With Motley Fool analyst Nick Sciple returning from his honeymoon, Motley Fool contributor Lou Whiteman joins this episode of Industry Focus: Energy to bring us up to speed on stories he might have missed in July, including Boeing (NYSE:BA), Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT), Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), and XPO Logistics‘ (NYSE:XPO) earnings.
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This video was recorded on July 29, 2021.
Nick Sciple: Welcome to Industry Focus. I’m Nick Sciple. Regular listeners will know I recently got married, and thank you to everybody who reached out with some well wishes. As you can imagine, I didn’t pay much attention to the stock market on my honeymoon, and as you know, we ran a few prerecorded episodes over the last few weeks. That’s why Lou Whiteman is joining me today to catch us up on some of the stories we missed while I was off getting hitched. Lou, welcome back on the show.
Lou Whiteman: Glad to be here, and congrats. I can’t believe you weren’t paying attention to the market the whole time. Shame on you.
Sciple: Yeah, with the big time difference out there in Hawaii, I would wake up and I’m like, man, markets are already getting ready to close here. Yeah, it’s interesting to be back on East Coast time, the, I guess, the master time zone when it comes to running things like stock markets and things like that. Excited to get back into the swing of things. Lou, so we’re going to talk about some earnings reports, some news that happened over the past month. Where do you want to start out here today?
Whiteman: I was thinking, I have to start with Boeing because they are just so big, and it was finally some good news. Boeing’s first profit since the third quarter of 2019; $0.40 per share on the pre-stock basis. Just for comparison purposes, analysts were expecting a $0.72 loss, so it was a really big, really impressive headline number.
Sciple: Yeah, we’ve got people heading back out flying. I just mentioned going on my honeymoon, the airport was very crowded. Every plane I got on was full to the max. How much is this rebound we’re seeing in travel — we’ll see whether that continues. We’ve got the Delta variant and things like that out there. But how much of this current rebound in travel is contributing to what we’re seeing in these numbers from Boeing?
Whiteman: We’re seeing a tiny bit of it over in the service side. One of the real cool things about this is every one of Boeing’s three businesses, commercial defense and then services, which is aftermarket and spare parts. They all just blew away expectations, and certainly we’re seeing some of it in the services side as far as what’s going on in the world. But really, we could talk in a second. There were some one-time things we needed to at least temper ourselves a bit. But really, this was just, gosh, they’re back and it’s good to see, because we haven’t been seeing a lot of that for a long time.
Sciple: We’ve been waiting to see Boeing get out of this time in the wilderness. We had the 737 MAX scandal. Then of course, we’ve had a global travel shutdown, which of course is going to impact one of the companies most levered to global air travel. What are these caveats folks should be paying attention to this earnings report, Lou?
Whiteman: Yeah, so we’re going to hear “timing” a lot with this report, and that’s not to say anything is bad here. It’s just good to know if we’re thinking forward. Commercials are still losing money. They lost $472 million. That was better than expected by more than $100 million. Some of that was just the timing of R&D investments. There wasn’t a lot of spend in research and development relative to expectations. That’s going to catch up with them eventually. We still have about maybe upwards of $4 billion in compensation liability related to the problems the 737 MAX had, and that’s just payments or credits they are going to have to give their customers. Little to none of that came out in the quarter, so again, that’s just looming there and we’re going to see that.
The news is good. They are getting back on track; 737 MAX production will go to 31 frames a month in 2022. That’s maybe double what they were doing a couple of months ago. But again, it’s important to remember that absent all the issues they’ve had, both COVID and the MAX issues, they would be pumping those out at mid-50s a month right now across the board at defense, and the backlog fell. I’m not too worried about that. We’ll talk about that more with other companies. But it seems like the Pentagon was maybe slow in getting awards out based on what we’re seeing for defense companies.
