Stephen Petranek

Thirty years ago, I was introduced to a wonderful financial guru. He seemed like an ordinary enough stockbroker at the time, but I came to discover that he had been a star at a major brokerage house in New York, and more importantly, he had been trained by a genius investor. At the time, I was just looking for a relatively inexpensive middleman who would offer me a single yearly fee for unlimited trades and, frankly, a voice who might keep me from doing something stupid. I got far more than I ever expected. My broker became my friend, and he passed on what had been passed on to him.

He wanted me to see a bigger picture than the stocks we were investing in. He wanted me to understand the real power of buying low, the power of trends, how the market often fails to let go of a rally when it should, that the markets aren’t really rational in the short run, how to use options for almost guaranteed income and other wisdom of evaluating a company that only time and experience provides.

He wanted me to understand risk/reward ratios and how seven out of 10 stocks could be bad investments, but if the other three were spectacular, you could come out a winner. He also taught me to recognize when something was too good to be true. When WorldCom started paying 10% dividends, he wouldn’t let me buy it: “Too good to be true,” he said. Eight months later, WorldCom stock was worthless.

The disruptive technology you think you see…is not the big picture.

Two concepts my guru taught me are underlying themes of how I pick investment ideas — and I recommend you adopt them as well. First, it’s important to see the big picture. I want you to get good enough at recognizing big changes in the world of science and technology to identify innovation worth investing in — with or without a newsletter editor, financial advisor or anyone else. Second, I want you to get a feel for appropriate risk/reward.

To learn about investing in tech stocks, you must open your mind to the big ideas in science today. If a company is developing a new cancer drug, you must understand the cancer before you even think about investing in the company. Therefore, it’s important to choose investments the way Magellan Fund guru Peter Lynch did it: He wandered into a mall and watched consumers. Then he bought Gap Inc. We will wander into the world of science and technology and observe.

Storytelling among humans is at least 40,000 years old, and it remains the most developed interface for transferring information. Storytelling makes investing compelling, understandable and fascinating. Last month, you may have read my story about a breakthrough idea about how two different fuel cells could complement each other.

It had nothing to do with any specific stock, and I mentioned none at the end of the article, but I am confident fuel cells are going to be very big in your life as we move away from petroleum-based energy. I want you to know about the trend toward fuel cells. It will make you a better investor.

As it turned out, my timing was fortunate. Honda Motor Co. recently showed off a sexy new prototype automobile that runs on the most plentiful element in the universe — hydrogen. But it doesn’t burn hydrogen in an internal-combustion engine the way a prototype Mazda did 15 years ago. That technology is old.


The Honda FCEV (Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle) Concept, first shown in early December at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

This Honda makes electricity by passing hydrogen through a fuel cell. Honda’s surprise wasn’t the technology itself — auto companies like Mercedes and independent firms such as Ballard Power Systems (BLDP) have been experimenting with fuel cells for decades — it was the announcement that Honda will introduce a fuel cell auto you can buy in two years.

Tetsuo Iwamura, CEO of American Honda, said his concept car “hints at” a new direction for the company. Just when you thought the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt and Tesla cars were the future, a Honda with a small tank of hydrogen shows up that can go 300 miles before it needs refueling, which takes three minutes.

I’m not recommending Honda stock, or even Ballard Power Systems, though you could do worse. I just wanted you to see a big picture that’s forming and embrace a revolutionary idea that will show up as investment opportunities.

The disruptive technology you think you see — the conversion of automobiles from internal-combustion engines to electrics — is not the big picture. That is yesterday’s big picture. Technology has already moved past the electric vehicle.

The truly disruptive trend is where the electricity to power these vehicles will come from. Who wants to rely on batteries? Who wants to wait for a charge cycle? Who wants to worry about building enough new power plants or installing 50-amp, 220-volt circuits in our garages? Wouldn’t you rather make your own electricity on the fly? You can with fuel cells.

