For many investors, over-the-counter equities, or OTC stocks, imply a high degree of speculation. Yes, there are plenty of micro- and small-cap names among OTC stocks. But this isn’t an indictment.
Nor is the OTC label. In fact, all over-the-counter really means is the methodology by which a stock trades. OTC stocks don’t transact on a traditional bourse, like the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq Exchange. In the United States, the over-the-counter market is deep with 11,240 securities and billions of dollars in daily volume spread across hundreds of thousands of transactions.
Another thing investors should consider is that the marketplace is home to some large, well-known foreign companies that want some U.S. exposure without taking on the costs of trading on the Nasdaq or NYSE. There’s nothing wrong with that.
As the following list proves, investors don’t always need to be daring when it comes to embracing OTC stocks. Here are some to consider:
- Nestle (OTCMKTS:NSRGY)
- Tencent Holdings (OTCMKTS:TCEHY)
- William Hill (OTCMKTS:WIMHY)
- Flutter Entertainment (OTCMKTS:PDYPY)
- LVMH (OTCMKTS:LVMUY)
- Pernod Ricard (OTCMKTS:PDRDY)
- Score Media and Gaming (OTCMKTS:TSCRF)
OTC Stocks: Nestle (NSRGY)
Nestle is proof that the OTC universe isn’t home to just speculative fare. The Swiss consumer staples company is one of the largest food companies in the world. By revenue, it is the largest food maker in the world — and there is a good chance there’s at least one Nestle product in your cupboard or fridge as we speak. Why? Because the company has dominant positioning in everything from baby food to coffee, cereal, ice cream and much more.
Many European companies don’t report financials on a quarterly basis, and that’s true of Nestle. However, first-half results were solid as earnings surged 22.2% on organic growth of 2.8%. The company is forecasting sales growth of 2% to 3% for this year, which isn’t too shabby for a company of this size. Plus, cash-raising asset sales could be on the way.
Consider this about Nestle: It may be an OTC stock, but over the past five years, it’s up almost 55%. In the same time period, Kraft Heinz (NASDAQ:KHC) is off 55%.
Chinese internet giant Tencent is a near-term example of a high-risk idea. Why? Because it is right in President Donald Trump’s crosshairs. As part of an executive order banning the famed TikTok video app, Trump is also seeking similar treatment of Tencent’s WeChat messaging app. Tencent stock slumped 7.4% last Friday on that news.
WeChat has over a billion users, inside and outside China. And, among messaging apps, it’s one of the more recognizable in the world. That means some of the selloff is understandable, but investors shouldn’t be hasty in avoiding Tencent because there’s much more to the company beyond messaging. In its home market, it’s an internet Goliath with brand recognition on par with an Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) or a Facebook (NASDAQ:FB).
The company is a player in an array of hot markets ranging from e-commerce to internet search to streaming entertainment. Most of that in China, the world’s largest internet market. And that doesn’t include a massive investment arm with nearly $7 billion worth of stakes in close to 500 companies, including eSports and online gaming.
OTC Stocks: William Hill (WIMHY)
Gamblers that have traveled to the United Kingdom have probably seen a William Hill betting shop or two in urban areas. Indeed, its home country — and others in Europe — remain marquee markets for the sportsbook operator. But remember this: The U.S. is the fastest-growing sports wagering market in the world. William Hill is an established name here, too.
In fact, William Hill’s U.S. footprint is poised to grow by way of the recent deal creating the new version of Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ:CZR). The bookmaker had an old agreement with Eldorado Resorts, the company that bought Caesars. Eldorado took a 20% stake in William Hill U.S. in exchange for access to its portfolio.
That is important for multiple reasons. First, in Las Vegas, the Caesars Palace sportsbook is one of the most visited venues of its kind. Second, management of the new Caesars thinks the sports betting business could generate up to $700 million in revenue next year. Finally, the European analysts that cover William Hill almost universally say that investors across the pond aren’t adequately valuing the operator’s positioning in the U.S. In other words, the stock is undervalued.
Flutter Entertainment (PDYPY)
Many of the same sentiments that apply to William Hill apply to Flutter Entertainment. Flutter is also a U.K.-based bookmaker. In its home market and Europe, it’s known for its Betfair betting shops.
However, Flutter is a massive company. In fact, it’s the largest online gambling company in the world. Whether they know it or not, FanDuel players in the U.S. are contributing to the Flutter stock thesis because the British company owns that daily fantasy sports (DFS) and sportsbook operator.
Through its control of well-known poker websites, its ownership of FanDuel and a relationship with FOX Bet, FanDuel, like William Hill, is a growing force in the U.S. market. Here, however, the British company doesn’t just compete with its peer from its homeland. Its primary rival is arguably DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG) because the companies act as a DFS duopoly while both are competing to gain sports betting licenses in various states.
OTC Stocks: LVMH (LVMUY)
Whether it is luxury bags under the Luis Vuitton brand or high-end alcohol under the Moet & Chandon labels, LVMH exemplifies glitz and glamour to many consumers.
However, while LVMH makes plenty of items — namely wine and spirits — that folks can enjoy while sheltering in place, the stock has been vulnerable to the novel coronavirus pandemic because many of its boutiques are located in tourist-dependent cities, making this very much a travel stock.
There’s added risk here in the form of the French company’s efforts to acquire Tiffany & Co (NYSE:TIF). Long story short, LVMH knows that its target is being hurt by the pandemic, too. As such, the buyer doesn’t want to buy Tiffany shares on the open market, something the seller may balk at.
Pernod Ricard (PDRDY)
Pernod Ricard is another French company in the high-end spirits business, producing popular brands such as Absolut vodka, Chivas Regal, Jameson whiskey and Havana Club rum, among others.
In normal times, Pernod Ricard has an enviable portfolio and the potential to be an alluring prospect for investors. Unfortunately, Covid-19 weighs on the thesis for this name because high-end wine and spirits depend on bars, restaurants and tourist destinations as significant drivers of revenue. Due to the pandemic, many of those venues are shutdown — some for good — or operating at limited capacity.
The company’s first-half results confirm these vulnerabilities, as its travel retail business plunged 80% from February through June. At the same time, the recovery in China is being described as “slow.”
Another issue for Pernod Ricard is the weak U.S. dollar. As that situation continues, which many believe it will because of low interest rates, the euro — the company’s reporting currency — could rise. A weaker dollar translated into euros means fewer of the latter and crimped revenue for Pernod.
OTC Stocks: Score Media and Gaming (TSCRF)
With a closing price of 51 cents on Aug. 10 and a market capitalization of just $178 million, Score Media and Gaming is the most speculative of the names highlighted here, but that’s not a knock. For risk-tolerant investors, this Canadian small-cap stock holds some appeal.
Score is a growing player in the sports betting universe and much of that growth is happening in the U.S. The company has licenses to operates theScore wagering app in Colorado, Indiana and New Jersey. The first two are a pair of the fastest-growing sports betting markets in the country, and the Garden State is the largest in the U.S.
Score’s fiscal third-quarter results were rough because there were limited sports offerings for gamblers to take action on because of the coronavirus. The good news is the U.S. sports slate is growing fuller. With the NBA ramping up, Score’s revenue should increase.
Another positive for investors to consider: Score has a robust content operation, something that many sportsbook operators lack and look to add via acquisitions. For the speculators out there, the small market value combined with the media business and sportsbook operations in attractive states could make Score a takeover target in the future.
Todd Shriber has been an InvestorPlace contributor since 2014. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.