No two investors are alike. That’s why your portfolio doesn’t necessarily need to look like your neighbor’s, your children’s, or anyone else’s.
On the other hand, there are some types of rock-solid, all-weather stocks that should fit the needs of nearly every investor, regardless of their unique circumstances. Three such names are Mastercard (NYSE:MA), Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK), and Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA), all of which bring smart balances of risk, reward, and reliability to the table.
It would be easy to assume the worst regarding credit card processing powerhouse Mastercard. Alternative payment services like those offered by fintechs such as PayPal and (increasingly) cryptocurrencies appear to pose a serious threat to the payment industry’s stalwarts.
Look at the bigger picture, though, and you’ll find that the advent of these alternative payment tools may have helped more than hurt Mastercard. PayPal accounts are frequently linked with debit or credit cards, which keeps the “old guard” of the business involved and profiting from payments processing.
And as for cryptocurrencies, although it’s unclear exactly what role these decentralized digital assets will play in the future of commerce, Mastercard is preparing for whatever may come. In October, it announced a partnership with digital-asset platform operator Bakkt that will allow merchants as well as banks to offer a variety of crypto services, including payments processing. Then in November, Mastercard announced agreements with crypto service providers Amber, Bitkub, and CoinJar that will make it easier for consumers in the Asia-Pacific region to use their cards to make purchases with crypto.
The point is, this isn’t the Mastercard of yesteryear. With projected revenue growth of nearly 20% for 2022 and corresponding earnings growth of 27%, it’s clear this company is shaping the evolution of the payments industry rather than chasing it.
Drugmaker Merck was conspicuously missing from the initial race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, and its subsequent efforts to address the coronavirus didn’t turn out a whole lot better. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration did approve Merck’s oral COVID-19 treatment in December, following most of Europe’s emergency approval of the pill. The decision to approve molnupiravir in the U.S. came after a narrow vote by the FDA advisory committee, though, because the treatment hasn’t proven to be quite as effective as earlier trial data had suggested.
Meanwhile, the company abandoned its COVID-19 vaccine efforts in January 2021 because of a clear lack of efficacy. In a market environment that has rewarded companies with effective COVID-19 solutions at the expense of other stocks in the pharmaceutical industry, …….