jason?

Jason Moser: Yeah. Nothing personal. Just Bob Iger man, that guy’s still here. He’s back and apparently better than ever. Who knows we’ll see, if you remember, Bob Chapek was my choice for our mid-year preview show as the CEO who did a strong finish to the year. I guess he needed a stronger finish than I thought because he obviously is no longer with the company. But I understand bringing Iger back in to the extent that this business is in the middle of a major generational transition, and how it produces and distributes media. Bob Iger has the track record with the company and the acquisitions that he’s made along the way, and clearly was the vision behind the Disney Plus idea.

But for me it really does boil down to, what is he going to do different than Chapek was doing? Maybe there were some cultural issues, and obviously Chapek had some stumbles along the way. But what is Bob Iger going to do different in order to bring this streaming operational profitability? Because I think it’s pretty well known, Bob Iger always felt like keeping prices lower was a nice differentiator, whereas Chapek was starting to bump those prices up in order to get to that profitability target by the end of 2024. I think a lot of question marks remain as to exactly how this is going to look going forward, and I think that’s why the market is keeping Disney’s stock in holding pattern right now. Then, of course the question is, what after Iger, again? Can they ever really move Pat, they’re going to have to eventually, of course. What that looks like it’s still up for debate.

Chris Hill: In that same vein, I can’t believe Howard Schultz is still at Starbucks. Even when he came back earlier this year and it was in the fall, going to name a new CEO. Why he did? But the new CEO doesn’t start until April of 2023.

Jason Moser: No, if it was easy, everybody would be doing it.

Chris Hill: Ron, fill in the blank. I did not have blank on my 2022 bingo card.

Ron Gross: The breakthrough announcement that scientists produced a nuclear fusion reaction resulting in a net energy gain. Now, as one scientist said, this is a science achievement, not a practical one. We got a long way to go to make this actually useful, probably decades. But still, even if it is decades away, it really could be a game changer for the energy industry, for business in general, certainly for the climate. You name it. It literally is one of the biggest advancements we would have seen in a long time, perhaps forever. Stay tuned, it’s going to be an interesting next few decades.

Chris Hill: You think we’re going to be around to see it?

Ron Gross: Let’s hope so.

Chris Hill: Emily, what did you not have on your bingo card this year?

Emily Flippen: I want to say Taco Bell bringing back Mexican pizza. It feels like that boyfriend that you’d dumped and then a year later shows up on your doorstep and is like things have changed. Taco Bell, nothing’s changed. Bias back their Mexican pizza. No. But realistically, that thing that’s on my list here as Dan Springer stepping down from the CEO of DocuSign. That is a business that he led through its IPO.

He was not the founder of the company, but was often proceeds alongside those who do found companies. That’s how involved he was in the day-to-day strategy in operations of that company. After a couple of quarters, a really lackluster growth coming out of the pandemic, the board opted to boot him. He resigned from his role. They brought in a new CEO who just had their first-quarter with DocuSign. Very surprising boots in my opinion may be a little bit premature. We’ll see how the new CEO operates, but certainly was not expecting that headed into the year.

Chris Hill: Jason.

Jason Moser: Yeah, I have to say Netflix rolling out an ad-supported model that did surprise me, and I’m not necessarily disagreeing with it. I feel like that is the direction much of this is. We know that the ad-supported video-on-demand market is robust and growing and it’s global. But to see Reed Hastings pivot so quickly it was a bit surprising from a man that we’ve often considered the smartest in the room when it comes to this market. It definitely feels more reactive as opposed to proactive. It’s more reactive as to what the market is dictating. You wonder, will they be able to do this as well? I just don’t know yet.

We’ve seen early signs they’re are falling short of the viewership guarantees that they were making with their advertising partners and actually allowing advertising partners to take that money back. With that said, I wouldn’t just say that that’s the end of it. This is something they rolled out very quickly. I think you’ve got to give them a little bit of time to figure out how to make it work best for their particular platform. But again, for someone who is so vehemently against introducing advertising into their business model, they changed their mind pretty quickly there.

Chris Hill: It was pretty recently that he was vehemently opposed to it as well.

Jason Moser: Yeah. Well, they made the announcement that were started coming out, but it just back in May. That shows you just how quickly this was rolled out.

