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Growth Investing

Four of Canada’s brightest investors go head to head
in a battle for portfolio supremacy

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Meet Growth Investor Chris Umiastowski

Latest Columns

Why Starbucks shares could double in five years

CHRIS UMIASTOWSKI

Chris Umiastowski is the growth investor for Globe Investor’s Strategy Lab. Follow his contributions here and view his model portfolio here.

Regular readers of my column know that I think very long term when it comes to stocks, and this is often because I make bets on how technology is disrupting old businesses. But I also invest in growth companies that don’t depend as much on technology or disruption. Starbucks Corp. is one such example. I own the stock personally and I’m very comfortable predicting it will outperform over the next five years.

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Why I’m betting on SolarCity’s bright future

CHRIS UMIASTOWSKI

Chris Umiastowski is the growth investor for Globe Investor’s Strategy Lab. Follow his contributions here and view his model portfolio here.

I’ve just added shares of SolarCity to my Strategy Lab model growth portfolio.

I like to invest in companies that are disrupting old ways of doing things. Netflix represents a tidal wave of change to the traditional pay TV model. Google and Facebook are major forces in the transition from old-world print and TV advertising toward online ads. Tesla Motors is threatening yesterday’s automobile industry by replacing the internal combustion engine with a fully electric drivetrain with superior performance and much lower operating costs. These companies are all leaders in their respective fields. Similarly, SolarCity Corp. is the leader in bringing low-cost solar electricity to the masses, and I believe the solar industry now has unstoppable momentum.

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Why BlackBerry is on the verge of returning to substantial growth

CHRIS UMIASTOWSKI

Chris Umiastowski is the growth investor for Globe Investor’s Strategy Lab. Follow his contributions here and view his model portfolio here.

I have been a BlackBerry Ltd. shareholder for about 14 years. During most of those years, it was a growth company. But for the last few years, it certainly did not meet my criteria of a growth company, and I’ve discussed in prior Strategy Lab columns why I did not include the stock in my model growth portfolio. The short version is that revenue, earnings or cash-flow growth seemed too far off in the distance while the company was busy attempting a turnaround. For Strategy Lab, I’ve been sticking to stocks where I felt growth was more certain.

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Netflix's future remains bright despite recent stock price swing

CHRIS UMIASTOWSKI

Chris Umiastowski is the growth investor for Globe Investor’s Strategy Lab. Follow his contributions here and view his model portfolio here.

Investing in common stocks is something that almost everyone should be doing. I feel this is especially true for teens and young adults who have many decades of future compound returns on their side.

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Advertising tools only add to Facebook stock's allure

CHRIS UMIASTOWSKI

Chris Umiastowski is the growth investor for Globe Investor’s Strategy Lab. Follow his contributions here and view his model portfolio here.

I last wrote about Facebook Inc. in late July of this year, following a record quarter that sent the stock soaring to new highs. I argued that the stock price was still quite reasonable. It has been less than three months since that time, which is almost nothing in the eyes of a long-term investor like me, but I can say I feel even more optimistic about the stock today. (I added Facebook to my Strategy Lab model growth portfolio last November, and I also hold the stock personally.)

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Big plays by Netflix, Apple reveal a wealth of growth potential

CHRIS UMIASTOWSKI

Chris Umiastowski is the growth investor for Globe Investor’s Strategy Lab. Follow his contributions here and view his model portfolio here.

Four years ago I pulled out my credit card, filled out a quick form and became a member of Netflix. My wife and I were sold on the incredible library of kids content. For our two daughters, who were in preschool and kindergarden at the time, it was a gold mine of shows that interested them.

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Ahead of iPhone 6, Apple stock is undervalued

CHRIS UMIASTOWSKI

Chris Umiastowski is the growth investor for Globe Investor’s Strategy Lab. Follow his contributions here and view his model portfolio here.

I’ve held Apple stock in my Strategy Lab model growth portfolio ever since we launched the series in September, 2012. Only recently has the share price advanced to make it even slightly profitable. With such lagging performance compared with Netflix, Facebook, Tesla Motors and other names in my portfolio, shouldn’t I be dumping Apple?

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Why I’m hanging on to Sierra Wireless despite its runup

CHRIS UMIASTOWSKI

Chris Umiastowski is the growth investor for Globe Investor’s Strategy Lab. Follow his contributions here and view his model portfolio here.

When I added shares of Sierra Wireless Inc. to my Strategy Lab model portfolio, I did so because of the small cap company’s exposure to what we now call “The Internet of Things.” The Richmond, B.C.-based company exhibited, and still exhibits, the right combination of great management, leadership in its industry and big potential growth. Those are the kinds of investments I like to tuck away in my portfolio for a long time to come.

