I have been thinking about the following lately and while not new, I believe there are some important themes to keep in mind that are likely to continue and or become more widely recognized in the coming years. The thoughts below are not ordered in importance and timing is difficult to say. Writing this list out will serve to ingrain these trends in my own mind and allow me to put my investment dollars in the right areas.
1) Peak Oil - there are lots of resources on the web that explains the peak oil theory and any student can attest that the current environment shows clear signs that peak oil is occurring now or very soon. Many of the large oil multinationals are finding it more costly and more challenging to find any new large reserves. Demand is likely to outstrip supply. The US government appears to be going into a drill drill drill program off their shores (reserves they have been saving for an opportune time to tap).
2) Alternative Energy- natural gas, wind, solar, lithium and nuclear are all well publicized viable alternative sources of energy. Natural gas is cheap and abundant, and is a great energy source to heat and or power households. Wind and solar are more likely supplemental sources for the near term until technology and cost effectiveness improves. The auto companies appear to be adopting lithium technology rapidly. Nuclear energy should be the best alternative energy source evidenced by the plans and or construction already occurring in China and other nations.
3) Demographics - baby boomers are retiring and or are getting close to retirement. Baby boomers have presided over arguably the greatest wealth creation era of human history. The last century in my opinion witnessed the greatest human advances in history and forever changed all aspects of our lives. Baby boomers are retiring means that they will have to fund their retirement through selling their assets (stocks, real estate etc...) and will dramatically impact markets. Retirement communities and health-care likely to have a boom? How and when is difficult to say. I think it is also a very opportune time for the young, savvy and prepared to take the reins from the elders. The learning curve can and will be huge for those willing to take on the challenges.
4) Healthcare/Pharma - many of the well known multibillion dollar drugs are coming off patents in the next few years. You can already see the generics taking over. Also, new drug delivery methods is shaping up to be the game changer in this industry.
5) Wireless/Broadband Infrastructure - the current wireless infrastructure is reaching or have reached capacity in many parts of North American due to old and not enough equipment and the rise in data usage. Wireless or broadband infrastructure companies or those that address and rectify these issues will be winners. In many parts of the world, land-line infrastructure is close to non-existent and many people own mobile phones rather, so cheap handset makers should do well too as more become part of the grid.
6) Agriculture - fertilizing companies are well poised to help serve the ever growing food needs of the exponentially increasing world population.
7) Emerging Markets - will continue to lead world growth. I hear many voice concerns on bubbles forming in China's property and stock markets. While I do not disagree, the climbing trajectory of China, India and other emerging markets seem to be long term and even if short term blips occur, we will likely look back 50 years from now and mark these years as the start of the rising dominance of emerging markets.
Any other themes or thoughts you have?