Top Stock Picks for 2021

The stock market is a sensitive instrument that is affected by fluctuations in the finances of everything from individuals and companies to entire nations. The global markets have experienced some degree of volatility over the first quarter, but there are still good picks out there if you are looking for investment opportunities, including:

Zoom

As video calls have become an essential part of doing business recently, there has been some competition between platforms to provide the most user-friendly interface. Since being founded in 2011 by former Cisco engineer Eric Yuan, Zoom has earned a reputation for reliability which has seen it grown quickly. By 2017, it was considered a ’Unicorn’ company, a term used for start-ups that are valued at more than $1 billion whilst still in private ownership.

On 30th April 2020, Zoom was featured on the NASDAQ-100 stock index for the first time, only a year after it first turned a profit. Zoom stocks increased in value dramatically over the course of 2020, with only a slight drop off in December.

Everything from education and work conferences to social events and entertainment has relied heavily on platforms such as Zoom, and this looks set to continue. Businesses are saving time and money on travel by moving their in-person meetings to the virtual space, giving Zoom plenty of room to grow in the future and making it a good pick for investors.

Sleep Number

While there have been significant changes in the way we work and socialise, one thing that you might think would stay the same is sleep. But even this arena has room for innovation and the introduction of smart technology.

Sleep Number have been making waves in the world of comfortable sleep since 1987 when the company was founded, but it has really come into its own as the public have learned about the importance of good quality sleep.

As more people have been trying to improve their living space in recent months, beds have become a more sought-after commodity, resulting in an increase in the level of interest in technologically enhanced beds. The Sleep Number 360 is being billed as the first ‘smart bed’ that monitors your sleep patterns and quality and adjusts the firmness of your mattress automatically to optimise your experience.

Sleep Number has plenty of potential growth, and as innovators in the sector, the company has the potential to change the way we think of our beds altogether.

888 Holdings

Originally founded in 1997, when it was called ‘Virtual Holdings’, this company was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2005 before changing its name to 888 Holdings in early 2006. Since then, the company has acquired a number of online gambling businesses and expanded its reach to include a number of casino, poker, sport and bingo games.

2020 was a particularly impressive year for all areas of the company, underpinned by an impressive 48% revenue growth in their pokerproduct. This increase in activity has earned them loyal users that are supporting continued growth throughout 2021 so far, making it a strong choice for the future.

Upwork

Working from home has become much more prevalent worldwide, but employment uncertainty has also inspired millions of people to take control of their working lives by adding in additional sources of income. One of the ways in which this has been possible is Upwork, a website that allows freelancers and clients to work together through an easily-accessible platform.

As individuals have dealt with significant changes to the way they work, many have been inspired to take control of their careers and Upwork provides a low-risk way to get started and build up a portfolio of work and a network of clients. Upwork enjoyed a rise in value over the course of 2020 which has continued into 2021 and is forecast to stay strong over the coming months.

Beyond Meat

The last few years have seen a proliferation of online campaigns for meat-free Mondays, Veganuary and other ways to encourage people to make their diets more plant-based. This has led to a number of meat-free manufacturers gaining traction and earning themselves more visibility in some of the most prominent supermarkets.

With so much focus on food availability in 2020, everything from import levels and storage has come under scrutiny from consumers who are taking more care over their food choices than ever before. Innovators in the sector, such as Beyond Meat, are putting time and effort into making meat-free products that appeal to those who want to change their eating habits without missing out on their favourite dishes and it’s

Etsy

Many people have turned their hobbies into earning opportunities over the last year which has seen a rise in popularity for selling sites such as Etsy. This has resulted in a boom year for the craft business which has earned a lot of fans through its ethical approach to matching small, artisanal makers with buyers that appreciate the individuality of the products on offer.

Etsy’s shares were up almost 300% by the end of 2020, which has been attributed to the fact that there is a market for items that compete with the larger, mass-appeal offerings of some of the more ubiquitous sites. With travel and in-person meetings proving difficult, the ability to send thoughtful, personalised gifts to friends and family proved a popular option.

While the internet has provided a platform for a number of businesses to innovate and expand their offerings, investors are also more aware of the pitfalls of buying stocks when a ‘bubble’ is about to burst. Established companies that have earned a reputation for building on their success and expanding at a sustainable rate have reaped the rewards for prioritising sustainable growth.

Although relative newcomers have made waves by offering products that have really met the needs of their target demographic, there are plenty of more established brands and businesses that are set for success as well.

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