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投资元宇宙:2022年最值得关注的13只概念股

投资元宇宙:2022年最值得关注的13只概念股

Anne Sraders 2022-01-27
对股票投资者来说,目前“专攻”元宇宙的公司还属凤毛麟角。

2021年10月下旬,社交媒体巨头Facebook宣布了一项大胆举措:它正在进行品牌重塑,自此以后将更名为Meta。这个新名称源自“元宇宙”(metaverse)一词。尽管很难给这个术语下一个简洁的定义,但根据目前的认知,元宇宙是一个3D虚拟空间,通常需要借助虚拟现实(VR)或增强现实(AR)等技术才能够入驻其中。它可能包罗万象,从虚拟会议场所到游戏,再到虚拟音乐会和购物体验,不一而足。许多人认为,元宇宙是下一代互联网(Web 3.0)的一部分。

Facebook更名为Meta,同时在第三季度宣布将在2021年斥资约100亿美元打造其元宇宙部门,被一些华尔街人士视为世人对元宇宙认知的一大转折点。

“我认为那是市场情绪的一个拐点。Facebook更名后,人们对元宇宙的兴趣陡然飙涨。”联博资产管理公司(AllianceBernstein)负责美国密集成长业务的首席投资官詹姆斯·蒂尔尼表示。

事实上,“华尔街过去很少提及‘元宇宙’一词。”韦德布什证券公司(Wedbush Securities)的董事总经理兼科技股高级分析师丹尼尔·艾夫斯告诉《财富》杂志。但近几个月来,“从华尔街的角度看,它已经成为最热门的主题之一。每一位投资者都想搞清楚如何从中分一杯羹。”

元宇宙这个概念本身并不新鲜,它最早出现在尼尔·斯蒂芬森于20世纪90年代初发表的小说《雪崩》(Snow Crash)中。但随着科技巨头竞相布局元宇宙,消费者和企业对其兴趣激增,这一领域已经引来投资者的热切目光。

对股票投资者来说,目前“专攻”元宇宙的公司还属凤毛麟角。艾夫斯指出:“现在还是非常早期的阶段。我认为,许多投资者还在小心翼翼地摸索如何投资元宇宙。”不过,他并不认为这全然是炒作。

总体而言,基金经理表示,他们仍然不知道元宇宙究竟会是什么模样,也不知道它会对商业模式产生何种影响。“我们目前讨论的终点不是几个月或几年,而是几十年之后。”Alger公司的执行副总裁兼投资组合经理安库尔·克劳福德断言。

但也有很多公司正在投资元宇宙,要么开发硬件作为进入元宇宙的跳板,要么制造产品来支持其基础设施。在分析师和基金经理看来,这是最引人瞩目的机会所在——至少目前是这样。

许多投资者都渴望从这一新兴领域获利,但一时无从下手。《财富》杂志为此专访了多位投资组合经理和分析师,邀请他们推荐几只值得押注的元宇宙概念股。

科技巨头的游戏

角逐元宇宙圣杯的战斗正在迅速升温,而大型科技公司是绝不会袖手旁观的。

事实上,科技巨头们正在竞相投入数十亿美元来打造元宇宙。包括联博资产管理公司的蒂尔尼在内,一些基金经理认为,“我们更希望像Facebook、微软(Microsoft)、亚马逊(Amazon)这样的公司称霸元宇宙。这些公司不仅潜力无限,而且其基础业务足以推动股价上涨。”哪怕在五年或十年后,元宇宙仍然是一个“虚无缥缈的存在”。

难怪不少基金经理认为Meta(股票代码:FB,股价:318美元)就是“玩转元宇宙的最佳途径”。这家社交巨擘已经通过其Oculus VR头戴设备业务,以及它对在3D虚拟空间中生活、游戏和开会的愿景(比如Meta最新发布的Horizon平台),非常清楚地表明了其主导元宇宙的雄心。蒂尔尼指出,对投资者来说,Meta有几个优势:“基础业务很强,并且还在持续增长;我们认为,它还有很大的增长空间。”华尔街预计,Meta在2022财年的收入将增长19%。不过,从估值角度看,Meta在2021年向元宇宙部门投资100亿美元(未来肯定还会追加投资),是一个潜在的利好:Meta目前的历史市盈率低于24倍;“除去这些支出,其市盈率就在十几或20倍左右。因此,你要么是低估了它的基础业务,要么是免费获得了元宇宙期权。”他说,“无论如何,我认为这对投资者是很有吸引力的。”更重要的是,他认为Meta斥巨资打造元宇宙,就相当于“围绕其业务建造了一道护城河,”以此来震慑未来有可能涌现的竞争对手。然而,该公司在现实世界中依旧面临重重阻力。例如,一场反垄断诉讼可能迫使Meta出售备受其珍视的Instagram和WhatsApp业务;另有报道称,美国联邦贸易委员会(Federal Trade Commission)正在牵头调查其VR业务可能存在的反竞争行为。

