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Emerging Post-Coronavirus Investment Sectors: Diamonds

One of the impacts of COVID-19 was investors altering their usual investment behavioral patterns. One of the emerging investment industries during this time was fine jewelry, in particular, diamonds.

Even before the coronavirus outbreak, business investor Mozes Victor Konig believed that diamonds made a sound investment choice.  He said:

“The first thing I learned in my investment education was the value of physical commodities. While markets invariably rise and fall, this is less the case with such objects.  One example of a physical commodity is diamonds.  I have long believed that diamonds are a solid investment.”

Diamonds are also all unique. Due to the fact that each one is comprised of extremely complex combinations, every cut or mined diamond is different. This adds value to the diamond industry as a whole.

Konig advises those interested in diamond purchase as an investment to remember that the rarest is the red diamond. While it is the most expensive it also makes for the best investment. As well, the price of diamonds increases with time, value is maintained and with more people making the investment, prices will only increase which will result in yet a greater return investment-speaking.

Checkers and Rally’s Restaurants

When the pandemic began in 2020, restaurants were in the industry most hardest hit from beginning to end.  Some of them shuttered immediately, others tried to weather the storm but then there was a third category that managed to make lemonade out of lemons.  They were the ones who were able to turn their entire business into take out and digital orders.  And one of those was Checkers and Rally’s.

First of all, the chain revamped its menu in order to attract more attention and sales.  That led to an increase in demand which resulted in Checkers and Rally’s next step of moving its sales toward digital and delivery orders.  In fact, one of its drive-thru lanes became dedicated to solely those orders.

And this made sense for the restaurant business.  A CNBC report found that throughout the restaurant industry, sales from drive-thru lanes had increased to 44% of all off-premises orders by December of 2020. While vaccines are hopefully making socializing easier again, the industry believes drive-thru popularity will remain.

Getting back to Checkers & Rally, in other good news for the firm, its parent company Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc., just had its fries ranked #1 Most Craveable Fries in America* . In celebration of this win, on July 13, it offered fries for $1 (any size) throughout the nation on National French Fry Day.

President & CEO of Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc., and Member of the No Kid Hungry Advisory Board Frances Allen said:

“We were thrilled to be named the #1 Most Craveable Fries in America by consumers, and we wanted to celebrate by giving back to the communities we serve. No Kid Hungry is providing grants to help schools and community organizations across the country provide meals to kids. We are proud to partner with them as our national charity for a second year in a row.”

Job Creation and the Future of Economic Growth

With the coronavirus pandemic seemingly firmly entrenched in our lives, at least in some way, we are learning how to live with this new reality.  Ups and downs are and will continue to occur for at least the next few months, so what does this mean for economic growth?  Given that some industries were forced to shut down at the peak of the pandemic and then re-assess thereafter, what direction is job creation now taking? Here some of the experts weigh in.

According to Belgian politician and businessman Alexander De Croo, we are looking at some pretty good numbers vis-à-vis business and consumer confidence.  The way forward for job creation is to deal with the supply-side constraints, at least in the short-term. This will cause an element of disruption and transition in the longer-term and there will be a greater need for more job training. “But if there’s one place we don’t want disruption, it’s on the social side.”  

Singaporean politician Heng Swee Keat said “To harness the potential of the digital economy, we need to harmonize standards and allow the trusted flow of data and facilitate cross-border transactions.”

Charles Nulsen, founder of Empower Montgomery and president of Washington Property Company explained his position given his own experience.  He said:

 “As a businessman with a front-row seat to the county’s policies and impacts, it is clear that there is no sense of urgency for creating new jobs whether in White Oak, White Flint, Silver Spring, Rockville, Gaithersburg, or anywhere else in the County. Outside of downtown Bethesda, no other area is growing, and many areas are backsliding. Political indifference to this trend jeopardizes our expansive social safety net and our community prosperity.”

President Joe Biden seemed to summarize this when he said: “Simply put, our economy is on the move and the covid-19 pandemic is on the run…More jobs. Better wages. It’s a good combination.”

More jobs are needed for sure, but they have to be smart jobs that make sense during this time.

Global Inflation

Inflation has spiraled everywhere.  According to Andrei Belousov, Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister, there are various reasons for this: a dwindling monetary policy and reduced cross-border capital flows.  He said:

“The inflation wave has affected the world’s economy quite unexpectedly. We know inflation in the US is unprecedentedly high, over 4%. An inflation wave starts in Europe; we see more than 2% where inflation was zero before. Most probably, all of them are signs of not merely monetary policy weakening much spoken about now but also of structural changes occurring in consequence of dramatic weakening of contacts between people, reduction of the cross-border flow of goods, capital, workforce and so on.”

Furthermore, there has been a widespread consensus among economists that there is substantial pressure on prices but where there is no agreement is if the increase in inflation is a temporary situation that will resolve itself as economies and consumers adjust to post-pandemic living, or if it’s the beginning of a new trend.

