Cathie Wood Goes Dumpster Diving: 3 Stocks She Just Bought – Motley Fool

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Cathie Wood runs one of the most popular tech stock funds, the ARK Innovation Fund (NYSEMKT:ARKK), with more than $19 billion under management. This fund is not only popular, but it is also soundly beating the S&P 500 with a five-year return of 39% annually (as of Sept. 30). Cathie Wood runs this fund and seven other tech-focused funds that are popular with growth investors. One of the things that makes her a popular investor to follow is that all the buys and sells from these funds are published daily.

Since she has a history of picking high-tech stocks at good prices, we asked three Motley Fool contributors to highlight one company that her funds have purchased recently that investors should consider adding to their portfolio.

They came up with Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:FB), Palantir (NYSE:PLTR), and Twilio (NYSE:TWLO).

Image source: Getty Images.

Meta Platforms: The company formerly known as Facebook

Danny Vena (Meta Platforms): The ARK Fintech Innovation ETF has made some bold moves lately, no doubt spurred on by Cathie Wood’s vision of the future. One of the biggest purchases over the past week is the addition of a big chunk of Meta Platforms, the company formerly known as Facebook.

Over the past week, the fund has stockpiled more than 100,000 shares of Meta, worth more than $33 million (as of this writing). Perhaps more importantly, ARK Fintech Innovation already had a substantial stake in Meta, now equal to a roughly 3% position, and valued at nearly $103 million — making it the fund’s 11th largest position. 

Meta has been working to debut its long-awaited digital currency dubbed Diem, formerly known as Libra. The company is a founding member of the Diem Association, which underpins the upcoming cryptocurrency. Diem is a blockchain-based payment system that was designed from the ground up with payments in mind, focusing on “consumer safety, financial stability, and combating financial crime.” 

Additionally, just last month, Meta launched a pilot of Novi — its cryptocurrency wallet — to a small number of users in the U.S. and Guatemala. 

Given Wood’s early adoption and bullish track record regarding Bitcoin, it’s little wonder the rock star investor might place a similar bet on a Meta-backed cryptocurrency and digital wallet. But those fintech aspirations notwithstanding, there are plenty of other reasons to be bullish on Meta.

Let’s not forget that Facebook is one of the most recognized companies on the planet. For the third quarter, Facebook reported 1.93 billion daily active users (DAUs), up 6% year over year, and 2.91 billion monthly active users (MAUs). When you expand that to include the company’s other platforms (Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger) that rises to 2.81 billion DAUs and 3.58 billion MAUs. 

That many users creates a powerful network effect for the social media baron, helping Meta generate significant advertising revenue to support its moonshots. In the third quarter, revenue of $29 billion grew 35% year over year — even as the company dealt with privacy reforms rolled out by Apple, which made it more difficult to measure the success of advertising campaigns across devices using iOS. Meta also generated more than $9.1 billion in net income and $9.5 billion in free cash flow.

Even as the company faces regulatory challenges, Meta is preparing for the metaverse, a digital realm online where users play, work, and shop. Meta describes this as “the next evolution of social connection … [where] you’ll be able to socialize, learn, collaborate and play in ways that go beyond what’s possible today.” 

Meta sees the metaverse as its next big growth driver, as well as a way to retain young, tech savvy users. The company has a head start in the areas of augmented reality (AR) and virtual-reality, which will likely be key components in its broader strategy.

It also doesn’t hurt that the stock is on sale at a 15% discount to recent highs.

Image source: Getty Images.

Palantir: Wood continues adding shares to this insight seeker

Will Healy (Palantir): Palantir stands out from other data companies in that it specializes in delivering insights. The company works with national security and law enforcement organizations through its Gotham software, functionality that has everyone talking about Palantir stock.

Moreover, the company has also developed a product for the commercial space, called Foundry, which currently drives the company’s fastest growth.

Seeing the potential of these products, Wood has accumulated Palantir shares in the ARK Innovation Fund since February, buying multiple lots with only one sale in September. This has taken the total in that fund to more than 24 million shares, a 2.8% weighting. Wood has added Palantir shares less aggressively to the ARK Industrial Innovation ETF. Nonetheless, more than 1.1 million Palantir shares make up about 1% of this fund.

Palantir reported strong numbers in its third-quarter 2021 earnings report. Third-quarter revenue of $392 million surged 36% from year-ago levels. This led to an adjusted net income of $82 million. Palantir also raised fourth-quarter guidance, and predicted the $418 million in revenue will rise 30% year over year if that number holds.

Nonetheless, the stock dropped 9% in Tuesday trading as the company forecast an adjusted operating margin of 22% for Q4. Analysts had expected 24%. Moreover, a government document indicated that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) might replace Palantir’s system with a competing product, though a recent U.S. Army contract could mitigate that loss.

Additionally, while Wood bought just under 1 million shares between the two funds on that day, the stock fell an additional 7% on Wednesday. With that move, Palantir stock wipes out all of its 2021 gains and has fallen 4% in 2021 as of the time of this writing. Also, despite that drop, Palantir trades at a price-to-sales (P/S) ratio of 27, well above the average S&P 500 stock, which sells at just over three times sales.

With its data insight capabilities, Palantir’s massive revenue growth should continue. However, given the high sales multiple and the stock falling on a mostly favorable earnings report, investors may not want to follow Wood’s lead in the near term.

Image source: Twilio.

Twilio: Expanding its mission

Brian Withers (Twilio): Twilio announced earnings on Oct. 28, and the stock took a 17% haircut the next day. Since then, Cathie Wood’s ARK funds snapped up over 415,000 shares of the stock representing about $122 million. These buys moved this customer communication platform specialist to the 12th largest holding across its funds. Let take a look at why she might be buying massive quantities of this tech company, which appears to be on sale.

First, let’s look at the quarterly results and why investors may have been spooked. The top line grew at a massive 65% year over year, but subtracting the contributions for the Zipwhip and Segment.io acquisitions, the year-over-year growth drops to 38%. This is a deceleration from the last four quarters of organic year-over-year growth that were between 47% and 54%. This slowdown was one reason for the stock sell-off, the other was likely the growing losses. Expenses increased faster than revenue this quarter and the company more than doubled its operating loss year over year.

Metrics

Q3 2020

Q2 2021

Q3 2021 

Change (QOQ)

Change (YOY)

Revenue

$448 million

$669 million

$740 million

11%

65%

Organic revenue

$438 million

$590 million

$606 million

3%

38%

Operating income (loss)

($112 million)

($227 million)

($232 million)

n/a

n/a

Data source: Company earnings release. QOQ = quarter over quarter. YOY = year over year.

But one quarter doesn’t make a trend and this company’s got a lot up its sleeve. It just announced its Twilio Engage platform which takes advantage of the integration of Segment.io’s customer data platform and Twilio’s core messaging services. This new product will enable businesses to personalize messages based on customer behaviors and will make the messages customers receive even more relevant to their needs.

Lastly, the company has updated its mission. For the last 13 years, the mission has been “Fuel the Future of Communications.” Today the mission is broader, focusing on its core user, the software developer. It is to “Unlock the Imagination of Builders.” This may not make any impact this quarter or even in the coming year. But over time, this allows the company to expand beyond just its communication products.

With the stock more than 30% off its high, it could be a good time to jump in and pick up some shares yourself. You probably won’t be buying in the amount that the ARK funds have, but even if you just add a few shares today, in five years, it’s likely you’ll be very happy you did.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

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