与此同时,正如韦德布什证券的艾夫斯所言,微软(股票代码:MSFT,股价:303美元)也渴望“成为元宇宙领域的重要一员”。这家科技巨头决意为Xbox开发元宇宙游戏——该公司刚刚同意以大约690亿美元的价格收购视频游戏制造商动视暴雪(Activision Blizzard)——并且开始将元宇宙功能整合到其产品套件中,比如最近宣布的Mesh for Teams,这个面向企业的虚拟会议空间是微软混合现实Mesh平台的组成部分。艾夫斯预测称,该公司“将通过挖掘内部潜力和收购等方式强势进军元宇宙。”Alger公司的克劳福德也认为,微软应该会成为“‘企业元宇宙’的主导者。”她指出,其混合现实产品HoloLens能够通过培训和工作支持等方式帮助企业,以及像美国军队这样的客户提高效率。这款产品已经很适合元宇宙了,尽管其目前的迭代“尚未达到应有的高度”。联博资产管理公司的蒂尔尼也指出,假以时日,微软的云业务Azure也会受益于元宇宙的成长。

他说,亚马逊(股票代码:AMZN,股价:3178美元)亦是如此。其云计算部门亚马逊网络服务(Amazon Web Services)应该会让这两只股票成为“天然的投资对象”。但在云业务之外,如果该公司可以在元宇宙和VR领域推出一款“全垒打”应用程序,那将有助于销售服装等商品的零售企业降低在线退货成本。这可能对亚马逊有利,因为电子商务一直是该公司“有意义的”组成部分。(亚马逊已经推出了虚拟试穿等功能,并且很早就尝试着利用3D模型等技术来减少退货,不过蒂尔尼指出,“其能力还有待改善。”)“使用这些工具来降低退货率将显著提振销售额,但更重要的是,如果退货减少,利润就会大幅提高。”蒂尔尼说,“我认为,仅仅出于这一点,亚马逊进入元宇宙就很有意义。”不过,以目前的股价水平来看,该股仍然很贵,其远期市盈率接近82倍。

与此同时,苹果(股票代码:AAPL,股价:170美元)也被基金经理视为有望受益于元宇宙的科技巨头之一。要么是通过硬件,要么是作为元宇宙场景的建设者。或者,包括Alger公司的克劳福德在内,一些基金经理期望苹果能够同时从这两方面发力。克劳福德表示:“苹果是一个备受消费者信赖的平台,消费者元宇宙是其现有产品的自然延伸。”韦德布什证券的艾夫斯预测称,苹果将在今年推出一款VR/AR头戴设备。坊间一直有相关传闻,但还未得到该公司证实。如果这样一款产品进入市场,艾夫斯认为“那将是通往元宇宙的高速公路上的分水岭事件。”

事实上,艾夫斯称,“元宇宙的第一篇章就是让消费者入驻其中,而其中很大一部分无疑要依靠苹果、Facebook和微软来实现。”

押注基础设施

就投资元宇宙而言,这或许不是最性感的方式,但如果你不希望把所有鸡蛋都放在一个元宇宙赢家的篮子里,选择那些将为元宇宙建造基础设施的股票,例如半导体,或许是一个更安全的赌注,同时仍然可以让你成为这一趋势的受益者。而且,它最终可能是一个收益颇丰的选择:英特尔(Intel)在2021年12月预测称,元宇宙要真正成形的话,计算能力就需要大幅提高1000倍。

“在元宇宙领域最具体的努力,莫过于Facebook的资本支出计划,以及他们立即着手建造元宇宙数据中心等举措。”晨星公司(Morningstar)的科技股研究主管布莱恩·科莱洛对《财富》杂志表示,“这将提振那些拥有云计算和数据中心业务的公司。”符合这一标准的股票包括超微半导体(股票代码:AMD,股价:132美元)和Arista Networks(股票代码:ANET,股价:127美元)。

克劳福德表示,半导体巨头英伟达(股票代码:NVDA,股价:259美元)让她“超级兴奋”。诸如图形处理器(GPU)这类产品应该会使这家公司成为元宇宙的“巨大受益者”, 因为其基础架构将依赖大量计算。“他们几乎已经成为计算方面的赋能者。”克劳福德说,“展望未来,每台设备或许都需要一个图形引擎,更不用说所有的计算都需要在云端进行。”她还提到英伟达的Omniverse平台,它能够让创作者“建立站点、城镇的数字孪生体。然后,这些数字孪生体会依靠英伟达的GPU来运行,或者在英伟达运营的数据中心内运行。”因此,她指出,英伟达有望在元宇宙的“硬件(即计算)和软件开发方面都发挥作用。”所有这些都将提振英伟达原本就很强劲的业务:分析师预计,英伟达在2022财年的营收将增长约18%。不过,这只股票的远期市盈率在2021年上涨了124%,目前仍然高达52倍。

对于估值较低的股票,克劳福德和哥伦比亚塞利格曼全球科技基金(Columbia Seligman Global Technology Fund)的投资组合经理谢卡尔·普拉马尼克都看好美光科技(股票代码:MU, 股价:93美元),一家生产内存和存储芯片的半导体公司。考虑到元宇宙需要依赖头戴设备、数据中心和平台来运转,“快速计算是基本要求,而这需要强大的内存来提供。”克劳福德说。所有这些高性能计算“通常都需要大量的内存、DRAM、动态RAM,以及被称为闪存的存储设备。”普拉马尼克指出。而这正是美光的优势所在。事实上,克劳福德估计,对“本地和云端”计算的采用将刺激对内存(以及美光的内存芯片)的需求。她预测称,哪怕是“需求的一个小拐点”也会推动DRAM芯片“在每个终点”增长两到三倍。美光的远期市盈率不高,还不到11倍。华尔街预计,在截至2022年8月的财年,其销售额将增长16%。