Chris Hill: This is not a comment on Elon Musk, but I didn’t think anyone was going to buy Twitter, not an individual or a company. There are these companies that we talk about from time-to-time that are struggling and struggled for years. We think, well, maybe someone would buy them. I’ve posed that question about a number of companies, Ron, and your response has been like, why would they buy them? Just because a huge tech company like Alphabet has the money, doesn’t mean that they necessarily need to buy a business, and the fact that it was Musk himself just saying, yeah, I’m going to write a check.

Ron Gross: Hey, if you’ve got a mediocre company and somebody offers you double for it, take it.

Chris Hill: Coming up after the break, we will share our investing discoveries of 2022. We’ll also share a few stocks on our radar. Stay right here. You’re listening to Motley Fool Money.

Chris Hill: As always, people on the program may have interest in the stocks they talk about and the Motley Fool may have formal recommendations for or against, so don’t buy or sell stocks based solely on what you hear. Welcome back to Motley Fool Money. Chris Hill here in studio with Jason Moser, Emily Flippen, and Ron Gross. We’re wrapping up our year in review special. Jason, what is your investing discovery of the year? It can be a stock you bought for the first time. It could be a book you read, or maybe someone you started following on Twitter, go crazy.

Jason Moser: Well, yeah, we talk a lot about the war on cash on these shows and for the most part I think that is generally the trend that the world is following. That is the direction we’re going. But back in August with Motley Fool Money, I had the opportunity to interview Brett Scott on his new book, Cloudmoney: Cash, Cards, Crypto, and the War For Our Wallet. I will say that was a very enjoyable read for me because it gives you that alternative perspective. We talked about his financial background, his view on how cashless marginalizes parts of society, monitoring in privacy, debates that stem from going cashless and also his views on Crypto. It was a very enjoyable conversation. I’ve learned a lot. The book was really enjoyable and I think that folks would enjoy the interview. If you missed it, go check that interview bag. It’s from August Motley Fool Money.

Chris Hill: In whatever podcast feed you prefer.

Jason Moser: Yes.

Chris Hill: Emily, what about you?

Emily Flippen: Yeah. My investing discovery of the year is something called Quota without the e. It’s like Quota. Well, I’m surprised that your reactions that you all seem like you haven’t heard of it before. I feel like I’m late to the game here, but it’s essentially an app and now unfortunately it’s only on your phone. If you’re old person like me and I like to do things on my computer, it can put you out a little bit, but it allows you to effectively listen to earnings calls, and then read through the investor decks.

If anybody who tries to listen to earnings calls knows this is something that it’s onerous to go through to the webpage, find where the page is being hosted, put in all your personal information most of the time, listen to it, go through all the 15 minutes of silence at the beginning of the technical difficulties. This plays just like Spotify. You open it up. They have the vast majority of the companies that retail investors to be interested in. You just hit “Play” and it plays for you. The investor deck is right there. It’s incredibly simple and easy, allows me to actually listen to earnings calls while I’m doing something like making dinner. It has certainly improved my investing, although I will say I wish I could have it on my computer.

Jason Moser: You want to take it the next level nerd. You just bloom to that thing in your car and it streams them earnings, calls.

Emily Flippen: New podcasts.

Chris Hill: Emily, also a nice reminder that while we often encourage people to check out the investor relations section of the company’s website, Not all of them are as good as the rest. Some are better than others.

Emily Flippen: Exactly.

Chris Hill: Ron, your discovery of the year.

Ron Gross: I would recommend the memos of famed investor Howard Marks, Co-Founder, Co-Chairman of Oaktree Capital. They’re all worth reading all of the memos. But his latest one has been getting a lot of attention because he says in his 53 years in the investment world, he remembers only two real sea changes and he thinks we may be in the midst of a third one today. Definitely worth reading that one, but I would read all of them the way we recommend going back and reading Buffett’s shareholder letter, is a lot of good information there.

Chris Hill: Let’s get to the stocks on our radar. Our man behind the glass, Rick Engdahl is going to hit you with a question. Jason Moser, you’re up first. What are you looking at this week?

Jason Moser: Yeah, Booz Allen Hamilton, ticker is BAH. In simplest terms, is a consulting firm. They focus primarily on analytics, digital solutions, engineering, cybersecurity in general, consulting. Probably an under the radar sleepy come most, people probably fall asleep before I even finish the word Hamilton. This is a pretty compelling business and a 97 percent of their revenue is tied at the US government.

