Markets & Research
Notes from the field: Spring 2021

Observations from Capital Group analysts around the world.

It might be time to dive into smart pools.

The internet of things could be coming to a backyard swimming pool near you. Smart pools feature devices that automatically clean the water and measure additives, such as chlorine. They also pair with apps that tell you when to purchase more chemicals. And with industry surveys showing that homeowners plan to use their pools even more this year, this latest move toward automation could garner new customers.

Reflation spending could boost rail.

The U.S. demand for goods has enjoyed a significant rebound, and that could be good news for transportation companies. Historically, the rail industry has grown faster than the S&P 500 when volumes and pricing have outpaced the broad economy. However, demand for container space thus far has trailed the recent spike in consumer demand, implying that the industry has a lot of room for growth in coming months.

Infrastructure spending could boost heavy equipment rentals.

The FAST Act, a five-year U.S. highway spending bill, is set to expire this year after being extended in late 2020. Historically, Congress has extended or passed new roadwork spending plans when old ones expired, so a new bill is likely on lawmakers’ minds. That could be good news for industries that benefit from maintenance and construction. Companies that rent heavy equipment, for example, stand to see significant revenue if a comparable bill lands on the president’s desk.

New technology lets users sell the intangible.

So-called nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, are the latest use for blockchain technology. They’re like bitcoins, but while every bitcoin is interchangeable, each NFT is a unique record of ownership that can make it easier for a user to hold intangible assets. For example, investors have turned to the technology to buy and sell digital art, highlighted by the recent $69 million sale of a digital collage created by the artist Beeple. Even more ephemeral items are being sold, with the NBA-backed Top Shots selling ownership of seconds-long clips of professional basketball games in randomized packs, like basketball cards.

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