对泛林集团(股票代码:LRCX,股价:679美元)来说,这些趋势也是一个好兆头。普拉马尼克相信,这家致力于为半导体制造商生产设备的公司将受益于“元宇宙带来的额外计算和内存需求。”从大约20倍的远期市盈率来看,该股不会让你倾家荡产。分析师预计,在截至2022年6月的财年,该公司的营收将增长20%以上,但在之后一个财年,其增长预计将放缓至个位数。

普拉马尼克指出,借助VR头戴设备访问元宇宙时,消费者最不希望体验的,就是因为“显示驱动器的运行频率不够高而造成的晕眩感。”而这正是Synaptics(股票代码:SYNA,股价:234美元)等公司有望获利的地方。Synaptics专注于生产AR和VR头戴设备须臾不可离的显示驱动芯片。“这些设备都需要非常高分辨率的显示效果。”更重要的是,普拉马尼克对其基础业务欣赏有加。Synaptics拥有一支相对较新的管理团队。2019年掌舵的首席执行官迈克尔·赫尔斯顿“彻底改变了这家公司,”其营业利润和毛利率均有所改善。在截至2020年9月的季度中,Synaptics的毛利率为44%左右,到2021年同一季度已经增长到53%以上。尽管VR业务目前在公司营收中占比不大,但赫尔斯顿在最近一次财报电话会议上表示,这块业务“已经变得颇具意义,增长前景非常好。”

当然,所有这些芯片都需要测试,这就是像泰瑞达(股票代码:TER,股价:156美元)这类股票大显身手的地方。据彭博社(Bloomberg)报道,这家公司连同其竞争对手爱德万测试(Advantest),占据了约80%至90%的市场份额。普拉马尼克也指出,泰瑞达的核心业务正在稳步发展,“拥有超强的盈利能力。”分析师预计,其2022财年的利润将增长近12%。

与此同时,Matterport(股票代码:MTTR,股价:13美元)可能成为另一家受益于元宇宙的企业。这家空间数据公司致力于提供真实建筑的3D版本。在韦德布什证券的艾夫斯看来,Matterport“基本上创造了房地产的数字孪生体,后者现在开始被越来越多地应用于数字世界。”他还指出,该公司正在联手Meta围绕3D空间数据集展开学术研究,“预计他们还将达成更多的技术合作。”Matterport的股价在2021年上涨了45%以上(它是2021年7月通过一笔SPAC并购交易上市的);华尔街估计,该公司在2022年的营收将增长近47%。

竞逐加密世界

BTIG公司的金融科技和加密货币分析师兼董事总经理马克·帕尔默认为,元宇宙有可能分裂为两块:一块是经过许可,或者说是集中式的元宇宙(比如科技平台),另一块是“开放的元宇宙”,即去中心化的区块链,包含像非同质化代币(NFT)这类东西。“我认为,开放元宇宙和其他一切领域的区别将越来越明显。”帕尔默一直在密切关注开放元宇宙。

他宣称,到目前为止,在区块链支持的元宇宙方面,投资者的“选择仍然非常有限,至少在公共领域是这样。”

但在公开市场上,有一只目前在多伦多证券交易所交易,但计划于2022年第一季度登陆纳斯达克(Nasdaq)的股票值得关注。那就是迈克·诺沃格拉茨领衔的加密货币投资管理公司Galaxy Digital(股票代码:GLXY,股价:16美元)。帕尔默特别提到其附属投资机构Galaxy Interactive。“旗下的两只基金管理着6.5亿美元,而且是上市公司的一部分。”Galaxy Interactive正在投资NFT(这是元宇宙的一大组件)和SAND币,后者由区块链驱动的元宇宙平台Sandbox发行。“他们的投资重点是开放元宇宙。”帕尔默说,“我预计未来会有更多的公司进入这一领域。”(财富中文网)

所有股价的计算时间均为2022年1月18日。

译者:任文科

2021年10月下旬,社交媒体巨头Facebook宣布了一项大胆举措:它正在进行品牌重塑,自此以后将更名为Meta。这个新名称源自“元宇宙”(metaverse)一词。尽管很难给这个术语下一个简洁的定义,但根据目前的认知,元宇宙是一个3D虚拟空间,通常需要借助虚拟现实(VR)或增强现实(AR)等技术才能够入驻其中。它可能包罗万象,从虚拟会议场所到游戏,再到虚拟音乐会和购物体验,不一而足。许多人认为,元宇宙是下一代互联网(Web 3.0)的一部分。

Facebook更名为Meta,同时在第三季度宣布将在2021年斥资约100亿美元打造其元宇宙部门,被一些华尔街人士视为世人对元宇宙认知的一大转折点。

“我认为那是市场情绪的一个拐点。Facebook更名后,人们对元宇宙的兴趣陡然飙涨。”联博资产管理公司(AllianceBernstein)负责美国密集成长业务的首席投资官詹姆斯·蒂尔尼表示。

