Did Virgin Galactic go to space?
Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson and his team successfully flew to the “edge of space” on the Unity 22 mission aboard a Virgin Galactic plane on July 12. The Conversation UKVirgin Galactic and Blue Origin: can they be more than 'space' joyrides for millionaires?
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I'm about to say something that some of you might find disturbing, but you need to hear it: A stock market crash is inevitable.
While it's a statement that might be hard to believe given the 95% bounce-back rally in the benchmark S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) since hitting its pandemic low, history conclusively shows that crashes and corrections are a normal part of the investing cycle and the price of admission to one of the greatest wealth creators on the planet.
To be clear, there are a lot of aspects about stock market crashes that we're simply not going to know ahead of time. We often won't know the catalyst for a big downside move until after the fact. What's more, we're never going to know how long a crash/correction will last, or how steep the decline will ultimately be. But with 38 double-digit percentage declines under the S&P 500's belt in the past 71 years, they're certainly more commonplace than most folks realize.
If you're looking for stock market crash catalysts, look no further than how equities have responded to past bear markets. Excluding the coronavirus crash, the previous eight bear markets (dating back to 1960) have seen at least one double-digit percentage pullback within three years of reaching the bottom. Or, in plainer English, bouncing back from a bear market tends to be a bumpy ride, and not the straight line upward we've experienced over the trailing 15-plus months.
Another piece of history not on the market's side is its valuation. Even though valuation alone shouldn't be the basis of a major sell-off, bad things have happened each and every time the S&P 500's Shiller price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio has previously topped and sustained 30. The Shiller P/E ratio takes into account inflation-adjusted earnings over the past 10 years.
On Monday, July 12, the S&P 500's Shiller P/E hit 38.5, marking a nearly two-decade high. The previous four instances where the Shiller P/E topped 30 resulted in the S&P 500 eventually declining by at least 20%.
Other factors to consider here are rapidly rising inflation rates, which may push the Federal Reserve into action sooner than expected, and the spread of the coronavirus's delta variant, which could halt the reopening of the economy in various parts of the U.S. and world.
We may not like the idea of a stock market crash, but it's time to be prepared for the likelihood that one is coming.
Of course, if you're a long-term investor, a stock market crash isn't cause for concern. Rather, it's the perfect excuse to go shopping. That's because every crash and correction throughout history has eventually been put into the rearview mirror by a bull market rally. If you buy high-quality companies when they dip during a crash, you have a very good chance to build serious wealth.
When the next market crash does occur, the following trio of stocks can be confidently bought hand over fist by investors.
The first top-notch stock you can gobble up when a stock market crash or steep correction strikes is robotic-assisted surgical systems developer Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG). I can speak from experience, seeing as how I opened a position in Intuitive Surgical during the March 2020 coronavirus crash.
What'll likely catch your attention about Intuitive Surgical is just how dominant this company is within the healthcare sector. Through March, it had installed 6,142 of its da Vinci surgical systems in hospitals and surgical centers throughout the world. This might not sound like a huge number, but it's far more systems than its competitors have been able to install on a combined basis.
Between the high cost for these systems ($0.5 million to $2.5 million) and the hours that going into training surgeons, Intuitive Surgical often hangs onto its clients for an exceptionally long time. In other words, there's virtually no concern about customer churn.
Another thing to consider here is that Intuitive Surgical operates (pardon the pun) in a highly defensive sector. Since we don't get to choose when we get sick or what ailments we develop, there's a steady need for surgical procedures in any economic environment.
But what really sells Intuitive Surgical as a stock to own is its operating margin, which is built to keep getting better over time. Throughout the 2000s, most of the company's sales were derived from its pricey but intricate da Vinci systems. However, the bulk of its revenue today comes from selling instruments and accessories with each procedure, as well as from servicing its systems. These are considerably higher-margin operating segments. Thus, as more systems are installed, these higher-margin segments will ensure that earnings growth continues to outpace sales growth.
Another no-brainer buy when the next stock market crash happens is social media platform Pinterest (NYSE:PINS).
Even though Pinterest was a clear beneficiary of the pandemic -- i.e., people being stuck in their homes and in search of entertainment/engagement -- it showed long before 2020 that it was gaining steam. In the three years prior to the pandemic, Pinterest's monthly active user (MAU) growth increased by an average of 30% a year. By the end of June, it wouldn't be surprising to see Pinterest top a half-billion monthly active users.
While U.S. users generate the juiciest average revenue per user (ARPU), the company's future actually lies with the folks signing up internationally. In the March-ended quarter, 103 million of the 111 million gained MAUs came from international markets. Having 380 million MAUs (and growing) logging in from outside the U.S. is going to improve the company's ad-pricing power and fuel ARPU significantly higher throughout the decade.
Something else to consider is that Pinterest offers one of the most targeted user platforms in the world. Its MAUs are willingly sharing the things, places, and services that interest them, which is making it really easy for Pinterest to match them up with merchants that can cater to their desires. This setup gives Pinterest a really good chance to become a serious e-commerce player.
The answer to "Why Alphabet?" can be summed up by examining its dominant internet search platform, and taking a closer look at its fast-growing ancillary operations.
For instance, GlobalStats pegs Google's share of the global internet search market at 92.5% in June 2021, and a relatively consistent 91% to 93% over the trailing year. With this sort of search dominance, it's no wonder businesses will pay a lot of money for the right to get their message in front of as many targeted eyeballs as possible. With the exception of the height of the coronavirus recession, Google's internet search ad revenue consistently grows by a double-digit percentage.