The big thing, I think the big takeaway, the thing to note in terms of before we get too excited is, net debt, $63.6 billion, basically unchanged. If you go back a few years, that’s four times higher than it was. It’s very abnormally high for Boeing. They aren’t making a lot of progress on that right now. They have to do that to really get healthy, and it will come. They’re just not there yet. I think given the timing, given all those choppiness, we’re still heading in the right direction. But certainly, I wouldn’t say, well, it’s all over, it’s all up from here. I would bet we’ll see a lot of these things pull back a little in the third quarter.
Sciple: Yeah, the analogy that comes to mind, he’s got this big cruise ship turning around. Sometimes, you got to get to that Austin Powers turn to get it, and maybe Boeing is going through that a little bit. You mentioned the commercial business coming out of the time in the desert but still had some concessions to make with customers. We’ve talked about in the past about how you look five years ago: Boeing really had all the leverage in this relationship and how it’s shifted somewhat toward the airlines being in a little bit stronger position. How would you assess that now? Some of these airlines have reported. How do you view them in the market today?
Whiteman: I’m going to give a real simplistic answer, but I think sometimes looking at things simple is the way to do it. If you look at United‘s huge order during the quarter of over 200 planes, Southwest doubling down on its order book, these aren’t for today. This is not their scrambling to get metal. This is them seeing opportunities to do a deal now and I think it really is probably that simple. The airlines are motivated to lock-in for the future because of pricing. I joked when the united order came out that it might have been a BOGO, buy one, get one free and that is a joke. I don’t think it’s that bad, but certainly, Boeing is still at a position where they need to move metal and they need to price appropriately. I think this is good for Boeing because we need a cab. I remember they burned through $20-something billion last year. They need free cash flow. They’ll get free cash flow from selling planes so this is where they are, but this is still a buyers market for new planes, I think.
Sciple: Lou, any last things maybe we should pull out of this Boeing earnings before we move on to Lockheed Martin?
Whiteman: Well, I’m going to even get grumpier in the third quarter because we knew this was coming, but Airbus has officially unveiled its A350 freighter today. Boeing for a long time has had a near-exclusivity on large dedicated freighter planes not converted, but these planes are built for cargo. This has been a real program saver and a couple of cases like the 767 where they had no competition that could keep the program going and make it economically viable thanks to cargo. Those days are changing. That’s a long-term thing for your radar. It’s not going to ruin them, but that was a slam dunk business that is going to get a lot harder into the future.
Sciple: Competition makes things a little bit more complicated. Airlines and just like any other business. So Lou, you mentioned, we talked a little bit more about defense with some of these other companies. This company we want to talk about right now is Lockheed Martin. What’s going on with Lockheed Martin? What does that tell us about the fence more broadly?
Whiteman: This is probably one of the most interesting earnings reports we’ve seen. For one thing, the headline numbers are boring this time, $0.652 per share, which was a penny shy of consensus so call it a wash. Our revenue was about $100 million ahead of expectations at $17 billion. This is a huge company. This is the world’s largest dedicated defense company. The intrigue here is if you look behind the scenes at what drove these numbers, everything worked at Lockheed except for one thing, Lockheed took an unexpected $0.61 per share charge on a single classified program. That’s $225 million in one quarter on a single program that was unexpected, which is just a huge goof miss, whatever you want to call it. I’m not saying you can back that out because that counts, but back that out and this would have been a blockbuster. Even with that charge, they were basically flat versus expectations. By my math, $0.49, maybe $0.50 per share in an operational beat. Without that there were also some tax credits and stuff to get that at full $0.61, we had all four divisions see revenue come in ahead of guidance. All but aeronautics where that charge was beaten on margin. Lockheed’s business is massive, they got fighter planes, they have helicopters, they’ve got missiles, they’ve got space. They have all things going on and it’s all working right now.
Sciple: Yeah. You mentioned that one mysterious charge, a classified program with any of these defense companies. There’s a level of mystery to what’s going on whenever you get inside that black box of classified programs. But seeing through that, hey, is Lou, any deeper thoughts or things we can think about as investors there?
