Like millions of people, I followed the headlines associated with the 3.5 million-strong Women's March protests closely. Only I wasn't interested in the identity politics being played out on an international stage.
I was watching because protests about important issues like those the Women's March represent herald tremendous profit potential.
Admittedly, that sounds cold, but that's very deliberate on my part. In my capacity as Chief Investment Strategist, I don't have the luxury of taking sides. It's my job to help you make money by navigating the events that shape our world.
That's, after all, why we're here.
Most people don't think of civil unrest this way and, not surprisingly, their emotions get the better of them as a result. So they have no idea when an event like the Women's March is a threat or an opportunity.
My goal today is to teach you how to tell the difference between simple dissent and potentially profitable anger.
Are They Burning Beatles Records – or Hitting Companies Where It Counts?
When millions of people were up in arms over John Lennon's infamous comments on religion in 1966, his bandmate George Harrison flipped through newspapers filled with graphic images of people burning Beatles records and had one wry comment to deliver…
… If you want to burn the records, first you've got to buy them!
Sure enough, there's no evidence that these protests hurt the Beatles' bottom lines, nor that of their producing company, Northern Songs. "Sgt. Pepper's," in fact, became the group's top-selling album a year later… including subsequently holding the top spot in the charts for 15 weeks straight in the United States.
A lot of protests today fall into that category. Feel-good marches, impressive speeches, lots of social media validation, and absolutely no impact on a company's bottom line, much less its stock price.
On the other hand, protests that do the unexpected are what you want to focus on. They're the ones that matter because it's the unexpected that makes stock prices move.
Good or bad, it really doesn't matter. If "it" catches traders by surprise, prices move.
Take Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT), for example.
Last May, I noted Target was under enormous pressure over its then recently announced transgender bathroom policy.
More than 1.2 million people had reportedly signed a petition to boycott the store. At $65 a person, that represented a potential $78 million revenue hit directed straight to the company's bottom line over the next few quarters.
Management, of course, downplayed the impact. CEO Brian Cornell noted at the time during a media call that the company was tracking data carefully and had not "seen a material nor measureable impact on [its] business."
I disagreed, and said as much during an appearance on FOX Business Network as the brouhaha gathered strength.
Sure enough, Target stock is down 6% since, while the Dow's returned more than 13%,…
About the Author
Keith Fitz-Gerald has been the Chief Investment Strategist for the Money Morning team since 2007. He's a seasoned market analyst with decades of experience, and a highly accurate track record. Keith regularly travels the world in search of investment opportunities others don't yet see or understand. In addition to heading The Money Map Report, Keith runs High Velocity Profits, which aims to get in, target gains, and get out clean, and he's also the founding editor of Straight Line Profits, a service devoted to revealing the "dark side" of Wall Street... In his weekly Total Wealth, Keith has broken down his 30-plus years of success into three parts: Trends, Risk Assessment, and Tactics – meaning the exact techniques for making money. Sign up is free at totalwealthresearch.com.