CNBC’s 2019 Stock Draft kicks off on “Power Lunch” Thursday.
Ex-NFL star Nick Lowery, last year’s winner, is defending his title against nine other teams. In 2018, her wrested the prize away from from “Mr. Wonderful,” Kevin O’Leary, with his picks of Amazon, Goldman Sachs, and Advanced Micro Devices. His stocks ended the challenge up 37 percent.
This year, competitors will chose from a list of 61 investments, including Apple, JP Morgan and Lyft. They will make one pick per round, for three rounds.
The contest begins with the closing prices on Thursday and ends with the closing prices on Jan. 31, 2020, the Friday before the Super Bowl. The winner is determined by the average percentage change of all three selections.
Here is the draft order, chosen randomly last week:
- Tim Seymour (Seymour Alpha)
- Jarvis Green (The Green Machine)
- Bethenny Frankel (Team YES)
- Nick Lowery (Nick the Kick’s Pix)
- Bobby Flay (Bobby’s Bulls)
- Maria Ho (Blue Chip Leaders)
- Noah Syndergaard (Thor’s Hammer)
- Kevin O’Leary (Mr. Wonderful)
- Oz Pearlman (Oz Knows)
- Beardstown Ladies
The first two rounds will be televised live on “Power Lunch” and you can catch the third and final round at 3 p.m. ET via a live stream on CNBC.com and Facebook Live.
Here is a live round-up of Thursday’s picks:
First to pick was Tim Seymour, who is no stranger to investing. As CIO of Seymour Asset Management, he has over 22 years of experience in the business. He chose General Electric.
“This is one of those picks that is hard to love,” he said. “This is a debt and balance sheet clean up story.”
GE was down 2.5% on Thursday and is down 35.52 percent from a year ago.
“This was the hardest decision of my life,” said Seymour.
Jarvis Green, former National Football League player, made the second pick of the day, which is Constellation Brands.
“They are growing and they have huge profits for revenue,” Green said. “I think the alcohol part of is going to be a winner and the cannabis and CBD part of it as the technology grows will catch up.”
The stock is up a whooping 32% year to date.
Entrepreneur & Reality TV Star Bethenny Frankel chose Boeing.
The company has been under pressure since it had to ground its 737 Max aircraft.
“They’ve had some issues but everybody loves a comeback,” she said.
The stock is up 18.83% year to date.
CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramer called the choice a good one.
“My only problem is … this thing has run. So you may be later than you think without a trade deal,” Cramer said.
Nick Lowery, 2018 champion of CNBC’s Stock Draft, revealed his pick for this year — Nvidia.
“We are doubling down on the idea [of] microchips… AI and also the beginning of robotic driving cars. They are positioning perfectly,” Lowery said.
Nvidia is up 41% in 2019.
For celebrity chef Bobby Flay’s first pick, he went with something he knows about: food.
“I’m going to go with Kraft Heinz,” he said. “I’m a huge Heinz ketchup fan and they also own Grey Poupon so they have the mustard and the ketchup and all the condiments covered.”
“If people get a little nervous with the market they are going to tuck in and eat a lot of food at home,” he added
The company is in the midst of a executive shake up and is down 24% this year.
Maria Ho went with fintech firm Square as her pick.
“They launched a credit card and it’s great for the small businesses and mid-sized business. It;s probably not going anywhere…we are going all in right now,” she said.
This is Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard first CNBC Stock Draft and he went with electric automaker Tesla for initial pick.
“Fast cars. Fast balls,” he said. “I don’t drive one but I’m all about … saving the environment.”
Tesla hit a 52-week low on Thursday and was down 3.61% in afternoon trading. Share lost more than 25% so far this year.
Kevin O’Leary, co-founder of O’Leary Funds, chose Johnson & Johnson.
“I think we are going to have a lot of volatility next year, so you want a quality balance sheet and you [have to] care a lot about earnings and you really want as little debt as possible. So I’ve gone safety with a lot of growth,” he said.
