Looking at Micro and Macro Themes for 2015

There may be some good plays in the market in 2015 based on trends.

••• Stock market trends for 2015. Monty Rakusen/Cultura/Getty Images

Sometimes you can capitalize on market trends directly, sometimes peripherally, and sometimes you have to see what they bring.  Here are some trends I think are interesting for 2015.

Craft Beers

It is obvious that the major brewers like BUD totally misjudged the craft brew movement and now they are scrambling to catch up.  First, let me tell you why this trend will continue.

The argument against craft beer ever grabbing significant market share was that the higher alcohol content and full flavor would limit the volume consumers would drink.


Drinkers quickly build a tolerance to the ABV (alcohol by volume) and end up drinking as much of their new craft beer as they did their old, lower alcohol beer. More significantly, after you savor the complex taste of an IPA, Saison, or Oatmeal Porter, you NEVER want to go back to the Bud/Miller/Coors triumvirate.  Even a Heineken tastes like water.

Keep an eye on SAM and BREW as they may be buyout candidates.  Also expect at least one of the larger craft brewers (possibly New Belgium Brewing) to file for an IPO.

Integrated Fitness Programs

Now that corporations are starting to realize that they are going to be on the hook for a lot of healthcare insurance costs, it finally donned on them that healthier employees will be less costly employees.

Companies like Vitality are partnering with big companies to get their employees on reward based fitness programs where you get points for company walks, quitting smoking, completing a body-fat analysis, or any other number of healthy lifestyle choices.

Points can be exchanged for all sorts of goodies and prizes.  Look for this to benefit stocks like NKEUA, and other sports/fitness/health related stocks.

Video Mining

When iTunes came along it enabled a whole host of semi-obscure back catalogs to instantly become monetizable (is that even a word)?  Removing the physical constraints - CD's, packaging, shipping, shelf space, etc.

-- made a Rolling Stones song just as profitable as one by Sham 69 (Google them).

There was the same possibility with video but the server capacity and pipeline into consumer's homes was not big enough. Now it is. 

And out there exists a treasure trove of content going back at least to the 50's, maybe even the 40's, yet to be found, curated around a theme or subject, and packaged for the public.

Just one example; how many clips are there of Jimi Hendrix out there that most people have never seen?  A Dick Cavet Interview, A performance on some local TV show in Cincinnati, or a song he did on BBC2?  Would Hendrix fans pay to get a burn-to-order DVD of those clips or subscribe to a "Hendrix Channel," perhaps on YouTube or a yet to be created competitor?

Two obstacles stand in the way; a discovery method -- most of this stuff was rarely cataloged, and if so, very haphazardly -- but more importantly, a cost effective mechanism to locate the rights and negotiate the legal releases needed to distribute said content.

For a great example of this, read the "Subsequent Distribution" section of the Wiki entry for Urgh! A Music War.

As technology seems to be able to disrupt everything, I am hopeful that some exotic algorithm will be able to solve this issue.

 Not sure how you profit from this trend but it is an area to keep an eye on.

A couple more trends to watch.....

Howard Lindzon, CEO of StockTwits thinks that mass customization will be the axe in 2015.

Michael Parekh (one of the smartest guys you can every meet) thinks  Google and Samsung butt heads.