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Like growth stocks? Be prepared to ride out volatility

CHRIS UMIASTOWSKI

Chris Umiastowski is the growth investor for Globe Investor’s Strategy Lab. Follow his contributions here and view his model portfolio here.

If there is one rule of long-term investing that any growth investor needs to understand, it is that the size of the prize is proportional to the audacity of the business idea. But there is an important corollary: The bigger the prize you are going after, the more volatility you should expect with every quarterly report.

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Sell Facebook? Not when its earnings may double

CHRIS UMIASTOWSKI

Chris Umiastowski is the growth investor for Globe Investor’s Strategy Lab. Follow his contributions here and view his model portfolio here.

Facebook Inc. hit a new all-time high after reporting quarterly earnings last week. Although I started writing for Strategy Lab in September, 2012, it took me until November, 2013, to understand the power of Facebook’s business model and add shares to my model portfolio (disclosure: I also own it personally). But now that the stock has climbed 60 per cent in eight months, shouldn’t I take my profit and move on?

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I love this company’s gadgets – but not its stock

CHRIS UMIASTOWSKI

Chris Umiastowski is the growth investor for Globe Investor’s Strategy Lab. Follow his contributions here and view his model portfolio here.

GoPro Inc. is the latest consumer gadget company to go public with what can only be described as a spectacularly successful share offering. The IPO happened in late June at $24 (U.S.) a share, and within a week, the shares had reached a high of almost $50. As I write this, the shares are now trading at about $36, or 50 per cent higher than the offering price.

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‘The Internet of Things’: Google, Apple and the next big growth cycle

CHRIS UMIASTOWSKI

Chris Umiastowski is the growth investor for Globe Investor’s Strategy Lab. Follow his contributions here and view his model portfolio here.

Ever since Apple Inc. released the first iPhone in 2007, the smartphone sector, previously dominated by BlackBerry, exploded to a whole new level of growth. Today the two market leaders, Apple and Google Inc., control the two most popular mobile operating systems, iOS and Android. There is still a lot of growth to come in this market, since billions of people around the world still don’t have smartphones. But beyond that obvious next step of deeper consumer penetration, I think something more exciting is happening. It’s been dubbed “the Internet of Things.”

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Sharing your own patents is actually a smart move

CHRIS UMIASTOWSKI

Chris Umiastowski is the growth investor for Globe Investor’s Strategy Lab. Follow his contributions here and view his model portfolio here.

About two weeks ago, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors Inc., took the stage to answer questions from his audience at the annual meeting of shareholders. One investor’s question ended up revealing a lot about Elon Musk and the value of long-term thinking.

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I’m decluttering my portfolio – and you should, too

CHRIS UMIASTOWSKI

Chris Umiastowski is the growth investor for Globe Investor’s Strategy Lab. Follow his contributions here and view his model portfolio here.

This week my family is moving from a bustling North Toronto neighbourhood to a small town about one hour outside of the city. Even though we’ve been packing in bits and pieces for the last few months, there are still a lot of last-minute decisions we’re making about what to keep and what to throw away.

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Even tech investors underestimate mobile's huge potential

CHRIS UMIASTOWSKI

Chris Umiastowski is the growth investor for Globe Investor’s Strategy Lab. Follow his contributions here and view his model portfolio here.

Every year, Mary Meeker publishes the latest version of her “Internet Trends” report, which has grown to become quite famous in the technology investing community. Ms. Meeker, a partner at venture capital firm KPCB, has a knack for summarizing a wealth of data through a series of fascinating charts. I love reading through her presentation every year because it encourages us to think about trends that are playing out over a number of years rather than wasting time reacting to quarterly earnings.

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Tech stocks: The big winners ... and the likely losers

CHRIS UMIASTOWSKI

Chris Umiastowski is the growth investor for Globe Investor’s Strategy Lab. Follow his contributions here and view his model portfolio here.

I recently enjoyed watching a brilliant presentation that aligned very well with how I approach investing. The 23-minute talk, called “Winners and Losers in a Digital Age,” was given by NYU marketing professor Scott Galloway at an industry conference, but it’s fitting that I watched a recording of it that was posted on YouTube.

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Amid cash burn, this stock could go to zero – or turn profitable

CHRIS UMIASTOWSKI

Chris Umiastowski is the growth investor for Globe Investor’s Strategy Lab. Follow his contributions here and view his model portfolio here.

One of the stocks in my Strategy Lab growth portfolio that prompts plenty of e-mail questions from readers is DragonWave Inc. This Ottawa-based technology company builds equipment that wireless service providers use to pipe bandwidth to the cellular towers that our mobile devices connect to. We’re constantly using our mobile devices for more data-intensive applications, which means the cellular towers need bigger and bigger data pipes connecting them to the Internet.

