Archive for January, 2013
We’ve all seen the headlines.
The flu has made its annual visit to the U.S., reacquainting itself with your kids, spouse, parents, friends and co-workers. But this strain has been especially nasty, resulting in shortages of the very vaccines that might have moderated its effects.
One of my colleagues here – an editor with a young son – finally got his just last week – only because he stubbornly went to the same Rite-Aid every single morning for an entire week.
I’m sure you have similar stories you could share.
When you think about it, this year’s flu season illustrates one of the great ironies of our time. Although advances in medical technology have enabled us to create the vaccines that so far have kept the yearly viral visit in check, the reality is that those advances have been leapfrogged by global travel, an advancement that makes a pandemic more likely than ever before.
Fortunately, there is an answer – an innovation worthy of the Era of Radical Change, and one that savvy investors can play for windfall profits. I’m going to show you four ways to grab those profits for yourself.
But first we need to really understand the challenge at hand.
Let me show you what I mean.
Of all the concerts I went to in my younger days, a Ramones performance I attended at the historic Fillmore auditorium more than 20 years ago is the one I remember the best.
I remember it so well because I couldn’t hear for three days.
As a musician, the experience gave me an indescribable scare; though I attended more concerts, I’d learned my lesson and promised to never let that happen again.
But others haven’t been so lucky.
Two decades later, volume-related hearing loss is one of the few bridges spanning the so-called “digital divide” – the gulf that separates Baby Boomers like me from the smartphone-savvy Millennials that are half our age. For older adults, too much loud music at rock concerts is a common cause. For our younger “Generation Y” counterparts, it’s the “ear-bud” headphones that blast music from iPods or other mobile devices.
But the millions of Americans who currently suffer from hearing loss may finally have hope … thanks to new “ear drops.”
It isn’t just the lousy outlook for Social Security that has so many of us worrying about our Golden Years.
It’s also the reality that one out of every eight people who read this will suffer from the one affliction that Golden Agers fear the most.
I’m talking, of course, about Alzheimer’s, a disease that already affects more than five million Americans. And with the aging of the nation’s Baby Boomers, the number of Alzheimer’s cases is set to quadruple.
It’s not just the nightmarish symptoms – and the impact the disease will have on our families – that leave us feeling both fearful and frustrated. It’s the inability to fight back that adds a feeling of helplessness to it all.
You see, of the Top 10 causes of death by disease, Alzheimer’s is the only one that cannot be cured, treated or slowed down.
But that may be about to change – and a vaccine could soon be at hand …
But that may be about to change – and a vaccine could soon be at hand …
I probably spend more time than anyone searching for hot young startups that will make money for my readers – even as the companies themselves change the world around us.
I’m talking about firms like Google Inc. (NasdaqGS:GOOG), which in nine years has grown from a newly public company into a Web search, digital advertising, and online video juggernaut with a market value of $230 billion (and a stock price of $705 a share).
But I’m going to let you in on a secret that I’ve learned from my three decades in Silicon Valley.
You don’t always have to find the “next Google” to make big money.
In the near term you can reap windfall profits by searching for the beaten-down tech stocks that the institutional players seem only too happy to ignore.
Those laggards are often hidden gems … can come roaring back … and turn the market on its ear when they do.
Millions of investors continue to trade stocks in gold, silver and other precious metals. And don’t forget the oil, natural-gas and related energy investments that maintain their allure – even in today’s sluggish economy.
But when was the last time you heard someone extolling the virtues of helium?
And I’m not just talking about helium as most folks think of it – in those giant (and comically overpriced) shiny party balloons, or in the plump blimps that give us the super-high-angle camera shots of the Super Bowl or World Series.
You see, a unit of disk-drive maker Western Digital Corp. (NasdaqGS: WDC) says it’s discovered a way to help pump up the corporate computer network around the world.
It’ll debut later this year.
And helium will be the active ingredient.
I’ll never forget my conversation with defense-industry leader Bob Beyster.
Armed with a doctorate degree and decades of experience, Beyster ranked as one of the U.S. defense industry’s true visionary thinkers. That came through loud and clear when I interviewed him for Signal magazine back in early 1999.
Beyster could talk with ease about everything from the impact of the dot-com boom of the 1990s to the future of information technology at the Pentagon.
This University of Michigan-educated scientist was a walking, talking encyclopedia of global tech trends. He gave me loads of insight into the major shifts that would reshape our world far beyond defense – from changes in telecommunications to how the Web would slash business costs for thousands of global firms.
With fond memories of that chat, I have been a faithful follower of the groundbreaking company Beyster founded some 35 years ago.
I’m referring to Science Applications International Corp. (NYSE: SAIC), now headquartered in McLean, VA.
How many times have you studied the stock charts of Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG), Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) or Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) – and wished you could travel back in time to become an early stage investor in just those sorts of king-making companies?
We can’t, of course, but I can offer the next best thing: I can tell you about the brand-new industry where the next stock like this will likely come from.
I’m talking about 3D printing.
Folks who’ve been following my work know that I’ve been predicting this sector’s emergence for some time. Back in March, I told readers of our sister newsletter Money Morning that 3D printing was a $1 trillion industry in the making. In October, in a note to all of you, I followed up with a roundup report on the newest breakthroughs.
In every piece I’ve written, my key message was always the same: 3D printing will give tech investors the next real shot at windfall profits.
It’s already playing out just as I predicted.
But even I was surprised at how much money investors made off this segment last year.
I’m not one for partying. But I am very much into tradition.
And I have one tradition that makes New Year’s Eve one of my most favorite days of the year.
You see, every New Year’s Eve – before we head out to dinner – my wife and I sit by the fire as I review the paradigm-shifting events and exciting discoveries of the prior 12 months.
We’ve come to refer to this exercise as my “annual report.”
And now I’m going to share that “report” with you.
On a personal note, one of the most exciting events of 2012 was the launch of the Era of Radical Change. As it turns out, the year that just concluded proved to be perfect for the introduction of a newsletter that sifts through world-changing innovations in search of the ones that can bring you life-changing gains.
Like the financial markets, the world of technology is moving faster than ever. In the world of science, what was formerly fiction has become fact.
In looking back over the ERC columns that I’ve penned since April, here are four top tech stories to watch.
Their impact could be huge – and so could their payoff.