But Alphabet isn't a one-trick pony. The company's streaming content platform, YouTube, is one of the three most-visited social sites in the world. YouTube ad revenue jumped 49% in the first quarter, with annual run-rate revenue up to $24 billion. Not too shabby considering that Google acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion in 2006.
The company's cloud infrastructure segment (Google Cloud) is also growing like a weed. Cloud controlled an estimated 7% of global cloud infrastructure spending in first-quarter 2021, according to Canalys. Since cloud margins are substantially higher than ad margins, Cloud will play a key role in pushing operating cash flow higher by mid-decade.
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17 July, 2021 - 09:01am
On Sunday, Sir Richard Branson, the billionaire business mogul with a flair for adventure, took his most daring trip yet when he flew to the edge of space aboard a Virgin Galactic ship for the first time. Branson, 70, along with five other team members, boarded the VSS Unity spacecraft to embark on the company's first fully crewed flight test, a mission dubbed "Unity 22."
Branson shared footage from the trip on Monday and his followers couldn't help but realize that a shot of him in the spaceship looked a whole lot like an old episode of The Simpsons.
A season 25 episode of the animated comedy titled "The War of Art," which aired in 2014, saw an animated Branson in space. In the scene, he leaned back and admired a painting while floating in the zero gravity compartment of a spaceship, similar to his video shared this week.
Twitter users immediately hopped online to point out that art imitated life, as the cartoon came true seven years later.
"So the @TheSimpsons predicted yet another thing that came true. @richardbranson making his flight into space for the #Unity22 launch," one Twitter user wrote, sharing a meme of the two moments.
However, some critics shut down the theory, saying that anyone could have predicted Branson's trip to space as founded the Virgin Galactic in 2004, vocalizing hopes of sending tourists to space years ago.
"So the show wasn't exactly being Nostradamus here," one argued.
Another agreed, writing "When the Simpsons did their Richard Branson in space thing it was 2014; by that time Virgin Galactic was a thing and probably could easily be guessed by almost anyone. Not predicting the future, merely peering through the window."
The Simpsons has become known for its mind-blowing predictions of future events, the most notable being Donald Trump's term as President of the United States. The show has also correctly predicted winners of the World Cup and Super Bowl.
Talk about an out of this world haircut. (Sorry, we couldn’t resist).
The writers behind The Simpsons have struck again. Their uncanny prophetic abilities were reaffirmed on July 11, when Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson made his voyage into space. Branson’s journey was forecast by Fox’s long-running animated comedy back in the 15th installment of Season 25, which aired on March 23, 2014. In the episode, titled […]
According to US labor statistics, roughly 5,000 workers die each year, compared with 15 astronauts who have died in the history of US spaceflight.
From Trump's election to Olympic gold, here are some of the long-running cartoon's most uncanny predictions
EXCLUSIVE: Chris Gray (The Society) is set to play young Ray in Showtime’s follow-up feature-length movie Ray Donovan. The film picks up where Season 7 of the popular series left off following its surprise cancellation last year, with Mickey (Jon Voight) in the wind and Ray (Liev Schreiber) determined to find and stop him before […]
"It’s not the ’60s and I’m not a hippie. Neither am I in my experimental teens or 20s. Yet here I am: a mom on mushrooms."
Scientists have taken another step toward solving an enduring mystery with a new tool that may allow for more precise comparisons between the DNA of modern humans and that of our extinct ancestors. “That's a pretty small percentage," said Nathan Schaefer, a University of California computational biologist and co-author of the new paper. “This kind of finding is why scientists are turning away from thinking that we humans are so vastly different from Neanderthals.”
The $1,600 wrong answer helped propel a fan-favorite Marine contestant to his second win.
The Hubble Space Telescope should be back in action soon, following a tricky, remote repair job by NASA.
The head of the World Health Organization insisted the Wuhan lab leak hypothesis needs further investigation and criticized the “premature push” to dismiss the possibility.
Kutcher said he hasn't given up the dream of a spaceflight completely: "At some point I will be going to space."
Billionaire Jeff Bezos's rocket company, Blue Origin, selected an 18-year-old to go on its first mission to space.
As the climate-crisis rapidly forces humans and wildlife together in new ways, such encounters will inevitably become more frequent,
What makes humans unique? Scientists have taken another step toward solving an enduring mystery with a new tool that may allow for more precise comparisons between the DNA of modern humans and that of our extinct ancestors.
The Dutch teen will join Jeff Bezos, Bezos' brother Mark, and aviator Wally Funk aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard spacecraft.
16 July, 2021 - 12:40pm
They both have more money than anyone should have and they both do deeply weird and unnecessary stuff with it, like shoot things into outer space on rockets that cost enough to solve world hunger.
So you'd expect guys of this caliber to have wildly fancy houses, right? Well in Branson's case you'd be wrong--at least according to a photo of him and Musk he posted to Twitter mere hours before his record-breaking spaceflight on his own Virgin Galactic spacecraft, Unity 22.
Now we say this with all the respect in the world, but what in God's name are those 1990s Sears Cabinet Refacing Services kitchen cupboards? Why those very 80s porcelain drawer pulls? What is that ceramic tile backsplash and why does it look like the walls of the shower you shared with your little brother back in Omaha?
Does Richard Branson--a billionaire! who went to space!--live in a McMansion from 1992? The model home from Arrested Development had more style than this. What on EARTH is going on in Richard Branson's house?!