It’s worrying right now as it is impacting food prices.  According to latest report from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, May was the 12th consecutive month that food prices around the world went up.  Compared to last year this hike was close to 40 percent.  Such increases really negatively impact food shortages in developing countries that rely on staple food imports.

Igniting the Biotech Industry

Regulators in America recently approved a Biogen Inc drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease. This could bolster interest in biotech and pharmaceutical investments that have seen the depletion of market in 2021.

Businessman and investor Mozes Konig – who in the past dealt with some issues with Interpol which are now behind him – has long understood the merits of the biotech industry. 

“Over the years I’ve made various investments in quite a few sectors so I’ve learned a lot along the way.  People have approached me for advice about where next to invest and I really believe that biotech is the next big idea,” he said.

The coronavirus pandemic however, created some negativity for the biotech market. For example, before Biogen Inc.’s news regarding its Alzheimer’s treatment, the second largest (asset) healthcare EFT had only grown 1 percent since the beginning of 2021.  Given that the anticipated growth from S&P 500 was 12 percent, this was a huge loss.

“It seems to me that the entire industry was in need of some kind of dramatic news,” Mozes Konig said on this. “Biogen has thankfully given them that,” he added. 

Now that we are moving past the coronavirus, there is optimism that the industry will resume its strong growth pattern.

Industrial PC Market

The Industrial PC market (computers manufactured for use in industries which are more reliable and efficient than commercial use ones) is booming.  And it will continue to grow substantially at least for the foreseeable future.

In 2019 it was estimated at a value of $5.006bn.  The projected CAGR growth rate by 2026 is to $7.756 bn.  The coronavirus pandemic definitely enhanced the market and will likely continue to do so over the next few years. The industrial automation sector skyrocketed, along with the need for more industrial PCs.

What this has resulted in is progress in other sectors including: AI, IoT and machine learning.  There has also been an increase in automation and robotics from the pandemic.

Wheat Flour Markets

North America’s Wheat Flour Market: C.H. Guenther & Son

C.H. Guenther & Son – a company that was established in 1851 in Texas, today has over 3,500 staff spanning 24 locations throughout America, Canada and Western Europe.  It was originally started with Carl Hilmar Guenther building a flour mill near Fredericksburg, TX but eight years later when a new steam mill was constructed, Guenther sold the original one to his father in law, bought a site in San Antonio (building a home nearby) and 9 years later built a second mill.

Fast forward a century+ and in 1972, White Wings Flour Tortilla Mix more-or-less becomes a household name! By 2005 the company has become one of McDonald’s go-to bun and muffin supplier and since then more companies have been acquired with more bakers opened throughout Europe and North America.

So it’s a good company to be with.  Which is why we suspect John D. Buckles might have been quite delighted with his appointment as CEO and President of the firm, replacing Dale W. Tremblay who led the firm since 2001.  Prior to this role (which he took on at the end of April), Buckles joins C.H. Guenther & Son was Chief Commercial Officer at Ventura Foods, and before that, he held executive roles at: The Cocoa-Cola Company, The Kellogg Company and the PepsiCo Company.

Of his appointment Buckles said: “I am thrilled to join Dale and the entire CHG team to honor the 170-year family legacy of this great company. I have long admired CHG’s culture, product quality, customer partnerships and manufacturing expertise. I look forward to continuing CHG’s commitment to building lasting relationships and its passion for innovating remarkable food solutions. With three acquisitions since 2018, CHG has continued to grow and enhance our leading product offering for our customers As I hand the baton to John and assume the role of Chairman of CHG’s Board, I am confident John is the right leader for CHG’s next phase of growth. I am eager to support John through the transition as he drives new business opportunities, evaluates add-on acquisitions and further strengthens our critical customer relationships.”

In general the wheat flour market is a good one to be in right now.  An IMARC Group Report showed that in 2019 the market reached 12.3 million tons.

Mozes Konig’s Go-To Video on Tips for Start-Ups

Mozes Konig: I saw this video from Keshav Chintamani a few months ago and it made such a great impression on me.  Chintamani – Tractonomy Robotics CEO and TedX Speaker – details some of the struggles he encountered when he began his company.  In particular he discusses how important it is to come up with the right idea, developing a team and how to get the capital for the first product.

Investors Banking on Lidar

More investors are joining the trend to invest on lidar technology – the remote sensing method that uses laser light to measure distances and has garnered ample interest from automakers in recent times.

Until around 2015, lidar technology – which in a  nutshell uses laser light to measure distances – attracted a very specifically-defined section of investors, primarily in data-driven, mapping and other emerging industries which did not have a large volume of need.

“That is rapidly changing,” explained Moses Konig, a tech investor who has put all his issues with Interpol behind him. “Today there is a far greater demand in the industry because more sectors are seeing how beneficial it can be,” he added.

The industry was probably also affected by the coronavirus pandemic given that one of the core sectors using the technology was transportation.  Now that lockdowns and stay-at-home orders are being lifted the investment opportunities in the industry are looking a lot brighter.