事实上,“华尔街过去很少提及‘元宇宙’一词。”韦德布什证券公司(Wedbush Securities)的董事总经理兼科技股高级分析师丹尼尔·艾夫斯告诉《财富》杂志。但近几个月来,“从华尔街的角度看,它已经成为最热门的主题之一。每一位投资者都想搞清楚如何从中分一杯羹。”

元宇宙这个概念本身并不新鲜,它最早出现在尼尔·斯蒂芬森于20世纪90年代初发表的小说《雪崩》(Snow Crash)中。但随着科技巨头竞相布局元宇宙,消费者和企业对其兴趣激增,这一领域已经引来投资者的热切目光。

对股票投资者来说,目前“专攻”元宇宙的公司还属凤毛麟角。艾夫斯指出:“现在还是非常早期的阶段。我认为,许多投资者还在小心翼翼地摸索如何投资元宇宙。”不过,他并不认为这全然是炒作。

总体而言,基金经理表示,他们仍然不知道元宇宙究竟会是什么模样,也不知道它会对商业模式产生何种影响。“我们目前讨论的终点不是几个月或几年,而是几十年之后。”Alger公司的执行副总裁兼投资组合经理安库尔·克劳福德断言。

但也有很多公司正在投资元宇宙,要么开发硬件作为进入元宇宙的跳板,要么制造产品来支持其基础设施。在分析师和基金经理看来,这是最引人瞩目的机会所在——至少目前是这样。

许多投资者都渴望从这一新兴领域获利,但一时无从下手。《财富》杂志为此专访了多位投资组合经理和分析师,邀请他们推荐几只值得押注的元宇宙概念股。

科技巨头的游戏

角逐元宇宙圣杯的战斗正在迅速升温,而大型科技公司是绝不会袖手旁观的。

事实上,科技巨头们正在竞相投入数十亿美元来打造元宇宙。包括联博资产管理公司的蒂尔尼在内,一些基金经理认为,“我们更希望像Facebook、微软(Microsoft)、亚马逊(Amazon)这样的公司称霸元宇宙。这些公司不仅潜力无限,而且其基础业务足以推动股价上涨。”哪怕在五年或十年后,元宇宙仍然是一个“虚无缥缈的存在”。

难怪不少基金经理认为Meta(股票代码:FB,股价:318美元)就是“玩转元宇宙的最佳途径”。这家社交巨擘已经通过其Oculus VR头戴设备业务,以及它对在3D虚拟空间中生活、游戏和开会的愿景(比如Meta最新发布的Horizon平台),非常清楚地表明了其主导元宇宙的雄心。蒂尔尼指出,对投资者来说,Meta有几个优势:“基础业务很强,并且还在持续增长;我们认为,它还有很大的增长空间。”华尔街预计,Meta在2022财年的收入将增长19%。不过,从估值角度看,Meta在2021年向元宇宙部门投资100亿美元(未来肯定还会追加投资),是一个潜在的利好:Meta目前的历史市盈率低于24倍;“除去这些支出,其市盈率就在十几或20倍左右。因此,你要么是低估了它的基础业务,要么是免费获得了元宇宙期权。”他说,“无论如何,我认为这对投资者是很有吸引力的。”更重要的是,他认为Meta斥巨资打造元宇宙,就相当于“围绕其业务建造了一道护城河,”以此来震慑未来有可能涌现的竞争对手。然而,该公司在现实世界中依旧面临重重阻力。例如,一场反垄断诉讼可能迫使Meta出售备受其珍视的Instagram和WhatsApp业务;另有报道称,美国联邦贸易委员会(Federal Trade Commission)正在牵头调查其VR业务可能存在的反竞争行为。

与此同时,正如韦德布什证券的艾夫斯所言,微软(股票代码:MSFT,股价:303美元)也渴望“成为元宇宙领域的重要一员”。这家科技巨头决意为Xbox开发元宇宙游戏——该公司刚刚同意以大约690亿美元的价格收购视频游戏制造商动视暴雪(Activision Blizzard)——并且开始将元宇宙功能整合到其产品套件中,比如最近宣布的Mesh for Teams,这个面向企业的虚拟会议空间是微软混合现实Mesh平台的组成部分。艾夫斯预测称,该公司“将通过挖掘内部潜力和收购等方式强势进军元宇宙。”Alger公司的克劳福德也认为,微软应该会成为“‘企业元宇宙’的主导者。”她指出,其混合现实产品HoloLens能够通过培训和工作支持等方式帮助企业,以及像美国军队这样的客户提高效率。这款产品已经很适合元宇宙了,尽管其目前的迭代“尚未达到应有的高度”。联博资产管理公司的蒂尔尼也指出,假以时日,微软的云业务Azure也会受益于元宇宙的成长。