Whiteman: Well. This is fascinating. Yeah, obviously it’s classified, is the answer. But we can guess and actually, there’s a real bull case to be made if you want to go down with some speculation. We know it is in aeronautics, they do a lot of things that they’re, it’s where a lot of their R&D comes out of, but it’s mostly their fighter plane, their plane program. I think it’s quite possible, if not growing likely that what we’re looking at is the next Air Force fighter, this top secret program that we first heard about about 18 months ago. We were on here, I speculated at the time, I thought it was Lockheed Martin and not Boeing and Northrop. But this charge really makes me think that Lockheed wasn’t really subtle. Management was saying yes, this stinks and yes, they had to actually change guidance for the rest of the year because now they’re just baking in more expense going forward with this, that 225 was maybe only half of what the added expenses. But they believe there’s a production contract to come out of this and they seem giddy about that. If it’s the fighter plane, we’re talking not only a multibillion-dollar new franchise that will come out of this. But also Lockheed keeps it’s winning streak going.
Boeing and Northrop haven’t won a fighter plane contract in either our lifetimes basically now and so these are franchises the Lockheed wants to hold serve. If that turns out to be what it is, yes there’s going to be short-term pain in this past quarter. There’s going to be a little higher expenses, but they seem really confident that whatever it is, it will lead to a production contract, which should mean it will level out and if it is this fighter airplane, then yeah, that is another choice that Lockheed has under its umbrella and it’s a big deal for them.
Sciple: This is one of those where you see the headlines as earnings missed, but then you dig in a little bit and it’s a bullish miss, if you want to put it that way.
Whiteman: Yeah, exactly. Look, this wasn’t the perfect quarter. Similar to Boeing, the defense, we just didn’t see a lot of orders, which is a rough measure of orders that came in versus what they built out. We want to see that, the higher the better because it means the business is growing. Their book-to-bill was 0.66, which is terrible. Some of that is the F-35 order they expected just didn’t come in this quarter. But Lockheed said that general dynamics are too, I’m guessing that on the pentagon side of it, but certainly something to watch. Free cash flow wasn’t what we expected. Again, that looks like a tax issue, TaxTime and stuff like that. There are some things definitely to watch for the third quarter, but all-in, this is a well-run company that might have another hit on its hands at once you get through whatever this “classified” is.
Sciple: Something to watch. Moving on from this aerospace sector that we talked about with Boeing and Lockheed. Let’s talk about Tesla. Electric vehicles are on the tip of everybody’s tongue. Every automaker on the face of the planet is trying to chase Tesla. Into EVs what are we seeing from Tesla? They’re the top dog here.
Whiteman: Well, it’s funny, by Tesla standard, this was a pretty, I don’t want to say boring, but this was a pretty just run-of-the-mill quarter. I mean that much to their credit. The headline’s great; a record quarterly profit, record production, record deliveries. The chip shortage, which is affecting all of these automakers and is causing a lot of pain. Tesla, on the surface seems to be navigating better than most. Elon Musk said that they achieved the output that we did achieve. Here’s the quote, “Was only due to the immense effort from people within Tesla, we were able to substitute alternative chips and then write the firmware in a matter of weeks.” That’s not an easy thing. They had to basically reinvent this, but apparently it’s working for them to keep production going. I mean, you have $1.1 billion in GAAP net income. First profit excluding credit sales, which is a huge deal on something that critics really love to bang Tesla on. There’s fodder for the bears always with this company, but all-in, you’ve got to say this was the bear, I think.
