Top Teaser Stocks of 2020

In a year like no other... who stood out from the pack?

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, December 23, 2020

Every year we call out a “turkey” stock teaser around Thanksgiving time and poke a bit of fun at some terrible investment ideas…

… so it seems only fair to highlight a few winners as well, and this week, when we’re getting ready to close down for the holiday, seems a good time to spread some cheer and celebrate some good stuff.

So what were the top teaser picks of 2020?  It’s been a doozy of a year, for sure, and there have been some true barn-burner teaser stock picks over the past twelve months… but the ones at the top of the list do still stand out.

You can always check out the (semi-updated) teaser tracking spreadsheets to see what’s going on lately, but as of yesterday these were the winners at the top (the date links to our original article):

Date Company Ticker Newsletter Editor Publisher Buy Price Current Price Percent Change Stock vs. S&P
6/22/2020 MindMed MMEDF Green Chip Stocks Jeff Siegel Angel Publishing $0.37 $2.88 685.91% 668.01%
3/18/2020 The Rubicon Project (now Magnite) MGNI Project 5X Chris Wood RiskHedge $5.01 $27.05 441.12% 388.15%
3/2/2020 Fastly FSLY Motley Fool IPO Trailblazers Tom Gardner Motley Fool $20.25 $106.25 423.65% 401.12%
9/29/2020 VSBLTY VSBGF Wealth Warrior, The Jason Simpkins Outsider Club / Angel Publishing $0.10 $0.50 380.77% 370.91%
3/27/2020 The Trade Desk TTD Motley Fool Stock Advisor Dave Gardner, Tom Gardner Motley Fool $197.51 $960.87 384.62% 344.01%
4/13/2020 Fastly FSLY Motley Fool Cloud Disruptors 2022 Motley Fool $22.11 $106.25 379.60% 349.96%
4/6/2020 Square SQ Palm Beach Letter Teeka Tiwari Common Sense Publishing $50.31 $239.84 376.55% 337.78%
3/19/2020 Trulieve TCNNF Cabot Marijuana Investor Timothy Lutts Cabot $6.55 $31.30 377.86% 317.06%
3/16/2020 Moderna MRNA Million Dollar Portfolio (Wyatt) Ian Wyatt Wyatt Investment Research $28.18 $127.49 351.99% 306.45%
2/24/2020 Denali Therapeutics DNLI Takeover Targets Dylan Jovine Behind the Markets $22.08 $92.09 317.21% 299.54%

And we need to acknowledge that this has been an extraordinary year.  I’ve been tracking these “can’t miss” teaser stocks since 2007, and this is the first year in my memory that a majority of the teased stocks beat the market.  Usually it’s not even close, in a typical year at least 60-70% of the stocks will trail the market, two or three will come close to doubling, and a handful will lose more than 90% of their value.

This year, if you recall, it was a little difficult to choose our Turkey of the Year, because there weren’t that many really terrible stock picks.  Two thirds of the stocks that graced our pages after being teased by newsletters beat the S&P 500, and as of yesterday FIFTY of them had posted a gain of at least 100% since being teased.  That is truly extraordinary — and they have not repealed the law of gravity, so we should not expect to ever see a year like this again, but let’s take just a moment to enjoy it before we start to predict doom for 2021, shall we?

What can we see that really worked about those top stocks?  As usual, there were a couple biotechs in the mix — though surprisingly enough, only one of the COVID/vaccine names made the top ten (Moderna).  And several that I was skeptical of at the time that I covered them.

And not surprisingly, there were a bunch of high-growth tech stocks that led the bunch, as befits a year when technology growth stocks met their perfect market — we’ve never depended more on technology for work or entertainment than we did in 2020, and that shows in the successful stock picks.  The Motley Fool takes the lead in this bunch, thanks to the explosiveness of Fastly (FSLY) and to the fact that they’ve been teasing The Trade Desk (TTD) pretty much every month for three years now, but the two tiniest stocks in this bunch, by far, VSBLTY and MindMed, were teased by the Outsider Club/Angel Publishing folks.   And as befits a year that saw the world in an altered state, I guess it’s particularly appropriate that we had leading stocks who are selling, or trying to sell, both marijuana (Trulieve) and LSD (MindMed).

And as with last year, there were no repeats — last year’s top teaser list was dominated by technology hardware, with NVIDIA, Inseego, Taiwan Semiconductor and Skyworks Solutions leading the pack — but the top teaser picks of last year did continue to outperform this year, ALL of them beat the performance of the S&P 500 over the past 12 months.  Will that happen again this time around?  I’m a little skeptical, given the wild outperformance of the stocks that top the list this year, but you never know (the best teaser pick in 2019 beat the S&P 500 by about 60 percentage points… those top ten above all beat the market by close to 300 percentage points).

But what stands out most of all?  Timing matters, and therefore luck matters.  Most of those picks were teased in March and April, just as the market was bottoming out.  Performance is still relative, and they did perform extraordinarily well even compared to the broader markets, which also bottomed out around those times… but newsletters typically pick hot stories, which are always more volatile stocks, with a high beta, and that means that they were down more than the market when everything crashed… and the bounced back more than the market when everything recovered.

And let’s celebrate the biggest victories we’ve all seen this year in our own portfolios, shall we?  I’ll go first.

The biggest gains I’ve posted, by far, have been warrant and option speculations on growth stocks this year… but there̵