他说,亚马逊(股票代码:AMZN,股价:3178美元)亦是如此。其云计算部门亚马逊网络服务(Amazon Web Services)应该会让这两只股票成为“天然的投资对象”。但在云业务之外,如果该公司可以在元宇宙和VR领域推出一款“全垒打”应用程序,那将有助于销售服装等商品的零售企业降低在线退货成本。这可能对亚马逊有利,因为电子商务一直是该公司“有意义的”组成部分。(亚马逊已经推出了虚拟试穿等功能,并且很早就尝试着利用3D模型等技术来减少退货,不过蒂尔尼指出,“其能力还有待改善。”)“使用这些工具来降低退货率将显著提振销售额,但更重要的是,如果退货减少,利润就会大幅提高。”蒂尔尼说,“我认为,仅仅出于这一点,亚马逊进入元宇宙就很有意义。”不过,以目前的股价水平来看,该股仍然很贵,其远期市盈率接近82倍。

与此同时,苹果(股票代码:AAPL,股价:170美元)也被基金经理视为有望受益于元宇宙的科技巨头之一。要么是通过硬件,要么是作为元宇宙场景的建设者。或者,包括Alger公司的克劳福德在内,一些基金经理期望苹果能够同时从这两方面发力。克劳福德表示:“苹果是一个备受消费者信赖的平台,消费者元宇宙是其现有产品的自然延伸。”韦德布什证券的艾夫斯预测称,苹果将在今年推出一款VR/AR头戴设备。坊间一直有相关传闻,但还未得到该公司证实。如果这样一款产品进入市场,艾夫斯认为“那将是通往元宇宙的高速公路上的分水岭事件。”

事实上,艾夫斯称,“元宇宙的第一篇章就是让消费者入驻其中,而其中很大一部分无疑要依靠苹果、Facebook和微软来实现。”

押注基础设施

就投资元宇宙而言,这或许不是最性感的方式,但如果你不希望把所有鸡蛋都放在一个元宇宙赢家的篮子里,选择那些将为元宇宙建造基础设施的股票,例如半导体,或许是一个更安全的赌注,同时仍然可以让你成为这一趋势的受益者。而且,它最终可能是一个收益颇丰的选择:英特尔(Intel)在2021年12月预测称,元宇宙要真正成形的话,计算能力就需要大幅提高1000倍。

“在元宇宙领域最具体的努力,莫过于Facebook的资本支出计划,以及他们立即着手建造元宇宙数据中心等举措。”晨星公司(Morningstar)的科技股研究主管布莱恩·科莱洛对《财富》杂志表示,“这将提振那些拥有云计算和数据中心业务的公司。”符合这一标准的股票包括超微半导体(股票代码:AMD,股价:132美元)和Arista Networks(股票代码:ANET,股价:127美元)。

克劳福德表示,半导体巨头英伟达(股票代码:NVDA,股价:259美元)让她“超级兴奋”。诸如图形处理器(GPU)这类产品应该会使这家公司成为元宇宙的“巨大受益者”, 因为其基础架构将依赖大量计算。“他们几乎已经成为计算方面的赋能者。”克劳福德说,“展望未来,每台设备或许都需要一个图形引擎,更不用说所有的计算都需要在云端进行。”她还提到英伟达的Omniverse平台,它能够让创作者“建立站点、城镇的数字孪生体。然后,这些数字孪生体会依靠英伟达的GPU来运行,或者在英伟达运营的数据中心内运行。”因此,她指出,英伟达有望在元宇宙的“硬件(即计算)和软件开发方面都发挥作用。”所有这些都将提振英伟达原本就很强劲的业务:分析师预计,英伟达在2022财年的营收将增长约18%。不过,这只股票的远期市盈率在2021年上涨了124%,目前仍然高达52倍。

对于估值较低的股票,克劳福德和哥伦比亚塞利格曼全球科技基金(Columbia Seligman Global Technology Fund)的投资组合经理谢卡尔·普拉马尼克都看好美光科技(股票代码:MU, 股价:93美元),一家生产内存和存储芯片的半导体公司。考虑到元宇宙需要依赖头戴设备、数据中心和平台来运转,“快速计算是基本要求,而这需要强大的内存来提供。”克劳福德说。所有这些高性能计算“通常都需要大量的内存、DRAM、动态RAM,以及被称为闪存的存储设备。”普拉马尼克指出。而这正是美光的优势所在。事实上,克劳福德估计,对“本地和云端”计算的采用将刺激对内存(以及美光的内存芯片)的需求。她预测称,哪怕是“需求的一个小拐点”也会推动DRAM芯片“在每个终点”增长两到三倍。美光的远期市盈率不高,还不到11倍。华尔街预计,在截至2022年8月的财年,其销售额将增长16%。

对泛林集团(股票代码:LRCX,股价:679美元)来说,这些趋势也是一个好兆头。普拉马尼克相信,这家致力于为半导体制造商生产设备的公司将受益于“元宇宙带来的额外计算和内存需求。”从大约20倍的远期市盈率来看,该股不会让你倾家荡产。分析师预计,在截至2022年6月的财年,该公司的营收将增长20%以上,但在之后一个财年,其增长预计将放缓至个位数。

