Skip to navigationSkip to content
BACK TO THE FUTURES

If you have a time machine, go back and tell yourself to buy these stocks

Universal Pictures
“Where we’re going, we don’t need investment prospectuses.”
Jason Karaian
By Jason Karaian

Global finance and economics editor

Remember the dark days of investing, with all those warnings about how “past performance is no guarantee of future results”?

It seems quaint, now that some of us have mastered the art of time travel.

Stock-picking is so much easier with all the uncertainty removed. It’s certainly been good for us at Time Lord Capital LLC, and we appreciate you subscribing to our newsletter.

When we say that a trading strategy is a sure thing, we mean it. That’s why all of our advice is covered by a standard disclaimer: Future results are guaranteed by past performance. Time is a flat circle.

Anyway, it’s time for our annual review of the markets. We’ll also take a look back at the decade, as the 2010s come to a close. The usual warnings apply if you’re hopping back further than a year or so—world-altering consequences and all that.

In the current timeline, there is a lot of variety to choose from. The top 10 stocks in the S&P 500 in our version of 2019 feature the standout performance of chipmaker AMD, up around 150% with just a few more trading days to go. AMD is followed by Lam Research and KLA, which also operate in the semiconductor industry—they put those little chips in everything these days. You’d also be wise to convince your past self to pick up shares in Target, Chipotle, and Xerox, capitalizing on the seemingly insatiable demand for sweatpants, burritos, and printer toner.

As always, please be tactful when zapping back to plant investment ideas. A simple, mysterious note tucked into a second-hand book is preferred, and personal contact is discouraged: Leave the madcap capers to Marty McFly and the realm of make-believe.

We’ve got a good thing going here, so don’t be greedy—dabbling in liquid, blue-chip stocks avoids attracting unwanted attention. Over-enthusiastic investors in the early days of time travel made plenty of money for their future selves, but at the cost of generating some strange cleaves in our reality. Around this time of year, we trade holiday cards with fellow stock pickers across the interdimensional expanse, and you’d be surprised how many alternate timelines end in reality TV stars becoming president; there’s ours, of course, but also socialist collectivism under Khloé Kardashian, Ryan Seacrest’s totalitarian state, and an eco-conscious world government under RuPaul.

What we’re saying is, be careful out there. It’s mighty enticing to read that Netflix is the best-performing stock of the decade, up more than 4,000% since the start of 2010, or that a triple-leveraged technology ETF returned nearly 2,000% over the same period, the best of that asset class. If you must invest on decade-long terms, our best call remains bitcoin, up something like 90 million percent (or so) since its first commercial transactions in 2010.

Normally, we wouldn’t advise jumping on such gaudy returns, but plenty of crypto early adopters stumbled into fabulous wealth, so you shouldn’t stand out too much (plus, it remains mostly untraceable and our peek into the future suggests regulators won’t get a grip on it for some time to come). Clients have told us that it’s tricky to persuade themselves that magic internet money mostly used to buy drugs on the dark web would become such a thing, so think ahead—or behind, or whatever… you get the point.

Wishing you all happy holidays and good luck with your portfolio! (You won’t need it.)

—Time Lord Capital LLC

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.