It seems like every day we are now waking up to news of ever-tighter restrictions being placed on business across the world, as governments scramble to halt the spread of the coronavirus.
Italy, Germany and the UK have effectively closed all brick-and-mortar retail and imposed severe restrictions on gatherings, and Chinese citizens are only just now beginning to engage in some semblance of public life again.
As investors, this sort of information can be difficult to process, which is why global markets are becoming increasingly volatile right now. And despite the government pushing through waves of economic stimulus, we are all having to absorb heavy short-term losses.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. It’s my firm belief that the economy will shift during these times. We’ve heard news recently that Amazon plans on hiring 100,000 new workers across the US in order to keep pace with demand.
Methods of teaching will shift to online, and as a society, we will have an increasing need for digital infrastructure to support these arrangements – as well as the increasing number of corporates working from home – over the next 6 to 12 months. So, there are still plenty of reasons to be hopeful in this economy, and there are even potential pockets of growth.
With growth in mind, here are three companies that I believe have a real opportunity to expand their market share during this continuing coronavirus pandemic.
Marley Spoon AG (ASX: MMM)
Marley Spoon is a meal kit delivery service that provides its customers with weekly boxes of fresh produce and recipe instructions, allowing people to cook meals at home with little food waste and no need to travel to the supermarket. As you can probably tell, it’s uniquely positioned to thrive in the current climate – and investors have flocked to it, pushing the Marley Spoon share price up almost threefold in just the last week.
In an update provided to the market on 20 March, Marley Spoon announced that it had seen an unprecedented surge in demand and was looking at ways to expand its global workforce.
Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Ltd (ASX: DMP)
Sadly, the strict measures governments both here and abroad are putting in place are going to cause many restaurants to close – potentially forever. However, fast food delivery chains like Domino’s that already have the online and delivery infrastructure in place could step up and absorb that market share.
Domino’s is introducing contact-free delivery processes in order to reassure its customers and try and comply with health warnings in the nine countries in which it operates. It has suffered a blow in France, where it has made the decision to close its stores voluntarily for a period of 15 days. However, it is uncertain whether this will also be adopted in other countries, or whether this action will have a material impact on the company’s results.
NextDC Ltd (ASX:NXT)
A leading ASX tech share, NEXTDC operates data warehouses. This type of digital infrastructure will be key to supporting many businesses as they transition to online and work-from-home arrangements in the coming weeks and months.
The NEXTDC share price was hit hard in late February as selloffs tanked stock markets globally. However, I think its shares were subject to panic-selling and now offer good value to investors. In an announcement to the market last week, NEXTDC acknowledged that the travel restrictions currently imposed by governments might change how the company approaches sales and installations. However, it stated that demand for its services was strong, and potentially increasing, and it reaffirmed its FY20 revenue guidance of between $200 million and $206 million.
Despite the severe restrictions currently being imposed by governments across the world, it’s important to remember that history tells us economies – and societies – always find ways to adapt. Certain sectors will find it difficult – possibly even impossible – to operate over the coming months. But other parts of the economy will engage to support communities and keep society functioning.
It might be the companies I’ve listed, or it might be others from the healthcare and IT sectors, but businesses will still find ways to grow and possibly even flourish in these difficult economic and social circumstances.
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Motley Fool contributor Rhys Brock has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Domino's Pizza Enterprises Limited. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.