普拉马尼克指出,借助VR头戴设备访问元宇宙时,消费者最不希望体验的,就是因为“显示驱动器的运行频率不够高而造成的晕眩感。”而这正是Synaptics(股票代码:SYNA,股价:234美元)等公司有望获利的地方。Synaptics专注于生产AR和VR头戴设备须臾不可离的显示驱动芯片。“这些设备都需要非常高分辨率的显示效果。”更重要的是,普拉马尼克对其基础业务欣赏有加。Synaptics拥有一支相对较新的管理团队。2019年掌舵的首席执行官迈克尔·赫尔斯顿“彻底改变了这家公司,”其营业利润和毛利率均有所改善。在截至2020年9月的季度中,Synaptics的毛利率为44%左右,到2021年同一季度已经增长到53%以上。尽管VR业务目前在公司营收中占比不大,但赫尔斯顿在最近一次财报电话会议上表示,这块业务“已经变得颇具意义,增长前景非常好。”

当然,所有这些芯片都需要测试,这就是像泰瑞达(股票代码:TER,股价:156美元)这类股票大显身手的地方。据彭博社(Bloomberg)报道,这家公司连同其竞争对手爱德万测试(Advantest),占据了约80%至90%的市场份额。普拉马尼克也指出,泰瑞达的核心业务正在稳步发展,“拥有超强的盈利能力。”分析师预计,其2022财年的利润将增长近12%。

与此同时,Matterport(股票代码:MTTR,股价:13美元)可能成为另一家受益于元宇宙的企业。这家空间数据公司致力于提供真实建筑的3D版本。在韦德布什证券的艾夫斯看来,Matterport“基本上创造了房地产的数字孪生体,后者现在开始被越来越多地应用于数字世界。”他还指出,该公司正在联手Meta围绕3D空间数据集展开学术研究,“预计他们还将达成更多的技术合作。”Matterport的股价在2021年上涨了45%以上(它是2021年7月通过一笔SPAC并购交易上市的);华尔街估计,该公司在2022年的营收将增长近47%。

竞逐加密世界

BTIG公司的金融科技和加密货币分析师兼董事总经理马克·帕尔默认为,元宇宙有可能分裂为两块:一块是经过许可,或者说是集中式的元宇宙(比如科技平台),另一块是“开放的元宇宙”,即去中心化的区块链,包含像非同质化代币(NFT)这类东西。“我认为,开放元宇宙和其他一切领域的区别将越来越明显。”帕尔默一直在密切关注开放元宇宙。

他宣称,到目前为止,在区块链支持的元宇宙方面,投资者的“选择仍然非常有限,至少在公共领域是这样。”

但在公开市场上,有一只目前在多伦多证券交易所交易,但计划于2022年第一季度登陆纳斯达克(Nasdaq)的股票值得关注。那就是迈克·诺沃格拉茨领衔的加密货币投资管理公司Galaxy Digital(股票代码:GLXY,股价:16美元)。帕尔默特别提到其附属投资机构Galaxy Interactive。“旗下的两只基金管理着6.5亿美元,而且是上市公司的一部分。”Galaxy Interactive正在投资NFT(这是元宇宙的一大组件)和SAND币,后者由区块链驱动的元宇宙平台Sandbox发行。“他们的投资重点是开放元宇宙。”帕尔默说,“我预计未来会有更多的公司进入这一领域。”(财富中文网)

所有股价的计算时间均为2022年1月18日。

译者:任文科

In late October, social media giant Facebook announced a bold move: It was rebranding and would henceforth call itself Meta. The name change was in reference to the “metaverse,” a term that’s a bit tricky to neatly define but encompasses a network of 3D virtual spaces, often accessed through things like virtual reality or augmented reality, that can include everything from virtual meeting places to gaming to virtual concerts and shopping experiences. Many consider it a part of the next form of the internet (Web 3.0).

Facebook’s switch to the name Meta, alongside its third quarter announcement that it would spend about $10 billion on its metaverse unit in 2021, was what some on Wall Street consider a turning point for metaverse awareness.

“I think that was the inflection point for the market, and people got a heck of a lot more serious [about the metaverse] after Facebook,” suggests James Tierney, chief investment officer of concentrated U.S. growth at AllianceBernstein.

Indeed, previously, “metaverse” was a “barely used word on the Street,” Daniel Ives, managing director and senior equity analyst focused on tech at Wedbush Securities, tells Fortune. In recent months, however, “it’s become one of the hottest themes from a Wall Street perspective. Every investor is trying to figure out how to play it.”

The metaverse as a concept is nothing new, having been coined in Neal Stephenson’s novel Snow Crash in the early 1990s. But its rise in tech titans’ ambitions and the explosion of interest from consumers and companies alike have garnered serious investor attention.

At the moment, the number of “pure plays” on the metaverse are fairly limited for an equity investor. “It’s very early days, and I think many investors are tiptoeing into how to invest in the metaverse,” offers Ives, though he doesn’t think this is all just hype.

In general, money managers say they still don’t know exactly what the metaverse will look like or how it will impact business models. “The end point we’re talking about is not months and years—it’s like decades,” Ankur Crawford, executive vice president and portfolio manager at Alger, posits.

But there are plenty of companies that are investing in the metaverse, building hardware that will serve as an on-ramp to the metaverse and making products that will support its infrastructure. That’s where analysts and money managers see the most compelling opportunities—at least for now.

For investors keen on capitalizing on the burgeoning space, in one way, shape, or form, Fortune asked portfolio managers and analysts which stocks they could bet on.

The tech giant play

The battle for who will win the metaverse is just heating up, and Big Tech isn’t about to sit on the sidelines.

