What element puts the spark in growth?
The good news for Mr. Market is the lack of any earthshaking mandate coming from the election last week. He loves legislative inertia or gridlock, the popular term. Why? If it is more difficult to sweep through major policy changes, then it is easier to determine the natural financial winners and losers.
The Republicans actually picked up seats in the House of Representatives, making the House more nearly divided. From the looks of things, the Senate will still be Republican led by one seat. The founders of our republic wanted it to be difficult to make policies in the first place, much less major change in our national direction. That difficulty has been part of our 200-plus years of longevity.
One development that needs little encouragement is the technology of storing energy for later use – batteries. I did a little research on battery technology this week. I learned that lithium became the most popular ingredient in our batteries because it provides the highest energy density with a low cost per cycle of recharging. In a round trip of discharge and charge, it is the most efficient battery system.
While other substances are being investigated for energy storage – even paper batteries and other potential biodegradable solutions – lithium is the substance of our present day. The lightest metal of Earth, the greatest concentrations today are found at high altitude in Bolivia, Argentina and Chile in combined forms of salt. However, some research is being done with extraction from clay in Nevada.
The companies producing the most lithium currently are Albemarle (ALB), Sociedad Quimica (SQM), and FMC Corporation (FMC). Although the first two have risen by more than 50 percent year to date, all three are just above good stock prices to be purchased. (By way of disclosure, our firm’s growth-oriented clients own shares of SQM.) These companies are in the industry classification of specialty chemicals.
For an exchange-traded fund that removes some individual stock performance risk, examine Global X Lithium fund (LIT). It has actually outperformed these three primary company stocks year to date and is even higher than its early top in March 2011. With electric vehicles becoming even more popular regardless of presidential administration, this trend is bound to last for a much longer time period.
But remember, past performance is no guarantee of future results! And the advice is general in nature and not intended for specific situations.
(Statistics from Worden Brothers, Inc., TC2000 software, 2020.)
Ron Finke is president of Stewardship Capital in Independence. He is a registered investment adviser. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.