And while we’re at it, just how far-fetched is the final scene in the movie Back to the Future Part II, in which Doc Brown picks up an aluminum soda can from the garbage and pops it into his car’s fusion reactor?

I can’t gaurentee that our additional science and technology features will offer immediate relevance and connectivity to daily life the way our usual stock coverage does.

But if you keep reading, one day soon your own brain will get it — the perfect investment opportunity based on a better general knowledge of science and technology. You’ll connect the dots and nobody will be able to take that away from you.

Tomorrow, we’ll cover seven things in science and technology you should know right now.

Regards,

Stephen Petranek
for The Daily Reckoning

Ed. Note: The future of technology is one of the most important and potentially lucrative bits of information you can know. And readers of Tomorrow in Review know that better than anyone. It’s a free service dedicated to examining the most incredible technologies the world has to offer… and to giving its readers regular opportunities to profit from them. Sign up for FREE, right here, and start getting tomorrow’s news today.

You May Also Like:


The King Kong of Energy Technologies

Josh Grasmick

In his ongoing search for the world's most exciting energy technologies, Josh Grasmick has discovered one of the industry's biggest new developments... Literally. In fact, the object at the heart of this story is nearly twice the size of the empire state building, weighs 1.2 billion pounds... and floats. Read on...

Stephen Petranek

Stephen Petranek’s career of over 40 years in the publishing world is marked by numerous prizes and awards for excellent writing on science, nature, technology, politics, economics and more. He has been editor-in-chief of The Miami Herald’s prestigious Sunday magazine, Tropic, as well covering a wide range of topics for Time Inc.’s Life magazine. His presentation, 10 Ways the World Could End, is one of the most original and most watched TED talks of all time. He is now the editor of Breakthrough Technology Alert, for which he finds the investment opportunities that create true value and move the human race forward.

  • Will Parnham

    You sound like a guy with skin in the game, Patrick. Too bad you’re wrong. Fuel cells are it. Your little plug in Prius is yesterday, Dude.

Recent Articles

Extra!
The Greatest Challenge Facing America’s Economic Dominance

Alasdair Macleod

Next month, for major countries will become full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). That will increase the population of SCO member states to 3.05 billion. But why should you care? As Alasdair Macleod explains, this move could have a very important impact on the US dollar. Read on...


On Sale: A Precious Metals Play with a Reliable Dividend

Dan Amoss

Precious metals get a bad rap from most investors. But in the midst of so much central bank money creation, they still provide an excellent hedge against inflation. Dan Amoss relays one great investment idea in this sector with plenty of upside potential as precious metals look poised for a significant comeback. Read on...


An Early Stage Opportunity in the Next Phase of 3D Printing

Wayne Mulligan

Over the last two years, few innovations have had as big of an impact as 3D printing. But as important as this technology has become, one new tech story is about to leapfrog over it. And as Wayne Mulligan explains, early investors in this new innovative technology could make a fortune by getting in early...


Laissez Faire
How to Get Free Airfare to Almost Anywhere in the World

Chris Campbell

Traveling the world can be expensive. Between airfare, dining costs and hotel accommodations, travel expenses can add up quickly. And the last thing you want on your vacation is to be stretched too thin. Chris Campbell explains how you can eliminate one of the biggest travel expenses entirely, with one simple trick. Read on...


1990s Flashback: A Blueprint for the Current S&P Rally

Greg Guenthner

The S&P finally closed above 2,000 yesterday - a new all-time high. And that has some investors comparing it to the heady days of the late 1990s, when the S&P soared through 1,000 and didn't bother to look back. But as Greg Guenthner explains, that run up wasn't without its pitfalls, and this one won't be either. Read on...


5 Min. Forecast
“Neofascism” in 2014 America

Dave Gonigam

The fall of the US dollar-based monetary system will happen much like Hemingway's description of how one goes bankrupt: "gradually, then suddenly." And, as Dave Gonigam explains, when the inevitable finally happens, there's one group of investors who will be happy they listened to folks like Jim Rickards. Read on...