A new year (and a new decade) often inspires people to make personal changes. However, investors can take the same motivation and apply it to their portfolios. With 2020 promising to be anything but uneventful, you may want to redirect your attention to a usually disregarded market subsegment: the strangest stocks to buy.
Not every publicly traded company establishes their presence in traditional sectors. And for those that do, some of the weirdest stocks bring a distinct angle to the table. Furthermore, quirky names tend to fly under the radar. If we have a broader market correction — something that is surely to happen sooner or later — the oddities might win the day, or at least mitigate damages.
Beyond that, strange stocks offer legitimate secular needs. Whether planning a date or planning final arrangements (or anything in between), Wall Street oddballs are surprisingly robust.
So, don’t let outside appearances deter you: profitability is still profitability, no matter the underlying vehicle. Here are eight of the weirdest stocks to buy for 2020.
Strangest Stocks to Buy: Service Corporation International (SCI)
Not only is Service Corporation International (NYSE:SCI) one of the weirdest stocks to buy, it also arouses uncomfortable emotions. That’s because SCI stock is levered to a sadly necessary industry: death. Facilitating the final wishes of our friends and family members, Service Corporation is actually a vital cog in our society.
Furthermore, SCI stock should enjoy long-term gains that extend well beyond 2020. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, our aging population is creating a boon for players in the death industry. Due to the unprecedented population growth from the baby boom era, this has translated cynically into robust opportunities for final planning organizations.
In fact, experts predict that annual deaths will continue increasing until 2055 before leveling off gradually. If you’re looking for an investment for the long haul, you’ll be hard pressed to find something as viable as SCI stock.
H&R Block (HRB)
I’m putting H&R Block (NYSE:HRB) in my list of strange stocks to buy not so much because it’s weird. Rather, I find it peculiar that HRB stock is one of the very few (if only) publicly traded investments related to the consumer tax industry.
Thanks to the internet and the digitalization revolution, we’ve witnessed several innovations. However, the workplace has been relatively slow to adjust. Even today, we funnel individuals of various personalities and aptitudes into cubicles, feeding them coffee so that, according to the popular meme, they can do stupid things faster with more energy.
However, the gig economy has rapidly started to untether workers from this increasingly irrelevant paradigm. Today, many people outside of the incompetent state of California pursue meaningful work on their own terms and schedules.
Although a brilliant step forward, gig workers are taxed differently than employees. As more people join the gig economy, I see HRB stock moving higher over the long haul.
Innovative Industrial Properties (IIPR)
Among the weirdest stocks to buy in the exciting but incredibly volatile marijuana industry is Innovative Industrial Properties (NYSE:IIPR). Structured as a real estate investment trust, by law, the company must distribute at least 90% of its taxable income to its equity holders. A dividend-bearing weed play? That’s unheard of, yet IIPR stock fills the void.
Furthermore, IIPR stock was one of the only cannabis-based investments to not get steamrolled in the markets last year. In fact, shares delivered over 74% of profits in 2019, whereas its peers left their stakeholders in tears. But rather than view Innovative Industrial as a fluke, I see tremendous upside potential.
Despite severe losses in the industry, public opinion for marijuana legalization continues to move favorably. As it does so, legalization and the associated decriminalization movement will become pivotal election issues. Ultimately, this bodes very well for IIPR stock, which is already a sector standout.
RCI Hospitality (RICK)
A naughty member of this list of strange stocks to buy, RCI Hospitality (NASDAQ:RICK) is currently the only direct play in the “intimate activity” industry. Not that I would know, but many years ago, some adult-content-related companies offered their equity in the markets. Specializing in gentlemen’s clubs, RICK stock is the last among these companies.
However, that shouldn’t dissuade you from considering RICK stock, especially if you don’t mind some vice in your portfolio. Like Service Corporation and H&R Block, RCI Hospitality serves a very human need. As such, you can expect the company to give investors long-lasting and pleasurable profitability.
Furthermore, RICK stock may act as a hedge against an economic downturn. While the major indices have run 2020 in bullish style, nothing lasts forever. And I’m sorry but nothing is as durable in a downturn like the adult industry.
Sturm Ruger (RGR)
One of the weirdest stocks you can buy right now is also one of the most controversial. I’m speaking of course of Sturm Ruger (NYSE:RGR). As a firearms manufacturing investment, RGR stock will always have a stigma associated with it. However, 2019 was optically a particularly bad year for the gun industry.
According to the Associated Press, the U.S. suffered 41 mass killings (defined as four or more fatalities). Within this horrific tally, the vast majority (33 to be precise) were mass shootings. Unfortunately, this represents a dubious and tragic record. In that light, it may surprise some folks that RGR stock is even trading at all.
Undeniably, anti-gun activists will push for its delisting. Nevertheless, RGR stock continues to move along and for good reason: Americans love their guns. Why? Aside from the U.S. essentially arising from gun violence — thus, it’s in our DNA — there are more gun stores than there are McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) restaurants in this country.
Axon Enterprise (AAXN)
If the above facts about guns in America disturbs you, don’t lose hope: some of the strangest stocks available represent a new, humane path forward. Although it’s not easily recognizable under its sanitized name, Axon Enterprise (NASDAQ:AAXN) has made waves through its signature product: the Taser.
A defensive weapon, the Taser fires electrified darts designed to temporarily incapacitate any assailant. The best part about such a weapon is that all parties, including belligerents, can live to enjoy another day. Remember the “don’t tase me, bro!” incident? That could have ended a lot uglier if firearms were involved. This is a core reason why AAXN stock has performed so well.
Additionally, AAXN stock benefits from the increasingly strained relationship between law enforcement and at-risk communities. Anytime firearms are involved in such interactions, controversy always ensues. With a Taser, the consequences for using necessary force are far less permanent and damaging.
There’s nothing strange about online dating services in this day and age. However, what makes Momo (NASDAQ:MOMO) — the so-called Tinder of China — among the weirdest stocks to buy is its shotgun approach. In researching MOMO stock, it’s hard to nail down what exactly the underlying company is selling.
While the potential exists for using Momo’s platform for dating and intimate endeavors, management itself defines the company as an open social network. At least, that’s what Google Translate is telling me. Confusing matters even more, MOMO stock is levered to video games and streaming video. In my opinion, that’s just weird.
However, as an investment, I think MOMO stock is well worth your consideration. Now, I’ve often criticized the idea of using China’s massive population as sole justification for an investment. On a per-capita basis, the average Chinese consumer’s purchasing power isn’t that great.
But as an open social platform? That’s where China’s demographics are a powerful catalyst.
Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF.A, LGF.B)
I’m not the biggest movie buff but I get around. And when I see a trailer from a Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE:LGF.A) (NYSE:LGF.B) film, I know I’m in for a ride. Therefore, what better pick for strange stocks to buy than this one?
Lions Gate is the kick in the hind end that Hollywood needs from time to time. For instance, after Paramount Pictures lollygagged on their iconic Friday the 13th series, while Lions Gate distributed the Saw series of sadistic horror. Although the original later went on to produce several campy sequels, Lions Gate succeeded in delivering what horror moviegoers wanted.
Indeed, the company has a history of distributing several avant-garde and yes, weird movies. For example, the studio released The Red Violin, which did a number on my brain after first watching it.
But it’s the risk taking that I enjoy the most out of this company. Other studios can learn a thing or two from Lions Gate, which is why you should consider either LGF.A stock or LGF.B stock.
As of this writing, Josh Enomoto did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.