Sciple: Yeah, I think for me the big two criticisms of Tesla for me have been one, when are we going to get a real non-beta product for full self-driving. We’ll be talking about that later. Then two, when are we going to make profit directly from selling these vehicles without getting government subsidy involved, or these types of penalties involved with selling the credit? We got that this quarter. Now it’s still, I think if you look at the valuation I think it’s very, very richly valued, but the company is performing from an operational perspective. It’s really tough to see much to criticize here. I think there’s a really strong report from Tesla if you want to look out into the future, still developing the Berlin factory in Germany, still developing the factory in Texas. Both of those are going to be developing model-wise, still pushing the timeline back somewhat for Cybertruck and the semi part of that is they cited supply chain issues. Part of that is, you got to have batteries to support all these programs. With record deliveries, there’s lots of demand for the three and the why and things like that. What jumped out here for future projects for Tesla and things to watch.
Whiteman: A few things to watch. Again, a lot of these are speculative, but this is Tesla. So much of it is forward-looking. For one thing, the fact they substituted the chips, I think, is great. But remember, this is a company that got into trouble a couple of years ago because they weren’t using automotive grade monitor screens and they had to recall all of that. I have no idea, but that was the first thing I thought of. We found different chips that no one else could find. Hopefully, they are automotive grade that will come back to bite them in years to come. But hopefully, also, they learned from that lesson with the screen. But that’s certainly a long-term watch thing. Also, on the batteries. Yes, the semis were delayed because of battery issues, but this is a battery that they haven’t really shown yet. We got to hope they still seem to think they ‘ll get there next year, but this is a higher power battery. The planned launch hasn’t seemed to go as they hoped, and that’s again using some of these newer battery techs. I think there are still questions about the semis’ viability. Cybertruck, I just don’t know what to say about that. In a way it seems like they are rushing it because of the Ford lightning and some other things, but I just don’t think that’s the same market. I think it’s more. Tesla still needs to get new products out on the market. Their product lineup, by and large, especially in the high-end, is starting to look stale by automotive standards. I don’t know if it’s reaction to Ford as much as it is as we need to get new products out the door and Cybertruck is one that people seem interested in.
Sciple: Yes, we have 4,680 cells under development. We had some real discussion on the conference call. I think there’s going to be lighter, more efficient, cheaper, or working with partners to get these under development. But still in a testing phase, still something that they need to work toward a mass production. A lot on these earnings calls is the difficulty of getting from this prototype phase to mass production, whether it’s for vehicles or batteries or anything else. Still something that Tesla is working through along those same lines. Talk about full self-driving, the launch of that as a subscription, just in this most recent quarter charging $199 a month versus what had previously been a $10,000 option, must go on the call. Talks about what we still have some development work left to do. Says, “We need to make full self-driving work in order for it to be a compelling value proposition.” Otherwise, people are betting on the future. I mean, like right now, doesn’t it make sense for somebody to do a FSD subscription? I think it’s debatable, but once we have full self-driving widely deployed then the value proposition will be clear. I think that’s a really important lever for Tesla to pull. We’re also starting to see more of these other automakers launch similar products. We just saw GM sue Ford for using Blue Cruise because they say it infringes on their patents. We’re seeing some of these other folks get involved in the space. Talk about one other thing Lou as we quoted Musk several times here, we heard that this might be his last earnings call. He’s not going to regularly participate in earnings calls going forward. What do you think about that decision and how normal is that for CEOs to step away from this role?
Whiteman: We’re slacking about this, there’s some high-profile examples, Jeff Bezos back in the day, maybe Rex Tillerson on because some companies, Warren Buffett doesn’t even do it. There are companies that do that. It’s funny because Musk is so out there. Whether you should be on sometimes on Twitter and things. I can’t imagine Musk behind the curtain just not commenting. I tend to think if I was a CEO, these three-month updates as both the finances and of the business would be, I mean, we want long-term thinkers and just three-month grind of it. I bet you mostly CEOs, if they could, would opt out. But as an investor, I’m disappointed because I do think you can learn from hearing just the off-the-cuff comments, the outlook, the enthusiasm. I think there’s a lot we can get out of it. But I don’t know if it really alters the business and if I was a CEO, I’d probably want to do that.
