Online trading platform Robinhood (NASDAQ:HOOD) has its fair share of detractors. Critics claim that the company takes advantage of retail investors, has turned buying and selling stocks into an addictive game and is not upfront about the fees it charges for making trades on its platform, a worrying trend for investors looking at Robinhood stocks.
Company executives have been called to testify about their practices before Congress, and several analysts on Wall Street have called on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to bring in new regulations to curtail Robinhood and protect novice retail investors.
Yet despite all the criticism, Robinhood and its more than 20 million accounts have managed to help several stocks post impressive gains over the past year.
Here are three of the top performing stocks that remain popular with the Robinhood investing crowd:
Top Robinhood Stocks of 2021: Lucid Group (LCID)
In the last 12 months, shares of electric vehicle maker Lucid Group have risen 318% to $37.50, as of Jan. 7. The Newark, California-based maker of luxury electric vehicles that many analysts see as the biggest threat to market leader Tesla’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) dominance has had a busy year.
After going public in late July via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) deal, Lucid’s first electric vehicle, the “Air” sedan, began rolling off assembly lines in October. The company just announced plans to expand into the European market later this year. All this positive momentum has helped to propel LCID stock higher. Since going public last summer, Lucid Group’s stock has gained 82%.
Lucid looks well-positioned to continue its success in 2022. In addition to its European expansion, the company is finalizing the development of an electric sport utility vehicle (SUV) that it plans to begin deliveries on in early 2023 as part of its overall strategy to ramp-up its vehicle production from 20,000 this year to 251,000 by 2026.
The company is working hard to corner the market for luxury electric vehicles. Its Lucid Air sedan’s price range is $77,400 for the base model up to $170,500 for the top end “Dream Edition” version of the car. And despite the company being in its infancy, it is already winning praise from critics. The Lucid Air was named the 2021 “Car of the Year” by the influential MotorTrend magazine.
Catalyst Pharmaceuticals (CPRX)
In the last year, Catalyst Pharmaceuticals stock has nearly doubled (up 88%) to $6.60 per share. The Coral Gables, Florida-based company is developing therapeutics for rare neurological diseases. And while the company has come under fire for its pricing model (some of its treatments cost $375,000 per year), the Robinhood crowd has taken a shine to Catalyst Pharmaceuticals and continued to push its stock up throughout 2021.
In January of last year, CPRX stock was trading at $3.50 per share. Bullish investors like that Catalyst Pharmaceuticals quarterly revenue has skyrocketed more than 7,000% since 2019, and that the company has a number of new drug candidates in its pipeline.
Catalyst’s bread and butter is its drug to treat a rare autoimmune disorder called Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome (LEMS). While approved for sale in Canada and the U.S., Catalyst Pharmaceuticals is working to expand the drug’s availability to other parts of the world, namely Japan. The LEMS treatment from Catalyst, called “Firdapse,” is one of only a few commercially available in the world. LEMS is a very rare condition, affecting about one in 100,000 people globally.
This all portends good things for Catalyst Pharmaceuticals and CPRX stock moving forward. Despite its big run higher, Catalyst shares remain relatively cheap with a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of just 14.
Top Robinhood Stocks of 2021: Ocugen (OCGN)
It’s been a rollercoaster ride, but shares of biotechnology company Ocugen are 55% higher today at $4.19 than where they were in January of last year. The Malvern, Pennsylvania-based company specializes in treatments for eye diseases that cause blindness and has also partnered on the development of a Covid-19 vaccine.
OCGN continues to be a volatile stock, but its ups and downs have not dissuaded Robinhood investors who continue to buy shares in the company. Ocugen’s vaccine against Covid-19 has not yet been approved for use in the U.S. or Canada, and that fact has held OCGN shares back despite their increase over the last 12 months.
Ocugen’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate, Covaxin, has received authorization to be used in India, and the company hopes that it will eventually be able to deploy it to other developing nations around the world, many of which are suffering from a vaccine supply shortage.
Ocugen is also optimistic that Covaxin can help treat new variants and strains of Covid-19. A recent clinical study found that the drug was effective against the omicron variant that is currently rampaging across the world.
Regardless of Covaxin’s ultimate outcome, Ocugen will still receive nearly half of all profits from sales of the medication without having to make an investment in its partner, India-based Bharat Biotech.
On the date of publication, Joel Baglole 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.
Joel Baglole has been a business journalist for 20 years. He spent five years as a staff reporter at The Wall Street Journal, and has also written for The Washington Post and Toronto Star newspapers, as well as financial websites such as The Motley Fool and Investopedia.