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My stock pick slid 10%. I'm still hanging on

CHRIS UMIASTOWSKI

Chris Umiastowski is the growth investor for Globe Investor’s Strategy Lab. Follow his contributions here and view his model portfolio here.

Last week, one of the hottest growth stocks in my portfolio took a sharp nosedive following its quarterly results. While much of Wall Street is busy looking at microscopic details of financial guidance for next quarter, I’m much more interested in how well the long-term story is playing out, which keeps me feeling very optimistic about my investment.

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Twitter: I love the business, but not the stock

CHRIS UMIASTOWSKI

Chris Umiastowski is the growth investor for Globe Investor’s Strategy Lab. Follow his contributions here and view his model portfolio here.

Ah, Twitter. I love the business, but I’m not crazy about the stock.

Last week, Twitter reported its first full quarter as a public company.

Recall that the social media company went public last November with pricing set at $26 (U.S.) a share, which I’d have been quite willing to pay. But unless you were important enough to be allocated a portion of the initial public offering, you had no chance of buying stock at that price. Twitter opened for trading a hair over $45 and traded at more than $70 in late December.

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Scared by tech stocks’ drop? Think long term

CHRIS UMIASTOWSKI

Chris Umiastowski is the growth investor for Globe Investor’s Strategy Lab. Follow his contributions here and view his model portfolio here.

The last week was a busy one for technology investors. Many of the large-cap stocks in my Strategy Lab model portfolio reported earnings. Yet I’m not remotely interested in the typical micro analysis of quarterly earnings and how they compare to consensus estimates from Wall Street analysts. I’m much more interested in the bigger, long-term picture.

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Video-game retailer's stock faces enormous risks

CHRIS UMIASTOWSKI

Chris Umiastowski is the growth investor for Globe Investor’s Strategy Lab. Follow his contributions here and view his model portfolio here.

As an investor I spend a fair bit of my time looking into high-growth industries where technology is disrupting old markets. Sometimes I invest in companies that make clever use of disruptive technologies while other times I see an opportunity to profit from betting against a company on the losing end of an industry transition. This week I’ll touch on one such example in the video-game market: GameStop Corp.

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Should BlackBerry be in your portfolio? It depends

CHRIS UMIASTOWSKI

Chris Umiastowski is the growth investor for Globe Investor’s Strategy Lab. Follow his contributions here and view his model portfolio here.

One technology stock that I own in my personal portfolio but not in my Strategy Lab model growth portfolio is BlackBerry Ltd., the one-time iconic manufacturer of the top smartphone brand in the world.

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Four stock-picking lessons for growth investors

CHRIS UMIASTOWSKI

Chris Umiastowski is the growth investor for Globe Investor’s Strategy Lab. Follow his contributions here and view his model portfolio here.

The past couple of weeks have been fascinating to watch as someone who enjoys investing in the fast-paced technology sector. I’d like to touch upon four events that affected my model portfolio recently, from which I believe there are important investing lessons to be learned.

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The future (still) looks bright for SolarCity

CHRIS UMIASTOWSKI

As the growth investor for Globe Investor’s Strategy Lab series, I take a long-term perspective on stocks. I like to invest in companies that are leaders in important, emerging industries. One such industry that I’m not yet invested in is solar power.

Some of the big solar energy stocks have had stellar performance lately. Isn’t this an obvious investment trend that I’m arriving at too late? I don’t think so, and this underscores an important investing point: Instead of worrying about how long ago others discovered an important trend, focus on the growth ahead. Most of the technology trends I invest in were reasonably obvious to industry pundits at the time I invested in them. But they still weren’t – and aren’t – fully appreciated by the market and give me an opportunity to make a lot of money over a decade or more.

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This small-cap could be the next Netflix – for live sports

CHRIS UMIASTOWSKI

Chris Umiastowski is the growth investor for Globe Investor’s Strategy Lab. Follow his contributions here and view his model portfolio here.

One of the technology trends that I’ve invested heavily in is the shift toward online streaming video. In my Strategy Lab model growth portfolio, Netflix has been the single best performer to date. As much as I love the service Netflix provides, I also realize the company does nothing to address the needs of raving sports fans.

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Stock market ideas, investing insights (and competition): Watch and participate as four of Canada’s brightest investors go head to head in a battle for portfolio supremacy. Whether you’re a dividend collector, a value hunter, a growth junkie or an indexing enthusiast, you’ll find inspiration for your own investing.

About Chris Umiastowski

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