In fact, companies are pouring billions into building out their contributions to the metaverse. For some money managers like AllianceBernstein’s Tierney, “we’d much rather have a company like…a Facebook, like a Microsoft, like an Amazon that has a play” on the metaverse, “that has plenty of potential upside, but the base business is going to drive [the stock] up,” even if, five or 10 years down the road, the metaverse turns out to “be a complete zero.”

It’s no surprise, then, that money managers like Tierney believe Meta (FB, $318), formerly Facebook, is the “best way to play” the metaverse. Meta has made its ambitions to dominate the metaverse abundantly clear, with its Oculus VR headset business and the company’s vision of living, gaming, and meeting in a 3D virtual space, like Meta’s Horizon platform. Tierney notes Meta has a few strengths for investors: “Their base business is strong, continuing to grow; we think there’s a good growth runway there,” he says (the Street expects Meta to grow revenue by 19% in the 2022 fiscal year). But he frames Meta’s $10 billion investment in its metaverse unit in 2021 (and more moving forward) as a potential plus from a valuation standpoint: Meta’s current trailing price/earnings ratio is under 24 times earnings; take “that spending away and you’re [in the] high teens or around 20 P/E. So you’re [either] underappreciating the base business, or you’re getting the metaverse option for free,” he suggests. “Either way, as an investor, I think that’s pretty attractive.” What’s more, he believes the fact that Meta is shelling out the big bucks for the metaverse is a “bit of a moat around their business” against more up-and-coming competitors. However, the company is still facing headwinds in the real world, including an antitrust lawsuit that could potentially force it to sell its prized Instagram and WhatsApp businesses, and a reported Federal Trade Commission-led probe over its VR business for possible anticompetitive practices.

Meanwhile Microsoft (MSFT, $303) has also made its “hunger to become more of a metaverse play” known, as Wedbush’s Ives puts it, with its intention to work on metaverse games for Xbox (the company also just agreed to buy video-game maker Activision Blizzard for roughly $69 billion) and its move to incorporate metaverse capabilities into its product suite, like its recently announced Mesh for Teams, an avatar-populated meeting space for companies (as part of its mixed reality Mesh platform). Ives, for one, predicts the company “is going to be aggressive both organically as well as through acquisitions in terms of attacking the metaverse.” Alger’s Crawford also believes Microsoft should be a “dominant player in the ’enterprise metaverse’” pointing to its HoloLens mixed reality product, which helps companies (and even customers like the U.S. Army) improve efficiency through things like training and job support, and is ripe for the metaverse (though its current iteration “isn’t quite as developed as it should be,” she suggests). AllianceBernstein’s Tierney also notes their cloud business Azure should benefit over time if the metaverse takes off.

That’s also true of Amazon (AMZN, $3,178), he says, whose Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud unit should make both stocks “natural plays.” But outside of the cloud, one “home run” application of the metaverse and VR could be helping retail businesses that sell things like apparel reduce the cost of online returns, Tierney says. That could benefit Amazon, whose e-commerce business is a “meaningful” part of the company (there are already functions like virtual try-on, and Amazon has long been maneuvering to reduce returns with things like 3D models, though Tierney notes "capabilities will improve").“Using some of these tools to reduce the return rate is going to be a huge No. 1 sales booster, but secondly, and more importantly, a huge profit improver if you can cut down on the returns,” Tierney notes. “I think that makes a whole lot of sense for Amazon to get in simply for that reason alone.” At its current levels, however, the stock is expensive, trading at nearly 82 times forward earnings.

Tech giant Apple (AAPL, $170), meanwhile, is also on money managers’ lists as a company that could benefit from the metaverse, likely through hardware or potentially as a builder of places in the metaverse—or, as Alger’s Crawford hopes, both. Apple “is a trusted platform by many consumers, and the consumer metaverse is the natural extension of what they have today,” Crawford suggests. Analysts like Wedbush’s Ives predict Apple will launch a VR/AR headset this year, a product that’s been rumored but not yet announced by the company. If and when such a product comes to market, Ives believes “that will be a watershed event around the highway on to the metaverse.”

Indeed, Ives suggests, “The first part of the metaverse is getting consumers on to the metaverse, and a lot of that is going to be through Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft.”

The infrastructure bet

It may not be the sexiest way to play the metaverse, but for investors not wishing to put all their eggs in one metaverse winner’s basket, opting for stocks that will build the infrastructure for the metaverse, like semiconductors, can provide a safer bet while still offering exposure to the trend. And it could eventually be a lucrative choice: In December, Intel predicted that there would need to be a massive 1,000 times increase in computational power if the metaverse were to truly take form.

According to those like Brian Colello, director of technology equity research at Morningstar, the “most concrete effort in the metaverse is Facebook’s capital expenditure plans and how they plan to build out data center capacity for the metaverse right away,” he tells Fortune. “That’s a boost for companies with cloud and data center exposure.” Stocks that fit that bill, Colello says, include AMD (AMD, $132) and Arista Networks (ANET, $127).

