3-Stock Highlight: August 2021 Edition

By: Jake Sheckter  |  August 29, 2021

By Jake Sheckter, Business Editor

Each month’s edition of the YU Observer this year will include a “3-Stock Highlight” on a few stocks that have been in the news lately, have interesting stories, or provide for an interesting read. On behalf of the YU Observer, we’d like to remind everyone that  these stock picks are for educational purposes only and are not to be taken as financial advice or used for investing any real cash. This month, we will be highlighting Square Inc. (SQ), NIO Inc. (NIO), and Pfizer Inc. (PFE). 

Square Inc. (SQ): 

It is no secret that our spending habits have changed throughout the pandemic, and the fintech (Financial Technology) giant has been there to help facilitate them along the way. Whether it was shipping necessities like personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, and medications, or the comforting experience of retail therapy for clothes you’re probably never going to wear out (trust me, I’ve been there), the way we shop will forever be changed. Maybe you aren’t ordering online as much as others, but we can almost all agree that contactless payment and “tap to pay” have become the standard when compared to the unsanitary alternative of cash.

The push for technologically-advanced point of sale (POS) systems in small businesses has seen an exponential rise throughout the pandemic thus far. You know those iPads or digital systems you pay with at the checkout that most small businesses are using these days? Chances are, they’re running on Square’s payment processing system. Square’s stock price has also reflected this change, nearly doubling over the last 12 months. Between the spread of new Covid variants and ever-changing public safety restrictions, the rise in online spending and contactless payment methods continue to give Square the opportunity to expand and diversify its offerings. 

Lastly, Square’s stock offers a unique opportunity to diversify into one of the most popular topics in the last two years: Cryptocurrency. Back in February, Square Inc. purchased 3,318 Bitcoin at an approximate price of $170 million dollars, representing roughly 5% of Square’s total cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities as of the end of last year. For many investors wanting to get a piece of all the Crypto action, Square’s decision impressed millions. Another fintech craze that Square made news for was the recent acquisition of the BNPL (Buy Now, Pay Later) firm AfterPay for $29 billion dollars. The BNPL space of the fintech world helps its users spread payments out for longer periods of time with little to no interest. Kind of like how you might pay for an expensive couch over many months, except that BNPL firms help you spread the cost of almost any type of product regardless of size or cost. To learn more about the BNPL space, check out my past Observer article “BNPL: Biting Off More Than We Can Chew?”

NIO Inc. (NIO):

There are few topics these days that rival COVID19 for news coverage, one of them being the recent rise in electric vehicle (EV) exposure and renewable energy sources. With this recent rise, NIO’s stock has also been a challenger for one of the most popular stocks of the last year in terms of volume traded. The stock is currently traded at a rate of 58 million daily shares on average. As of today, nearly 47% of all electric vehicles are located in China, with NIO having delivered over 20,000 EV’s in the first quarter of this year alone. Between their rapid growth, Chinese government support, and China’s incredible production capability, NIO will continue to make headlines across the world’s markets. To learn more about the electric vehicle race, check out my past Observer article “Electric Vehicles: Race to the Future”.

Pfizer Inc. (PFE):

You don’t have to be a stock market investor to know this household name, largely because you’ve likely had it literally jabbed into your arm twice at this point. As of today, more than 4.93 billion COVID-19 vaccination shots have been given across the world, enough to vaccinate 32.1% of the global population and Pfizer is responsible for the majority of them. Pfizer has proved they possess numerous distinguishing characteristics that allowed them to take the lead in this worldwide challenge. Pfizer’s long-time name recognition, industrial-level production capabilities, and historic stock reliability all come together to further entrench the pharmaceutical giant into our every-day lives. Today, with all the new COVID-19 variants circling and third vaccine/booster shots already on their way, Pfizer’s piece of the action does not seem to be fading any time soon.