Have you ever "unplugged" from your cell phone? If you have, you've likely experienced the phenomenon of phantom vibrations -- the perception that your phone is ringing or vibrating when in fact it's not. (In the 1990s, people reported incidences of "phantom pager syndrome.")
We've become so accustomed to being "connected" that for many it controls our lives. My cell phone is the first thing I reach for in the morning (and usually the last thing I've touched before falling asleep). I can turn on and adjust the music streaming through my Sonos speakers, my Apple TV, and my heat and air conditioning. Heck, nowadays you can use your smartphone to lock and unlock your doors, control your lights, open your garage, start your car... I even use it to track the internal temperature of whatever meat I'm smoking.
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There's really not much you can't do with your smartphone these days. But the smartphone is only the tip of the iceberg. We now have "smart speakers" like Amazon's (Nasdaq: AMZN) Echo, or "Alexa," which, of course, plays music, but can do so much more. With a simple voice command, Alexa can turn on your lights, adjust the thermostat, and even purchase items online.
Amazon isn't the only player in this game but they have a good head start, having sold more than 30 million Amazon Echos. Alphabet (Nasdaq: GOOGL) has its own line called Google Home, of which an estimated 14 million units have been sold, and now Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) has entered the market with its HomePod, which it started delivering last month.
All of these smart devices are part of a bigger trend known as the "Internet of Things." And this trend has massive tailwinds that go far beyond just phones and speakers. Things like washers, dryers, refrigerators, vehicles, parking meters, heart-monitoring implants, and wearables like watches, glasses and clothing -- all these and more will be connected to the Internet.
The stats and forecasts for this industry are mind-boggling. Gartner, the technology research and advisory firm, predicts that more than 20 billion devices will connect to the internet in 2020. That's up from roughly 8.4 billion at the end of 2017 -- an increase of more than 140% in only three years.
This movement has done wonders for the technology sector... Consider this: the widely tracked Technology Select Sector ETF (NYSE: XLK) has returned 223% (more than double the S&P 500) since June 29, 2007 -- the release date of the first Apple iPhone, which is arguably when smartphones became broadly adopted.
To help put this into perspective, from XLK's inception date, December 16, 1998, until the first iPhone was released, the ETF lost 11% over that 8.5-year stretch, while the broader market returned 30%. But since then, it's soared triple-digits and outpaced the S&P 500 by a staggering 139 percentage points.
My Maximum Profit subscribers and I have done well in this industry. Using our proprietary system designed to maximize gains and minimize losses, we booked gains of 67% from Applied Materials (Nasdaq: AMAT) in 15 months, roughly 98% from STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM) in a little over 12 months, and 110% from Tower Semiconductors (Nasdaq: TSEM) in 15 months, to name a few.
And thanks to the Maximum Profit system, we knew exactly when to buy and when to sell each time.
But here's the thing: my system is indicating that this industry still has plenty of momentum behind it.
That's why we recently picked up two companies from this corner of the market, but they come from opposite ends of the industry. One is helping propel the Internet of Things movement, while the other is helping protect consumers of the internet.
The point is, if you're not looking into this sector for gains in this market, you're seriously missing out.
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