The Omicron variant continues to drive the headlines for the pandemic. Cases and hospitalizations related to Covid-19 are now both at all-time highs on a 7-day rolling average basis. In fact, according to the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, it’s going to get a whole lot more pervasive.
“Omicron, with its extraordinary, unprecedented degree of efficiency of transmissibility, will ultimately find just about everybody,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Those who have been vaccinated … and boosted would get exposed. Some, maybe a lot of them, will get infected but will very likely, with some exceptions, do reasonably well in the sense of not having hospitalization and death.”
However, with only 63% of the US population vaccinated, and only a third of them boosted, commerce in the world’s biggest marketplace is likely to return to the pandemic lifestyle we saw in late 2020, at least for a period. That presents a number of key themes to investors.
One of the most potent such themes in 2022 could be the idea of delivery services returning to a central role in daily life. When people want to avoid risk of infection, they tend to order basic needs by delivery.
That points to a handful of key stocks that could stand to benefit as the Omicron wave reaches full intensity in the months ahead. With that in mind, we take a look below at a few stocks at the epicenter of this theme.
Just Eat Takeaway.com N.V. ADR (Nasdaq:GRUB) owns and manages food delivery websites. GRUB is one of the most recognizable names in the space for anyone who has ever ordered delivery from a local restaurant.
The company features more than 300,000 restaurant partners in over 4,000 U.S. cities, and has strong exposure in Europe and Israel.
Just Eat Takeaway.com N.V. ADR (Nasdaq:GRUB) recently announced that the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Education Fund, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization affiliated with the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), has partnered with the company to open applications for the USHCC & Grubhub Restaurant Small Business Grant Program. The program is supported by proceeds from Grubhub’s Donate the Change Program, and grants will range from $5,000 to $10,000.
“As our restaurant industries work to re-open their doors and look towards recovering, they’ll need access to the resources and tools offered by the USHCC national network, now more than ever before,” said Ramiro A. Cavazos, President & CEO, USHCC. “Many of the Hispanic-owned restaurants who managed to stay open and not completely shut down, are looking for guidance and support as we work to jumpstart the economy and get people back to work. We are excited to partner with Grubhub on this important initiative and applaud these efforts to support minority-owned restaurants who are struggling so much during the pandemic.”
It will be interesting to see if the stock can break out of its recent sideways action. Over the past week, the stock is net flat, and looking for something new to spark things.
Just Eat Takeaway.com N.V. ADR (Nasdaq:GRUB) managed to rope in revenues totaling $1.8B in overall sales during the company’s most recently reported quarterly financial data — a figure that represents a rate of top line growth of 885.7%, as compared to year-ago data in comparable terms. In addition, the company has a strong balance sheet, with cash levels exceeding current liabilities ($1.5B against $1.2B).
Two Hands Corp. (OTC US:TWOH) is an off-beat addition here because of its extremely low price per share. But don’t be fooled: the company’s market cap is nearly $5 million, and it has started to grow at a rapid pace with an interesting model for food delivery in the Canadian market. The biggest growth potential for investors often involves avoiding the eroding impact of the law of large numbers.
The company’s Gocart.city business bills itself as an online grocery delivery market that services the Greater Toronto Area and beyond. It curates and delivers the freshest produce and specialty foods in Southern Ontario, with plans on expanding to other major markets. It also recently put out a corporate update highlighting some stunning early-stage growth.
Two Hands Corp. (OTC US:TWOH) recently noted that it has grown its grocery category to over 2,700 items, its customer base to over 1,000, its delivery schedule to 6 days a week, its delivery area to a wider radius. The growth is yielding significant month over month results in orders, with October online orders exceeding all Q2 orders, and November orders up another 39% growth from October.
The company also noted that it is now able to service the growing student grocery programs for two major universities in the Toronto area – a unique program that will be expanded in 2022 and offered to more universities and colleges in Ontario with over 100,000 students.
The stock appears dirt cheap. But it could be a major bargain, especially given the macro argument coming together for food delivery players in 2022’s Omicron wave.
Two Hands Corp. (OTC US:TWOH) shares are also heavily shorted as bears pile into the downward trend that has persisted over the past 4-6 months. This could spark a squeeze on any upside action. According to OTCshortreport.com, TWOH has seen over 40% of all volume coming from shorts on more than half of its trading sessions over the past month. In other words, this could be a powder-keg of short covering waiting for the fuse to be lit.
Lyft Inc. (Nasdaq:LYFT) engages in the provision and management of online social rideshare community platform.
The company provides access to a network of shared bikes and scooters for shorter rides and first-mile and last-mile legs of multimodal trips, information about nearby public transit routes, and Lyft Rentals to offer riders a view of transportation options when planning any trip.
Lyft Inc. (Nasdaq:LYFT) recently announced a partnership with Lyft (NASDAQ: LYFT), one of the largest transportation networks in North America, through Olo’s Dispatch solution to deliver digital orders for Olo’s network of restaurant brands.
“Direct digital orders continue to make gains in the restaurant industry as brands recognize the need to protect direct relationships with guests, and effective management of these orders is a critical component to success,” said Shalin Sheth, VP and GM of Dispatch for Olo. “With Dispatch, we help our customers enable delivery on their owned channels, using trusted partners like Lyft for local delivery. The addition of Lyft to the Dispatch network not only expands delivery coverage for our brands, but drives competitive pricing at the benefit of guests and brands alike.”
Even in light of this news, LYFT has had a rough past week of trading action, with shares sinking something like -3% in that time. That said, chart support is nearby, and we may be in the process of constructing a nice setup for some movement back the other way.
Lyft Inc. (Nasdaq:LYFT) chalked up sales of nearly $870M in its last quarter to drive top line growth of 73%, despite some balance sheet hurdles.
Other key players in the delivery space include Delivery Hero SE ADR (OTC US:DELHY), Uber Technologies Inc. (NYSE:UBER), DoorDash Inc. (NYSE:DASH), and Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq:AMZN).