Sciple: Yeah, I don’t think it alters the business. I will say I find Tesla’s earnings calls to be among the most entertaining to read and pay attention to because of Musk, he is always willing to say exactly what he thinks at any moment in time. Maybe it makes the Tesla earnings calls less appointment viewing as they may have been in the past, but we will get plenty of FaceTime with Musk. They’re big fans of these regular events, whether it’s the cybertruck reveal or battery day or autonomy day. One of these others, I don’t think we will stop seeing Musk at those events. But in these more institutional investor focused events, I think Musk is stepping back from that. That probably is to the good for him, probably to the good for the company. Any last thoughts on Tesla before we move on?
Whiteman: But it’s interesting, because this could be and be careful what you wish for. But part of my answer with Musk because thinking it is, that this is a company that a lot of investors wanted to be just a tiny bit more boring and so maybe Musk is going off. That way, it’ll help to just focus on business. But at the same time, this was a really good earnings report that the market just shrugged. I do think it’s interesting that we talk about Tesla’s valuation and all of that. Part of it is that it has just been, it was a meme stock before meme stocks. If we’re moving into a period where it is more just a stock and not that center of attention, I mean all the more reason for them to perform because there isn’t going to be just that wild crazy boost. I mean long term, it’s for the good, but it could alter the dynamics of the stock going forward if it just becomes a stock and not the stock you watch. It’s going to be fascinating to watch I think.
Sciple: Yeah, we’ll see how it goes. Tesla is always a fine company to follow. I don’t think it’s going to stop being whether or not Musk still wants to appear on the earnings calls or not, but we’ll keep paying attention. Lou, one last company you want to talk about is XPO Logistics. A couple of interesting things are going on with XPO. They’ve got a split going on, which we’ve talked about in the past. Also, they reported earnings. Folks are familiar with XPO, XPO is a logistics company. You hear all these big tech companies, whether it’s Facebook or Amazon or Google [Alphabet] talking about how much e-commerce is growing or PayPal or any of these others. This is a company that’s facilitating a lot of that for these companies. What are we seeing from XPO on the earnings side? Then let’s get into the split here in a little bit.
Whiteman: Yeah. As you say, everyone hears logistics blazes over. But as I tried to sell this, not too long ago because this is one of my favorite companies. This is the next big thing in e-commerce, and I stand by that. But first of all about the earnings. This is especially interesting, we’ve all known over the past year that deliveries are up. But UPS disappointed by saying, what if things are starting to slow and then UPS has stock fell, I believe 5-7% after their earnings. It wasn’t a guaranteed slam dunk going in here. But XPO, pardon the pun, really delivered $1.86 per share compared to $1.68 estimates of over $5 billion in revenue, about $200 million more than was expected. They also up their guidance. These are all single-quarter records. Let’s break it down because this is a business as you say, they are going to split between the trucking side and the logistics side. Logistics is e-commerce, we’ll talk about that in a second. But trucking, even this trucking, they had their best operating ratio, which is a look at how efficiently they operate, the lower the better. 81% is pretty good for a trucker. It’s an improvement of 150 basis points from just the last quarter. How are they doing that? Their loads grew by 33%, but their head count grew by 15%. That’s how you do it. This is a company that’s been spending half of $1 billion annually on tech. Part of it is something they call XPO connect. Jokingly, it’s a dating app for truckers, but not that way. It matches truckers with customers. It’s growing. It’s exactly how they wanted to be year-over-year. Carrier growth is up 87%, the customer side, it’s up nearly 100%. This is a stodgy old trucking business, but stodgy old trucking business with scale, with tech can be a real good business, especially with the demand out there with shipping right now and some of the backlog and XPO, that side of it, the boring old economy that’s going to be left after the split, they are really performing almost like no trucker in the business.
