The 5G wave is taking hold, and a hardworking company in Finland, Nokia (NYSE:NOK), is in a better place these days, which means Nokia stock looks more attractive, too.
Technology companies occupy a special place in the investing world. It is a place earned by producing a product that customers want and earning money for shareholders. Although Nokia isn’t a tech company in the purest sense, it certainly plays in the neighborhood.
There are two reasons that investors should pay attention to Nokia and why they should consider buying Nokia stock.
- Geopolitics and 5G.
- Fresh new leadership.
Nokia’s Global Story
Nokia Corp. dates back to 1865. This multinational company is well-known today as a producer of consumer electronics, telecommunications devices, and gear needed to handle information technology.
But that wasn’t always the case.
When Nokia was launched, it focused on making products from wood. The company evolved from operating a pulp mill into other materials, such as rubber, as industries changed.
In the 1990s, Nokia developed into its more familiar form. Its cell phones were a dominant force. People around the world became addicted to talking on a wireless phone.
They also embraced the mobility. Imagine being able to make and take calls almost anywhere you wanted to go (provided that place has cell towers). Americans began to worry about roaming charges and getting away from literally being on call.
And Nokia became the largest provider of these mobile phones.
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) eventually acquired Nokia’s phone-making arm, freeing Nokia to focus on other areas after paving the way for smartphones. Nokia decided to develop and sell trusted components found in many devices now in use.
The transition was not always a pleasant one, as shown by Nokia’s stock prices. Two decades ago, Nokia stock fetched about $50 a share. Currently, it is trading around $5.
Geopolitics and 5G Merge
Nokia is part of a trio of global 5G leaders.
One of the others, Huawei, operates under a cloud of suspicion and downright hostility because it is based in China and suspected of nefarious ties to China’s Communist Party.
That is a big deal these days. China and the United States are engaged in a diplomatic and business showdown. As a result, the U.S. is convincing allies of the potential security threat if they use Huawei’s equipment to convert to 5G.
Due to its location and history, Nokia avoids this kind of baggage. The company also does business in China, which accounted for about 8% of its global revenue last year, as noted by another InvestorPlace columnist, Josh Enomoto. That figure is healthy and means that Nokia has room to grow its China business.
Of course, China accounts for a much smaller portion of Nokia’s revenue compared to North America (30%) and Europe (about 28%).
New Leadership Comes Aboard
Nokia welcomed a new CEO this summer. Pekka Lundmark assumed the company’s reins on Aug. 1, and investors are watching his tenure with interest.
Lundmark is no stranger to Nokia, having worked there from 1990 to 2000. After he left Nokia, Lundmark built a diversified history as an executive in the heavy equipment, energy and venture capital fields.
Although his first stint at the company was some 20 years ago, Lundmark’s experience at Nokia gives him the ability to be a credible leader of the company’s employees going forward.
As InvestorPlace contributor Patrick Sanders stated recently, Lundmark recognizes the opportunities that the 5G transformation has given Nokia.
“If Lundmark can make Nokia a more nimble and aggressive company while pursuing 5G agreements, Nokia stock has a better-than-average chance of breaking out of its longtime slump,” he wrote.
The Bottom Line on Nokia Stock
Nokia is a longtime international company with a brand that is familiar to many people around the globe.
Over 155 years, the company has gone from pulping wood to providing high-tech equipment that is enabling the 5G transformation. Meanwhile, the 5G transformation is occurring at the same time that high-stakes security and geopolitical considerations become prominent. Nokia is positioned well for this situation.
Also, a new CEO is at the helm of Nokia, Pekka Lundmark. He brings a diversified background that seems to be well-suited for the times.
Nokia stock is set for better days, too. The company’s financial position has improved, and its shares are up about 35% this year.
There’s room for Nokia to grow and prosper in the years ahead. Depending on their tolerance for risk, investors should consider joining Nokia for the 5G trip.
Larry Sullivan is a veteran journalist in Florida who has covered banking and finance for several years. He is a former investing editor at U.S. News & World Report in Washington D.C. At this writing, Larry Sullivan holds a position in Microsoft.