One name Crawford says she’s “super excited about” is semiconductor titan Nvidia (NVDA, $259), whose products like graphics processing units (GPUs) should make it “a huge beneficiary” of the metaverse, given its infrastructure will depend on lots of computing. “They’ve become almost an enabler on the compute side,” says Crawford. “On a go forward basis, every device…will likely need to have a graphics engine, not to mention all the compute that will need to be done in the cloud somewhere.” She also points to the firm’s platform Omniverse, which lets creators “build sites, digital twins of towns and cities, which then run on [Nvidia] GPUs or potentially inside of a [Nvidia]-run data center.” Therefore Nvidia “plays in both the hardware—compute—as well as the software creation,” she notes. All of that could boost Nvidia’s already strong business: Analysts project Nvidia can grow revenues by roughly 18% in the 2022 fiscal year, though the stock trades at a lofty 52 times forward earnings having run up 124% in 2021.

For a less expensive stock valuation-wise, both Crawford and Shekhar Pramanick, a portfolio manager of the Columbia Seligman Global Technology Fund, favor Micron Technology (MU, $93), a semiconductor company that makes memory and storage chips. For the metaverse to work, with its headsets and data centers and platforms, “you’re going to need to do fast compute, [and] you’re going to need the memory for that,” Crawford says. All that high compute processing “usually has a large amount of memory and DRAM, dynamic RAM, as well as something called flash memory for storage,” notes Pramanick. That’s where Micron comes in. In fact, Crawford estimates that the adoption of compute “locally and in the cloud” will fuel the need for memory (and Micron’s memory chips), and even a “small inflection in demand” could see DRAM chip growth increasing by two to three times “in each end point” over time to serve the metaverse, she predicts. Micron trades at a modest forward P/E of under 11, and the Street expects the company can grow sales by 16% in the fiscal year ending August 2022.

Those trends could also bode well for Lam Research (LRCX, $679), an equipment supplier that makes gear companies use to produce semiconductors. Pramanick believes Lam will benefit from the “added computing and memory demand that the metaverse will bring.” At a forward price/earnings ratio of roughly 20, the stock won’t break the bank, and analysts estimate it can grow revenues by over 20% in the fiscal year ending June 2022 (though growth is expected to taper off to single digits the following year).

When it comes to practically accessing the metaverse through something like a VR headset, the last thing consumers want is to have visuals that create “motion sickness and jerkiness” if the “display drivers are not operating at a very high frequency” in the headset, notes Pramanick. That’s where companies like Synaptics (SYNA, $234) stand to benefit. Synaptics makes, among other things, display driver chips that go into AR and VR headsets, “which require very high-resolution displays,” Pramanick says. What’s more, he likes the company’s underlying business, pointing out that it has a relatively new management team (with CEO Michael Hurlston hired in 2019) that has “completely changed the company,” and has improved operating profits and gross margins—the latter of which increased from around 44% in the quarter ended September 2020 to over 53% in the same quarter in 2021. Though not currently a large portion of the company’s revenue, CEO Hurlston said in the company’s latest earnings call that its VR component has “become something a little bit more meaningful” and that he saw “really good growth prospects.”

All those chips will need to be tested, of course, which is where a stock like Teradyne (TER, $156) could come in. Along with competitor Advantest, the pair have about 80% to 90% of the total market share, according to Bloomberg. Pramanick also points out that Teradyne’s core business is chugging along: The company is “extremely profitable,” Pramanick notes, with nearly $1 billion in profits over the past 12 months (and analysts estimate Teradyne can grow earnings by nearly 12% in the 2022 fiscal year).

Meanwhile Matterport (MTTR, $13), a spatial data company that renders 3D versions of real-life buildings, could be another play on the metaverse. In Ives of Wedbush’s words, Matterport “basically [creates] digital twins of real estate that now will start to be used more and more in a digital world.” He also highlights the company’s partnership with Meta on a data set of 3D spaces for academic research, and expects “them to have more technology partnerships to ink.” Matterport’s stock rose over 45% in 2021 (it began trading via a SPAC merger in July), and the Street estimates it can grow revenues by nearly 47% in 2022.

The crypto angle

The metaverse, according to those like BTIG fintech and crypto analyst and managing director Mark Palmer, can be split into two: one more permissioned, or centralized, metaverse (think tech platforms), and the “open metaverse,” which is the decentralized blockchain sphere that entails things like NFTs. “I think that, increasingly, that distinction is going to be made between the open metaverse and everything else,” he says. Palmer’s focus is on the open metaverse.

He declares that as of right now, investors are “quite limited, at least in the public realm,” in ways to play the blockchain-enabled aspect of the metaverse.

But one stock that is on the public market (currently trading on the Toronto stock exchange, though it plans to list on the Nasdaq in the first quarter of 2022) is Galaxy Digital (TSX: GLXY, $16), the crypto investment manager headed up by Mike Novogratz. In particular, Palmer points to the firm’s investment affiliate, Galaxy Interactive—“This is $650 million spread between two funds, and it’s part of a publicly traded company,” Palmer notes. Galaxy Interactive is investing in NFTs (a big component in the metaverse) and the SAND token from the Sandbox, a blockchain-enabled metaverse platform. “What they’re investing in is, for the most part, the open metaverse,” says Palmer. “That’s where I anticipate there are gonna be a lot more ways to play that going forward.”

All stock prices calculated as of Jan. 18, 2022.

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