Sciple: Yeah, it’s one of those where, and you mentioned boring business, people don’t get excited by it, maybe that explains the reason for their split. We’re splitting off the trucking business which will retain the name XPO Logistics and then the warehousing side of the business, the e-commerce side of the business will be called GXO, will be the newly formed business. If you hear how they’re marketing this company on the roadshow, they’re really marketing themselves as, we are the pure-play out here. We are the company where you give us the big e-commerce multiple, what should we know about GXO? The split is coming down the pike very soon.
Whiteman: The way I try to describe these people is, this is the Amazon logistics for everyone not named Amazon. There isn’t a single retailer that can match Amazon on scale, and that’s their big advantage. But if you combine your back-office, your logistics with other big players, you can match them on scale. GXO is trying to position themselves as basically that. They have a who’s who list of customers, Apple, Nike, Walt Disney, Netflix, PepsiCo, Whirlpool, a lot of others. They are running the outsourced logistics, warehousing for these companies, and there’s three huge tailwinds we’re talking about here. You mentioned e-commerce, you mentioned warehouse automation. Again, this is a tech play, but also even before the pandemic, and this has only picked up since the pandemic, big companies, they do not consider supply chain and logistics to be their core competency. If they could find someone that could do it for them, we are seeing a trend toward outsourcing. GXO is playing into that. If you just look at that business, organic revenue up 16%, year-to-date, it has won $2.5 billion in new business. The business forward number is up a little over five billion if we count the contract renewals. It’s all going to plan as far as if you believe in e-commerce, if you believe Nike, Apple, all these guys are going to need to get product directly to customers, but they don’t want that hassle, GXO is right there saying, “We will do that for you.” Their goal is to ride this wave.
Sciple: I think people underestimate how difficult that problem is of doing logistics for e-commerce, just thinking about the problem of returns. It’s hard enough to get things to the customer, but I know I return things semi-regularly that I buy online, and I know people who do that a lot more than I do. It’s really difficult, not only to send all these packages and have them distributed out to 1,000 different homes, but then have 200 of those homes send it back to you and you have to figure out what to do with these products. That’s what a company like GXO can do and really develop a specialty in that maybe Nike doesn’t want to. Nike wants to be really good at making sneakers and golf apparel and things like that. I think there is a role for a company like GXO when there’s not a lot of businesses out there willing to invest the type of capital that Amazon is to do it on their own.
Whiteman: Yeah. Honestly, no should they. We are first logistics, which you’re talking about with returns, is a huge potential market that GXO, FedEx, a few others, so they are not alone here, but these are headaches that you can remove from the customer. In terms of this is a growth story and why I’m so excited about this, right now they’re on an annual revenue run rate of about $7 billion. I know it’s dangerous to do total addressable market, but right now, by their estimates, it’s about a $130 billion opportunity for outsourced logistics. But if you look at it, it’s bigger than that because as I said, the real trend right now is companies are just starting to take their in-house operations and outsource it. If you add all of that in-source business, now it’s not going to 100% go out, but that 4X that $130 billion market. This is not a winner take all, all these big companies are going at it. I like GXO because of their technology, because of their relationships. But look, this is a company that goes from $7-14-21-28 billion in a $130 billion market, and a market that’s also, mind you, probably growing, they have to get it right, they have to execute. But wow, I see this almost as more of an opportunity than e-commerce itself right now because e-commerce, yes, there’s opportunity, but Amazon is already there. There’s a real opportunity to be that Amazon, that big, tightened player for so many retailers and establish soft there and that’s what they’re chasing.
Sciple: Lou, I know you’ve owned XPO for a long time, and full disclosure for folks. When you look at the split, you’re going to be owning both of these companies for the long term. What are your thoughts on where these new split companies fit in the portfolio?
