The average Internet user's attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish.
It's been estimated that Internet users have an attention span of eight seconds -- one second less than a goldfish's attention span. That makes speed in transmitting content across the Internet to desktops, tablets and smartphones more important than ever.
That's one of the biggest reasons researchers and scientists are racing toward the commercialization of a super-material with the ability to transmit data across the Internet 100 times faster than fiber optic cable.
But that's not its only extraordinary characteristic. This little-known substance is also 200 times stronger and six times lighter than steel, and close to being transparent. Those are just a few reasons why it is quickly gaining a reputation as a "miracle substance" with the potential to revolutionize multiple industries.
I predict that within five years, this crystalline form of carbon -- a one-atom-thick layer of graphite -- will be on its way to being the vital building block in modern technology. And it could make early investors rich in the process.
What exactly is this miracle substance? Graphene. And it's not just the Internet it has the potential to revolutionize.
Its superconductivity is already being applied in lithium-ion batteries for electric cars that can charge significantly faster than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Researchers at Michigan Technological Institute are using graphene to build solar cells that dramatically increase electricity conversion rates. And scientists have even synthesized graphene with DNA and fluorescent molecules to help diagnose diseases.
Dozens of industries will be affected by the commercialization of graphene. But the question is, how can you invest in graphene, today, and have a shot at its huge profit potential in the future? There is currently no direct play on this super-substance. But one thing is certain: You can't make graphene without graphite.
That's why -- for early investors in this trend -- I'm bullish on a global leader in graphite production. Not only is the company in position to cash in on a graphene boom, it's also in the process of executing a short-term turnaround to increase profitability and earnings now.
GrafTech (NYSE: GTI) is one of the world's largest producers of graphite and graphite products, with a market cap of $1.6 billion and operations spanning six continents.
GrafTech is coming out of a tough two-year stretch that saw its share price fall 24% on slower demand out of China and Europe.
But that's providing a lower entry point to get into the stock -- a good thing in and of itself -- but there are two other reasons why right now could be the right time to buy shares of GrafTech.
The first -- the turnaround GrafTech is currently executing -- is immediate. After slow demand from Europe and China weighed on sales growth, GrafTech announced plans to scale back production capacities to decrease output and tighten global supplies.
Shuttering existing production facilities will also reduce GrafTech's workforce by 20%, which will strengthen the company's margin profile. These strategic adjustments are expected to produce big-time cost savings of $35 million in 2014 and $75 million annually thereafter. That will help GrafTech boost margins and earnings in the next four quarters.
Coming off a third-quarter loss of $8 million, the impact of an extra $35 million to $75 million in annual cost savings will have a huge impact on GrafTech's bottom line. It also gives GrafTech plenty of flexibility to ramp production if demand accelerates.
Accelerating demand is the second (and more interesting) reason GrafTech looks like a compelling buy right now.
In the next 10 years, research firm BBC estimates that the annual graphene market will grow from just $9 million in 2012 to $1.3 billion (an increase of more than 14,000%).
This massive emergence of the graphene industry and demand for graphite and graphite products would create an entirely new market for GrafTech to tap into.
That includes demand from some of the most innovative companies in the world, including lithium ion battery makers, solar companies, medical device and research companies, and traditional industrial customers in manufacturing and mining.
While GrafTech is not a direct play on graphene, it represents the most compelling way to be an early investor in a little-known market with huge profit potential.
Risks to Consider: Graphene still faces a long path to widespread commercialization. Although GrafTech would benefit from a boom in the graphene industry, in its current form it is a leveraged play on global economic growth, particularly in China. Any weakness in global economic growth would weigh on demand for steel-input graphite and earnings.
Action to Take --> Graphene looks like a miracle substance with the potential to revolutionize Internet traffic and other industrial applications. That's why I'm bullish on GrafTech, a global leader in graphite and graphite products. In the short run, the company is executing a turnaround strategy to increase profitability and earnings. But in the long run, as the global graphene market is expected to grow 64% annually for the next 10 years, the company is in position to tap into an entire new market.
This article was originally published at InvestingAnswers.com:
Shocking Prediction: This 'Miracle Substance' Market Could Grow By More Than 14,000%