Ain’t many more big spenders in the world than the US government, so that’s pretty good and they’ve got a long rich history, their company is well over 100 years old, very tech-focused. The workforce is moved from about 30 percent of tech backgrounds. In 2013, about 70 percent of their client staff has full technology backgrounds. That continues to grow with total returns to the stock over the last five years, just under 200 percent. The tenure chart looks amazing. Just over 900 percent total returns, 1.6 percent dividend yield to pay you while you wait. A very interesting business.

Chris Hill: Rick, question about Booz Allen Hamilton?

Rick Engdahl: It’s a big ask here. Booz Allen Hamilton, I do feel like I’ve known this company for a long time, mostly because I have friends from college who like put on a suit and went to work for them and I never heard from them again. What really goes on there? I have no idea.

Jason Moser: They do have some very close ties with some intelligence agencies. Who knows.

Chris Hill: Maybe they went missing on purpose. Emily, what are you looking at this week?

Emily Flippen: I’m looking at Topgolf Callaway, the ticker is MODG. A lot of investors may be familiar with this company, especially if you are a golfer. They have a decent portion of their business coming from Callaway branded products. That’s golf equipment for the avid golfers out there, but they actually just completed a really sizable acquisition of Topgolf, which is as many investors know, a location where you can go casualty, shoot some parts that have a drink, have something to eat, have a little event.

Jason Moser: Did you say shoot some parts?

Emily Flippen: Is that not the right lingo?

Chris Hill: That’s awesome.

Emily Flippen: Well, they’re in the process of building outlet or trying to effectively increase their store count of Topgolf by around 50 percent over the next few years. The problem is they have a lot of debt from the acquisition. It’s pretty capital-intensive, but a very interesting company.

Chris Hill: Rick, question about top golf, Callaway?

Rick Engdahl: Yeah, when I hear top golf, I think team-building events, that seems to be what that company is for. But hasn’t it been usurped by the ax throwers now? I’m putting my money on the ax throwers I think.

Emily Flippen: I think putt-putt can have come back to.

Chris Hill: Ron, what are you looking at.

Ron Gross: Talking about nuclear fusion got me in the mindset of alternative energy. I’m going back to NextEra Energy, N-E-E, largest electric utility in Florida, largest wind and solar operator in the world. You get both. They’re dividend aristocrat with 26 consecutive years of annual increases.

Chris Hill: Rick, question about NextEra Energy.

Rick Engdahl: Yeah. It seems like NextEra is going to be outdated at some point. Like what’s the Fusion is going to become like next NextEra?

Ron Gross: Exactly. It’s going to take a while, but I think there’s room for many alternatives.

Chris Hill: What do you want to add to your watch list, Rick?

Rick Engdahl: I think the next energy is going in my final folder.

Chris Hill: Emily Flippen, Jason Moser, Ron Gross, thanks so much for being here.

Emily Flippen: Thanks, Chris.

Chris Hill: That’s going to do it for this week’s Motley Fool Money radio show. The show is mixed by Rick Engdahl. I’m Chris Hill. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next time.

Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Chris Hill has positions in Alphabet, Axon Enterprise, DocuSign, NextEra Energy, Starbucks, and Walt Disney. Emily Flippen has positions in Axon Enterprise, DocuSign, Spotify Technology, and Ulta Beauty. Jason Moser has positions in Alphabet, DocuSign, Outset Medical, Starbucks, and Walt Disney. Rick Engdahl has positions in Alphabet, Axon Enterprise, Berkshire Hathaway, DocuSign, Netflix, Salesforce, Spotify Technology, Starbucks, Tesla, and Walt Disney. Ron Gross has positions in Berkshire Hathaway, Starbucks, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Alphabet, Axon Enterprise, Berkshire Hathaway, DocuSign, Netflix, NextEra Energy, Outset Medical, Salesforce, Spotify Technology, Starbucks, Tesla, Texas Instruments, Ulta Beauty, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends Casey’s General Stores and Topgolf Callaway Brands and recommends the following options: long January 2023 $200 calls on Berkshire Hathaway, long January 2024 $145 calls on Walt Disney, long January 2024 $60 calls on DocuSign, short January 2023 $200 puts on Berkshire Hathaway, short January 2023 $265 calls on Berkshire Hathaway, short January 2023 $92.50 puts on Starbucks, and short January 2024 $155 calls on Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts