With so much enthusiasm baked into the equities sector, many investors undoubtedly feel that now is a time to consider a risk-off profile. Frankly, I agree with these folks. That said, we’re coming off the (hopefully) worst of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, others believe that the best days are still ahead of us. If you fall into this camp, you may want to dive into high-risk, high-reward stocks.
To be 100% clear from the get-go, I’m not endorsing any of the following speculative stocks from any personal motivation. Heck, some of these high-risk, high-reward stocks are names that I’ve previously given a cautionary take against. But in this particular write-up, I’m going to play devil’s advocate. More than enough people want to gamble with their portfolio. Therefore, I’m giving the public what they want to hear.
Nevertheless, let me just give one more caveat before we dive in. From data provide by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, you can see that stock trading on margin for May 2021 hit an all-time high, continuing the consecutive record-breaking trend. That to me is extremely dangerous because the equities sector doesn’t rise indefinitely. At some point, you’d figure the bubble will pop, boding especially poorly for high-risk, high-reward stocks.
But if you still want to roll the dice, I can also appreciate that perspective. For one thing, the benchmark indices are trading near all-time highs. This supports the idea that without the pandemic, the market would have moved up there anyways. Indeed, the U.S. GDP is now up at slightly over $22 trillion, brushing off the impact of Covid-19. Fundamentally, this provides greater confidence toward high-risk, high-reward stocks.
Further, we all saw what happened following the aftermath of the Great Recession. At the time, many investors were shellshocked by the devastation and didn’t want to buy equities. As you know, that turned out to be a mistake. People don’t want to repeat that error, which may drive the narrative for these high-risk, high-reward stocks to consider.
- Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD)
- Enable Midstream Partners (NYSE:ENBL)
- Spirit Airlines (NYSE:SAVE)
- Yamana Gold (NYSE:AUY)
- Sorrento Therapeutics (NASDAQ:SRNE)
- Electrameccanica Vehicles (NASDAQ:SOLO)
- Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN)
Since this is the internet, I’d like to reiterate that these names are not necessarily ones I’d put my money on. Truth be told, I’m growing more skeptical about the market continuing its meteoric run. But if I were to put myself into the mindset of a gambler, these are the high-risk, high-reward stocks I might look at.
High-Risk, High-Reward Stocks: Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)
Speaking of the internet, let’s start off with Advanced Micro Devices. Prior to the craze over high-risk, high-reward stocks of the meme variety, AMD generated plenty of fireworks. If you didn’t worship the House that Dr. Lisa Su Rebuilt, you will be wished a one-way ticket to a warm place and I’m not talking about Hawaii.
Some of that committed enthusiasm has died down now that one, AMD stock has accrued plenty of upside and two, the meme stocks have taken over Wall Street. Nevertheless, AMD likely will maintain a perpetually strong following. So, if you’re into gambling based on what social media thinks, you might not go wrong with Advanced Micro.
Still, AMD is a very tricky subject. As you know, the global semiconductor shortage imposes a dark cloud over the company and its competitors. Over the last few weeks, I’ve heard conflicting reports about how long this disruption could last. On the other hand, interest in cryptocurrencies is sky high and that could drive up AMD’s graphics processing unit (GPU) sales.
But again, this too is a problematic storyline. The crypto market suffered a seismic collapse, which disincentivizes blockchain mining. On the flipside, China’s kicking out its miners, which may augur well for welcoming jurisdictions such as Texas.
Ultimately, the narrative variability in high-risk, high-reward stocks presents potential opportunities. And you probably can’t get more variable than AMD stock.
Enable Midstream Partners (ENBL)
Honesty, my first inclination is to not jump on Enable Midstream Partners at the moment. Then again, I don’t have a particularly sage reason for my hesitation. I just don’t like buying shares that have already been on a hot streak. And ENBL stock is certainly enjoying that, up 80% year-to-date at time of writing.
However, a fundamental case for shares being one of the high-risk, high-reward stocks exists and that’s the new normal. More specifically, societal changes following the once-in-a-century pandemic could drive up oil prices through increased automobile purchases. Back in July 2020, the Wall Street Journal reported that residents in cities with robust public transportation infrastructures (i.e., New York City) bought personal vehicles for the first time.
It’s possible, considering that not everyone in the U.S. is vaccinated, that millions will eschew public transportation for personal cars. If that’s the case, you’d expect demand for oil to rise, which would support ENBL.
Also, electric vehicles are expensive, which is another reason why perhaps shares are rising. Still, ENBL belongs in the high-risk, high-reward stocks categorization because you don’t really know where the economy is heading. Plus if another major outbreak happens and you can kiss your profitability — and even your principle — goodbye.
High-Risk, High-Reward Stocks: Spirit Airlines (SAVE)
Warning: I’m really going to play devil’s advocate for Spirit Airlines. During the time I’ve been covering high-risk, high-reward stocks throughout the Covid-19 crisis, I’ve not given much credence to airliners. It’s not that I have anything against this business. I love traveling the world, so this pandemic is actually the last thing I wanted.
Another problem I have with something like SAVE stock is the not-so-pleasant behaviors stemming from the crisis. As CBS News reported, “Unruly passenger behavior is on the rise like never before and as more people take to the air, flight attendants are weary about the uptick of potential confrontations.” It’s sad to see but a good many of us Americans have become wild animals.
