Most investors would like to forget 2022.
Stocks suffered, with the S&P 500 falling 19%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Stock Exchange did even worse, taking a 25% hit for the year.
Traditional safe havens offered no solution. Gold prices stayed almost flat and closed the year down 0.23%. Crytpos reeled, shedding over $1 trillion in valuation. Bitcoin finished the year down 65%.
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As if that weren’t enough, 2022 may have been the worst year for the bond market since 1842. Last year, the U.S. Treasury market suffered its biggest annual loss in history. Meanwhile, investors took home $14.2 billion less in dividends in 2022 than the year before.
These are all grim returns. But they’re even worse in the context of inflation being at a 40-year high.
As the investing cliché goes, there’s always a bull market somewhere. And as America battles a crime wave fueled by economic anxiety and lingering complications from lockdowns, one sector thrived in 2022: home security stocks.
Thefts and robberies in America increased by 20% in the first half of 2022, while murders were 30% above prepandemic levels. In New York City, the transit authority announced it would install two security cameras on every car to reassure passengers who were spooked into avoiding trains because of the crime wave. As New York Gov. Kathy Hochul put it, “You think Big Brother is watching you on the subway? You’re absolutely right. That is our intent.”
The fear from rising crime is prompting new demand for home security systems, and home defense stocks are meeting the moment. Vivint Smart Home Inc. VVNT, Honeywell International Inc. HON and ADT Inc. ADT closed 2022 solidly in the green.
Investors looking to play the trend in home and transit security spending might consider MaxTracker, a startup founded in 2018 that is pioneering a technology system to provide anti-theft protection to millions of bikes and cars as well as protect children from abduction through cell phone tracking.
In a country where 2 million bikes are stolen each year, a technology like MaxTracker’s — which uses a battery that can last up to one year — could have widespread appeal. Hundreds of thousands of children are reported missing each year. While most of these are accidental separations that are quickly resolved, it’s easy to envision thousands of parents paying for this anti-kidnapping technology, which will operate on a subscription model.
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