The health company underperformed the market this year with a gain of 7% versus the S&P 500′s 17% return. Its profits dropped 14% in the first quarter.
Mentalist Oz Pearlman came in third place on NBC’s America’s Got Talent a few years ago, but he’s hoping for a first-place win in this year’s Stock Draft. His first choice was Disney.
“I’m never going to be Mr. Wonderful at reading a balance sheet. What I do, I get in people’s heads. And what I think is in people’s heads: entertainment,” Pearlman said. “Disney is about to roll out a streaming service that we are going to call maybe a Netflix killer.”
That streaming service, Disney+, is set launch in November for $6.99 a month and will offer its deep catalog of content, as well as new shows.
“This is what I will be talking about next year when I win the stock draft,” Pearlman said.
Shares of Disney hit a 52-week high on Thursday and are up 25% in 2019.
The Beardstown Ladies went with Alibaba as their first-round pick.
“We called Alibaba the Amazon of China. But we like their funtamentals. Their long-term debt is only 20% of the capital and they predicted they have double-digit earnings growth this year,” they said.
“And on top of that, they are flexible. They are expanding into food service and streaming,” they added.
Shares of Alibaba soared more than 37% this year.
For his second pick, Tim Seymour went with Electronic Arts.
“The tailwinds in the gaming sector are very exciting,” he said. “You can make an argument it’s a media play. This is the NFL.”
Shares of Electronic Arts are up more than 18% in 2019.
Jarvis Green chose streaming giant Netflix as his second pick.
“Netflix has a year ahead of Disney right now…We binged one time for 14 hours on Netflix,” Green said.
Netflix is the front-runner of the so-called FANG names, rallying 37% this year.
For Bethenny Frankel decided to add cannabis to her portfolio in the form of Canadian pot company Tilray.
“I’m betting on legalization. It’s great for wellness, for pets,” she said.
Shares are now just over $51 a share, but they were once as high as $300. Frankel thinks they can get there again.
For Nick Lowery’s second pick, he went with Advanced Micro Devices.
“Googled picked it for their cloud. PlayStation has it. There’s a shortage of PC chips,” Lowery said.
Shares of Advanced Micro Devices have surged more than 50% year to date.
Chef Bobby Flay chose retail giant Walmart for his second investment.
“If the market gets a little tight, I think everybody is going to be looking for everyday low prices,” he said.
Shares of Walmart were little changed on Thursday but are up more than 11% for the year.
Maria Ho picked UnitedHealth as her second pick.
“We are betting on the fact that the government’s scrutiny over heath care is going to subside hopefully,” Ho said.
Shares of the health insurance provider are down nearly 7% this year.
Noah Syndergaard went with something he knows for his second pick, Amazon.
“Every day I feel like getting two or three Amazon boxes,” he said. “I really admire their purchase of Whole Foods in 2017 and they passed Walmart as the largest retailer in 2015.”
Shares of the ecommerce giant were little changed on Thursday, as investors awaited Amazon’s earnings report, expected after the bell.
Amazon is up 27% year to date.
“Mr. Wonderful” Kevin O’Leary chose Marlboro cigarette maker Altria for his second pick.
O’Leary said it’s a “low risk pick,” and the company has a strong balance sheet.
However, Altria reported worse-than-expected earnings for the first quarter on Thursday and its acquisition of electronic cigarette company Juul is under scrutiny from The Federal Trade Commission.”
“It’s a growing market. There’s always going to be that issue and that’s a little bit controversial but that’s just enough excitement for me. I won’t invest in cannabis stocks but this is a way for me to get it around the fringe of that growth,” O’Leary said.
Altria’s stock is only up 4% this year.
Oz Pearlman deiced to “swing for the fences” by picking Bitcoin as his second investment.
“The obituary has been written for this time and time again. Crypto is dead. I don’ think so,” he said. “There are so many applications still there for it. It is not going away.”
He said there is a rebound now underway — and to take a big win in the draft, another “crypto mania” could seal the deal for him.