James Dennin, Kapitall: For those who caught our Zombie Apocalypse Index last year, read on for more macabre investing ideas. Happy Halloween fellow Kapitallists. If Edgar Allen Poe traded securities, his portfolio would look something like this list. Behold, if you dare, stocks that want to eat your brains. Well, sort of. Last year, we focused on stocks that would help you survive a zombie apocalypse. Having already covered stock picks for the survivors, we decided it was only fair to fashion a list for their sometimes misunderstood counterparts. Hey, zombies might have as much use for a cozy nest-egg as we do. Why shouldn't the undead get the same access to investing advice as the living? Zombies like one thing and one thing only, brains. Depending on where you look, the undead's cranial obsession is either a side effect of a rabies-like retro-virus or an ominous, Biblical warning about the dangers of tampering with God's #1 best invention. Either way, whether you're a partisan of Max Brooks's pseudo-histories or George Romero's violent morality tales – one thing about zombies seems consistent throughout. They want to eat your brains. Investing ideas for a zombie apocalypse We decided to find 'brain stocks' for our undead investing aficionados. Diversification is still key, especially for zombies. If you can't die of natural causes, odds are you'll probably want to hold these stocks for a pretty long time. So we found stocks with a vested financial interest in the future of the human, and artificial brains. Many of the companies featured are heavily involved in some ambitious government initiatives to develop a map of the human brain not unlike the results of the Human Genome Project – which mapped our DNA. President Barack Obama announced his Human Brain Initiative last summer, which prompted concerns from conservatives about its usefulness and its costs. However, since so little is known about the brain, the President's hope is that a map will help enormously in the treatment of psychological and brain disorders.
One of the reason why so many companies are getting involved is that even the most lavishly funded foundations and NGOs have paltry budgets for research and development. At least when you compare their coffers to stocks like pharmaceutical giants Novartis (NVS), which recently re-opened its R&D wing devoted to the human brain.Technology companies as well are fascinated with the project, and have been quick to lend their support. Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), and Qualcomm (QCOM) were all present when Obama rolled out the plan. Writers at Vice speculate that they are eager to use details about the brain to get even creepier in their perfection of targeted ads. If they had a better idea of which neurons to tap when selling us certain goods – they might be able to evoke stronger, more predictable results. And then make zombies of us all. Chew on that. Click on the interactive chart below to see data for stocks on our list over time. All of these companies are interested in the human brain, just like zombies. But are there investment opportunities here? Use the list below as a starting point for your own analysis. 1. International Business Machines Corp. ( IBM): Provides information technology (IT) products and services worldwide. Market cap at $197.10B, most recent closing price at $180.15. Brain Fixation: IBM announced over the summer that it is working on cognitive computer chips that are inspired by the way neurons interact in the brain. Their hope for the Synapse Project is to develop computers that can accomplish tasks which are easier for the human brain to accomplish than computers.
2. SAP AG ( SAP): Provides business software primarily in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Americas, and the Asia Pacific Japan region. Market cap at $93.86B, most recent closing price at $78.80.Brain Fixation: SAP is one of the major corporate sponsors and collaborators in Europe's Human Brain Project. Not unlike Obama's Brain Initiative, the project involves the collective resources of a number of European governments, foundations, companies, and universities.
3. Brain Resource Ltd. ( BRRZY): Provides brain function analysis services in Australia. Market Cap at $34.37M, most recent closing price at $1.84. Brain Fixation: Zombie traders are clammering for shares of this OTC traded stock, though its youth and small market capitalization make it an extremely risky investment.
4. Google Inc. ( GOOG): Google is the world's most popular search engine. Market cap at $345.20B, most recent closing price at $1033.22. Brain Fixation: An early attendee and supporter of President Obama's Brain Intitiative.
5. Microsoft Corporation ( MSFT): Develops, licenses, and supports a range of software products and services for various computing devices worldwide. Market cap at $297.33B, most recent closing price at $35.62. Brain Fixation: Also an early attendee and corporate sponsor for President Obama's Brain Initiative.
6. QUALCOMM Incorporated ( QCOM): Engages in the development, design, manufacture, and marketing of digital wireless telecommunications products and services. Market cap at $118.74B, most recent closing price at $69.04. Brain Fixation: Qualcomm actually owns an entire subsidiary called the Brain Corporation which develops software to mimic the human brain. It is the major corporate collaborator with President Obama's Brain Initiative.
7. Novartis AG ( NVS): Engages in the research, development, manufacture, and marketing of healthcare products worldwide. Market cap at $190.12B, most recent closing price at $78.87. Brain Fixation: Pharmaceutical giant Novartis AG re-opened their R&D wing that's devoted to the brain this October.
8. Electronic Arts ( EA): Develops, markets, publishes, and distributes game software content. Market cap at $8.08B, most recent closing price at $26.00.Brain Fixation: One of EA's most popular titles is Plants vs. Zombies. It's useful for zombies too. Know your enemy. ( List compiled by James Dennin, a Kapitall Writer. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research, all other data sourced from Finviz.)