There’s no denying that one of the most influential names in the financial world is Elon Musk. The Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) founder and CEO has almost singlehandedly forced automakers across the globe to shift their focus to electric vehicles. His tweets have proven even more powerful, sending cryptos such as Dogecoin (CCC:DOGE-USD) up or down with just a few words. As investors search for stocks to buy in the year ahead, it makes sense for them to evaluate a stock’s proximity to the man who so often moves the market.
As Bloomberg’s Matt Levine stated in an early 2021 column, “… the way finance works now is that things are valuable not based on their cash flows but on their proximity to Elon Musk.”
Quiver Quantitative, a market research firm that “aims to bridge the gap between Main Street and Wall Street,” took that sentiment to heart. Based on Levine’s proposed Elon Markets Hypothesis, Quiver engineered a ranking of stocks with the closest proximity to Tesla. A company’s ranking comes from how likely it is to receive acknowledgement from Musk on social media. And in order to determine those likelihoods, Quiver examines the degrees of separation between a company’s Twitter and Musk’s Twitter.
So what are the stocks to buy that have the closest proximity to Musk? If you rule out Tesla, here are the top 10 companies ranked by connection to Musk:
- Maxar Technologies (NYSE:MAXR)
- Iridium Communications (NASDAQ:IRDM)
- Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC)
- Axon Enterprise (NASDAQ:AXON)
- L3Harris Technologies (NYSE:LHX)
- Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT)
- Ansys (NASDAQ:ANSS)
Stocks to Buy: Maxar Technologies (MAXR)
Looking over this list, you might think that Musk was a dictator, not an EV pioneer. Most of the stocks with the highest proximity scores belong to companies in the spaces of weapon production, defense contracting and aerospace technology. They serve as a good reminder, though, that Musk is also a pioneer of the space exploration field.
The first name on this list, for example, Maxar Technologies, is a Colorado-based producer of space technology. Its focus is on earth observation, communication and satellites.
With a new space race kicking off, InvestorPlace contributors have previously tapped MAXR stock as one to buy. As more companies work to launch rockets within the coming year, it is likely that stocks with ties to the sector will be rising along with them. It’s also worth noting that Maxar is a a noted partner of the U.S. government, assisting with both earth intelligence and space infrastructure projects.
With all of this in mind, it’s easy to see where the proximity to Musk would come in.
Iridium Communications (IRDM)
This company’s name might call to mind images of a public relations or media consulting firms, but don’t be fooled. Iridium’s primary function is providing mobile satellite services.
More specifically, this company operates 66 earth-orbiting satellites. This satellite constellation is constantly facilitating the voice and data communication that we buy satellite phones and other transceiver units to access. Iridium definitely deserves to use the word communications in its company title.
Because of its nice in the world of space tech, Iridium has also earned some interesting attention. In fact, it was named to a list of stocks to buy ahead of an apocalypse.
While IRDM may not be involved in the space tech field in the sane way as other companies on this list, its tech is clearly important. It therefore seems fitting that it would have a high proximity to Musk. While the stock spiked in 2020, it could easily go back up again in the coming year. If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that disaster is sometimes not as far away as we’d like to think. Musk likely knows this, and it may factor into his proximity to IRDM.
Stocks to Buy: Northrop Grumman (NOC)
Northrop Grumman operates in the aerospace technology field with a focus on military and defense technology. It’s frequently named to lists of stocks to buy or watch that center around terrorism and global tensions and for good reason — it’s one of the largest providers of military equipment and technology in the world. With its base in the suburb of Falls Church, Virginia, this company is located just a stone’s throw away from our nation’s capital.
As can be expected, Northrop Grumman has a focus on space and its technology too. The company’s website touts its project list as including “making a 200 ton airplane invisible, predicting cyber attacks before they happen or solving the mysteries of the universe.” The first thing on that list absolutely calls Musk to mind, so it definitely makes sense that this company would have a high proximity to him.
Axon Enterprise (AXON)
This company is best known for its taser, but it produces many types of weapons and protection technology for civilians, law enforcement and the military.
Earlier this year, InvestorPlace analyst Luke Lango described it as the runaway leader in its space, and given its impressive performance over the course of 2021, it’s easy to see why. While this month has brought some turbulence, AXON stock is up 40% for the past six months and 44% for the year to date. Lango predicted that by the end of the decade, Axon would be the leading “provider of all things technology for the modern police agency.”
It’s not hard to see where the potential for a stock like AXON lies. Firearm and personal protection technology surged throughout 2021 due to the rises in civil unrest that the U.S. experienced. It’s a little harder to see where the proximity to Musk comes into play.
That said, it may be that all companies with ties to the defense sector have at least partial proximity to him. If you’re looking for defense stocks to buy that don’t have direct ties to space, AXON is definitely worth watching and Musk may be keeping this in mind.
Stocks to Buy: L3Harris Technologies (LHX)
Another popular name among defense sector stocks to watch, L3 Harris is concerned with both defense contracting and IT as it moves to navigate an ever-changing industry landscape.
The company claims its mission is to “Protect, Connect and Inform,” producing technology designed to help humanity advance on land, water and air. It also makes clear that it is focused on space navigation, with projects involving space exploration and battlespace technology. The company’s space solutions seem to center around defense technology.
In those last two sentences, we see the multiple areas in which the proximity to Musk lies. Like other names on this list, L3Harris is heavily invested not only in space exploration and defense technology, but where the two areas intersect. It’s easy to see why Musk would be concerned with an industry-dominating company that focuses on two primary interests of his.
Lockheed Martin (LMT)
Lockheed Martin is yet another stock on this list that operates in the aerospace engineering realm. Through this, it touches on weapons production, defense contracting, information technology and satellites. Not only is it perfect for Elon Musk, it’s also a culmination of the other stocks to buy that are close to the Tesla magnate.
So what else do you need to know about Lockheed?
InvestorPlace contributor Alex Sirois recently touted the significant potential of LMT as a long-term investment, and by long-term, he meant 10 years. In his list of stocks to buy and hold for the foreseeable future, he recommended Lockheed for each of its core businesses. While not everyone is so bullish on LMT, this proximity to Musk makes the stock worth watching through 2022.
Stocks to Buy: Ansys (ANSS)
The last name on this list stands out from the other stocks to buy for their Musk proximity in that it operates in a slightly different field. Ansys develops and produces simulation software within the computer-aided engineering and multiphysics spaces. This may set it apart from the companies named above. A quick look around its website, though, reveals that Ansys is deeply concerned with the future of both autonomous engineering and commercial aerospace, two things that we know Musk is also deeply concerned with.
The company’s engineers operate within and explore many fields, including digital missions engineering, autonomous vehicle stimulation and safety analysis. With all this mind, it seems a safe assessment that this is exactly the type of company that would have a high proximity to Musk, given his dynamic reach into many different areas of science and emerging tech. Despite its low ranking on the Quiver Quant list, it seems a more likely candidate than others to receive a direct tweet from Musk, who we know follows progress within his fields of business intently.
On the date of publication, Samuel O’Brient did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.