Whiteman: As of Monday, they are scheduled to ring the bell on Monday and GXO will become official and for every share of XPO you own, you will own a share of XPO and a share of GXO. I’m personally holding both because I like these stories. The architect to put all this together, Brad Jacobs, is going to stay on the trucking side. I think that with the debt and the higher-growth side that there’s real opportunities for the trucking industry to go back to what Jacobs does best, which is consolidate. I think though it is more of a transportation play and it is going to be a foundational element. GXO, I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, but I really do believe. We talk in Motley Fool a lot about finding real market beating opportunities and me as an industrial guy saying, you don’t just have to go to software, they’re harder to find. Maybe if there are companies that can be real winners, market beaters overtime, and GXO, it looks like all the elements were there, and I’m really excited to see what happens with that one.
Sciple: Yeah. You mentioned Brad Jacobs, he’s one of the best to ever do it when it comes to roll-ups, and that means he is one of the best capital allocators out there. He makes the capital allocation decision, I think it’s probably going to work out well. I’m excited to see what he can do with maybe a little bit more flexibility to make some moves in the trucking space or continue to play that story out. One last big story from the past month that we haven’t got a chance to discuss on the podcast is the billionaire space flight. We had both Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos fly to space over the past month. You’d be surprised to look at Virgin Galactic stock over the past month that they had had a successful space flight down 42% in the past month. What do you make of these achievements, private space flight taking place, then also the broader reaction in the market?
Whiteman: This is like the cosmetic example of buy the rumor, sell the news. Virgin Galactic has suffered, but it was up, I think, almost 200% a couple of months leading up to this. We are in a weird moment for this because the accomplishments are amazing and I can tell myself a story about how there were real business opportunities here. But it is still an unproven market. It’s funny now that it’s happened, and the romance or the mystery has gone and you have the astronauts who went along saying, “It’s cramp though.” I do think this is that weird moment where something goes from idea to reality. I’m skeptical of space tourism as a market by itself. I’m bullish on space. I like some of the diverse first-time plays, Boeing and Lockheed, especially Lockheed, are examples of that where you get exposure to space without an all and nothing bet. But I think we’re just in digest mode. That big milestone happened, the excitement happened, and now Virgin Galactic is racing to actually start service and we’re going to learn more about just the actual business underneath the brand in the quarters to come, and I do think the market might be saying, “Okay, we’ll see, as far as the business and not the drama or the appeal.” I think just where we are now and we probably will be until we get more progress from them.
Sciple: Yeah. It’s still a market very much in development. We’ve now had maybe half a dozen people who have successfully paid to go to space, or even the Virgin Galactic. I think all those were employees. We had a couple of folks on the Blue Origin space flights. Still very much a new market, still something where it’s a long way before we’re at commercial airlines, that has to go back to where we started this podcast. I think this is still a venture capital that I bet here and we’re seeing the market, I think maybe evaluate in such a way. Lou, always great to have you on the podcast. Any last thoughts here?
Whiteman: No, I was agreeing with you. I think it’s right, this is binary. If you want to invest in this, a small part of a diversified portfolio, that’s a bit. Don’t put your retirement on space tourism, but it is really cool and it legitimately could work out.
Sciple: Yes. I’m very bullish on Jeff Bezos’ Space Wrangler, a cowboy outfit with cowboy boots to go to space. I was talking with our producer Tim Sparks before we got on the show. It’s like, it went out like the Space Cowboys movie a number of years ago with Tommy Lee Jones and all that stuff. It’s bringing it back.
Whiteman: Can I have a real quick counterpoint on that?
Sciple: Go for it.
Whiteman: Dude, you just went to space? You don’t need the cowboy. Your point is made without the cowboy hat. That felt like overkill for me. But anyway.
Sciple: Reasonable minds, can disagree. Lou, thank you for joining me as always.
Whiteman: Always a pleasure, Nick. Good to see you.
Sciple: As always, people on the program may own companies discussed on the show and The Motley Fool may have formal recommendations for or against the stocks discussed, so don’t buy or sell anything based solely on what you hear. Thanks to Tim Sparks for mixing the show. For Lou Whiteman, I’m Nick Sciple. Thanks for listening and Fool on.
This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.
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