Of course, that doesn’t give me the greatest confidence for a domestic discount airliner like Spirit. However, a recent consumer survey by Stannah of Americans over 50 reported that there was “significant interest in international travel (55.9%).”
To be fair, I’m not sure if that means people in border towns walking over to Tijuana or Vancouver. To me, international travel implies flying somewhere. And if older, higher-risk people want to fly, surely younger consumers do too. If you’ve got the stomach for it (I don’t), this is one of the high-risk, high-reward stocks to consider.
Yamana Gold (AUY)
Generally, I like the idea of having exposure to some physical precious metals. But this is more based on an in-case-stuff-happens philosophy. Usually, stuff doesn’t happen. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic shattered this façade, which makes the case for precious metals miners like Yamana Gold interesting.
As CNBC reported recently, Americans’ inflation fears reached a fever pitch due to rising prices in several consumer product categories. Certainly, pain at the pump is one of the sources of said fears, as is sticker shock at the grocery market. Of course, this feeds into the narrative that pro-metals advocates push about the broader devaluation of the greenback. Thus, AUY stock enjoys a fundamental though cynical bullish argument.
I don’t doubt that inflation in the near term is a problem. But over the long run, I see deflation as the main risk. As I’ve explained in prior InvestorPlace articles, key metrics such as the personal saving rate, money velocity and the employment level indicate that millions of households are buttoning down their spending. That’s not an inflationary narrative but a deflationary one.
However, fear of the unknown could be a huge wildcard for AUY and other miners. Therefore, this is one of the high-risk, high-reward stocks I might be tempted to consider.
High-Risk, High-Reward Stocks: Sorrento Therapeutics (SRNE)
From the initial onslaught of the Covid-19 crisis, several biotechnology and pharmaceutical firms made a pivot addressing the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Some companies focused on developing a vaccine, and some pushed for therapeutics. Still others hurried to find administrative solutions, such as testing mechanisms. As far as I know, only one company offered a solution across the entire coronavirus spectrum: Sorrento Therapeutics.
From a technical analysis perspective, SRNE stock benefitted handsomely from the change in scenery. Right before the crisis cratered the market, SRNE shares were trading hands at around $4 or so. At time of writing, it closed at $8.70. At its peak, the equity unit was approaching the $20 threshold, which would have been amazing.
Now back in single-digit territory and with coronavirus cases in the U.S. fading, SRNE doesn’t seem ideal for a wager, not even in the context of high-risk, high-reward stocks. Still, Covid-19 remains a pesky and deadly pandemic, with new variants popping up everywhere. Thus, it’s not entirely inconceivable that we could have another global wave.
So, the market decided to bid up SRNE stock based on encouraging clinical results out of the U.K. for its COVI-drops drug. If you can handle the volatility, you might be rewarded.
Electrameccanica Vehicles (SOLO)
I’m bound to change my opinion on this so please take this with a grain of salt. Generally, I’ve not had many great things to say about Electrameccanica Vehicles. Sure, I like the concept of an accessible electric vehicle that fits into most people’s budget. Honestly, who wouldn’t? With many full-sized EVs still priced at around $40,000 or higher, it’s hard to believe this sector can keep rising.
But a three-wheeled EV that only seats one person? That’s a tough call for SOLO stock. While I understand the reasoning behind it — during commutes, we usually drive by ourselves, making the other seats in our vehicles superfluous — it’s also flawed. For households that can only afford one car, having such a purpose-driven vehicle is risky; hence, my inclusion of SOLO in this list of high-risk, high-reward stocks.
However, it’s also true that as employers request their workers to come back into the office, people in east coast cities where public transportation is robust may just elect a commuter-only vehicle. As well, I suppose that there’s a place for Electrameccanica to build electric transport vehicles to help solve the last-mile problem.
I’m still going to sit this one out but you might want to take a gander if you believe in the return-to-normal transition.
High-Risk, High-Reward Stocks: Coinbase (COIN)
For me, Coinbase is the riskiest name among high-risk, high-reward stocks on this list. If you’ve followed my work recently, I’ve been very skeptical about cryptocurrencies continuing their run. I believed that it was in the best interest of investors to take some profits off the table. Logically, the collapse of blockchain-based assets has only emboldened my skepticism.
And before you criticize me for being a Johnny-come-lately for the negative sentiment crowd, please be aware that I’ve taken my readers along on my crypto journey. In February of this year, I stated that I had enough of the gyrations of this sector. Thus, I sold big positions, ending up with free-and-clear ownership of my home.
From this vantage point, I can comfortably say I don’t regret my decision.
But Coinbase is a different animal as it’s an exchange and wallet service. Therefore, even if the crypto market corrects like it has, avenues to earn money exist. For instance, holding some digital assets give you access to interest payments. Obviously, the riskier the asset, the higher the payout. But in most cases, you receive far greater rewards than you would in traditional mainstream vehicles.
Is that enough to believe in COIN stock? I’m still skeptical but you might have a different opinion.
On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
A former senior business analyst for Sony Electronics, Josh Enomoto has helped broker major contracts with Fortune Global 500 companies. Over the past several years, he has delivered unique, critical insights for the investment markets, as well as various other industries including legal, construction management, and healthcare.