The Robinhood app has certainly made a name for itself in 2020. Despite several previous missteps, the investment trading platform has become a hit with millennials and younger investors, particularly in the wake of the record stock market plunge earlier this year. Unfortunately, some of the investing choices made by these novice investors have been risky at best, and some have been downright dangerous.
The news isn't all bad, however. Many Robinhood investors have opted for quality over the past month, putting their money to work in a number of high growth tech stocks during the trailing 30-day period ended Aug. 21, 2020. Let's look at five of their favorite choices and why other investors should consider adding them as well.
1. Apple: Investors want a bite of this growth stock
Without a doubt, the single most popular stock among Robinhood investors over the past month was Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL). Younger investors love the tech giant's devices, so it's little surprise that they might also be drawn to its stock. An incredible 189,812 of the platform's investors have added the iPhone maker to their accounts over the past 30 days, bringing the total to 730,774.
Robinhood investors have no doubt been captivated by Apple's recent ascent to a market cap of about $2 trillion and the announcement of the company's pending stock split. The recent impressive rally hasn't hurt either, as the stock has still gained more than 25% in the past month alone, and 69% so far in 2020.
That could be just the beginning. With an installed base of nearly 1 billion iPhones, some analysts are anticipating as many as 350 million of the Apple faithful will upgrade this fall, in what many are calling a "super cycle."
Both services and wearables have been big drivers for Apple over the past year. Services has generated more than $50 billion in revenue, while the wearables, home, and accessories segment has contributed more than $28 billion. These segments now represent 18% and 11% of Apple's sales, respectively.
The company delivered a record-setting report for its fiscal third quarter (ended June 27, 2020). Even in the face of the pandemic, revenue climbed 11% year over year, while earnings per share (EPS) grew 18%.
With that as a backdrop, it's little wonder Apple is popular with Robinhood investors and should be on every growth investor's radar.
2. Microsoft: Not your parents' tech company
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has surged in the Robinhood polls in recent weeks, becoming a favorite of investors on the platform. Over the past 30 days, 123,437 Robinhood users added the stock to their accounts, bringing the total to a whopping 653,838, making Mister Softy their second-most-popular stock over the preceding month.
The tech giant has been making headlines in recent weeks as it plunges headlong into a potential bidding war for TikTok, with rumored competitive suitors that include Twitter and Oracle. The potential for Microsoft to acquire this game-changing social media platform has Robinhood investors putting on their dancing shoes.
The ongoing battle between the Trump administration and TikTok parent Bytedance continues. After labeling the company a national security risk, President Donald Trump gave ByteDance just 90 days to divest its U.S. operations, or face a ban in the country. Bytedance filed a lawsuit Monday in federal court challenging the order, even as acquisition talks progress.
Even without bringing TikTok under its umbrella, there are plenty of reasons to like Microsoft, which was on full display when the company reported the results of its fiscal 2020 fourth quarter (ended June 30). The company's Azure cloud platform continued to outpace the competition, with growth of 47% year over year, while rival Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) Web Services (AWS) came in at 29% during the same period. Overall, Microsoft grew revenue 13%, while operating cash flow and free cash flow increased by 16%.
The combination of lucrative, cash-spewing legacy services and future-looking technologies help explain why Robinhood investors have their head in the clouds over Microsoft.
3. Tesla: Taking this car company upstart out for a spin
While it's certainly an automaker, it's the technology that makes Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) stand out in a crowd. An extra 82,895 Robinhood investors have taken Tesla stock for a test drive over the past month, bringing the total to 563,621. This has made the electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer the fifth-most-popular holding among the investing app's users.
There's little doubt that Tesla's electrifying stock run in recent months has juiced interest in the company, having gained 25% over the past month alone, and a massive 800% over the past year. This has driven its market cap above $380 billion, making it the most valuable car company around. Recent news of Tesla's 5-for-1 stock split, which takes effect on Aug. 31, has Robinhood investors climbing aboard for the ride, though that decision has no impact on the company's fundamentals.
Another factor fueling the stock's epic ride was the company's strong quarterly results, including its fourth consecutive quarter of profits on a GAAP basis, the last financial standards roadblock Tesla needed to pass to qualify for potential inclusion in the S&P 500 Index -- though there's still no guarantee it will be added. Tesla also reiterated its strong guidance for 2020, planning 500,000 vehicle deliveries this year, even in the face of the pandemic.
While some might argue its valuation is frothy, Tesla is certainly silencing critics with its continued execution, so it's easy to see why Robinhood investors are taking it for a spin.
4. Amazon: Buying online retail like it's going out of style
Robinhood investors went on a shopping spree with e-commerce giant Amazon.com, attracting an extra 65,375 investors in the past month, bringing the total to 427,973. This makes the tech giant the eighth-most-popular stock buy among the platform's members over the past 30 days.
Amazon has experienced a pandemic-induced surge over the past several months, as shoppers pivoted to online shopping in unprecedented numbers to avoid congregating in brick-and-mortar stores and potentially contracting the coronavirus. Additionally, the move to remote work has resulted in a serious uptick in demand for cloud computing, putting Amazon Web Services (AWS) center stage. These factors have no doubt kept the tech giant top-of-mind for Robinhood investors.
The results were evident when Amazon reported its second-quarter results, as net sales growth accelerated to 40% year over year, up from 20% in the prior-year quarter. This marked the highest quarterly growth rate the company has seen in two years.
Even more importantly, after warning investors that it would spend all of its expected $4 billion operating profit for the quarter on COVID-related expenses, Amazon surprised investors with net income of more than $5.2 billion -- even after the incremental costs.
The pandemic is far from over, making many of Amazon's services must-haves, including Prime Video, Prime Music, and Twitch (its streaming video game platform), as well as the aforementioned e-commerce and cloud computing businesses.
With so many ways to win, it's little wonder Amazon is a key holding among Robinhood investors.
5. Netflix: All eyes glued on this streaming service
Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) has been a smash hit with the Robinhood audience over the past 30 days, with an impressive 51,668 of the platform's investors adding the streaming giant to their accounts over the past month, bringing the total to 236,819. This made Netflix the ninth-most-popular stock among Robinhood investors during that period.
Streaming video was already experiencing broad adoption before the pandemic struck. The resulting stay-at-home orders have kicked that growth into high gear. Netflix's industry-leading position at the top of the streaming heap made it the primary go-to viewing choice for those hunkering down at home.
Netflix's subscriber growth has been nothing short of phenomenal in 2020. The company added a second-quarter record of 10 million new paying customers, on top of an all-time record 15.77 million additions in the first quarter. To put that into context, Netflix has added nearly as many net new subscribers in the first six months of 2020, as it did in all of last year combined.
That has translated into impressive financial results, as revenue grew 25% year over year in the second quarter after 28% growth in the first quarter. Netflix also surprised investors by generating positive free cash flow so far this year, though that likely won't continue when its television and movie production efforts finally resume after being halted to deal with the coronavirus lockdowns.
Netflix still has plenty of growth ahead. Its estimated 7% penetration rate in international markets pales in comparison to its 50% penetration in the U.S., according to calculations by Piper Sandler analyst Yung Kim. If Netflix were able to achieve the same level of success worldwide as it has in its home country, the company could add as many as 600 million additional subscribers, more than three times the 193 million customers currently on its rolls.
With its impressive current results and massive future potential, it's little wonder Robinhood investors are content to Netflix and chill.
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John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Teresa Kersten, an employee of LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Danny Vena owns shares of Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Netflix, and Tesla. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Netflix, Tesla, and Twitter and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $85 calls on Microsoft, short January 2021 $115 calls on Microsoft, short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon, and long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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