Growth stocks are all the rage on Wall Street right now.
Aug. 13, 2020
What a tale of two markets 2020 has turned out to be. During the first quarter, investors endured the fastest bear-market nosedive in history, with the benchmark S&P 500 shedding 34% of its value in less than five weeks. This was followed by the strongest quarterly rally in 22 years, and has been backed up by more than 30 record-closing highs for the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite. To say that volatility has been off the charts would be a gross understatement.
Then again, volatility is actually the friend of long-term investors. That’s because it usually results in great stocks being priced at a discount, thereby allowing patient investors the opportunity to swoop in and buy innovative companies on the cheap.
In particular, we’ve witnessed high-growth stocks soar during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) rebound. Seemingly, the faster the sales growth, the more robust the returns have been of late.
The thing is, bargains still abound if your time horizon is at least five to 10 years. If you’ve got $1,000 in spare cash that won’t be needed to pay bills or cover emergencies, then you have more than enough to invest in the following ultra-high-growth stocks, all of which are growing sales by at least 100%.
Wall Street and investors expect strong sales growth from start-up companies and even small-caps. But when you get sales growth of as much as 155% in 2020 (based on the high-end of the current consensus) from a company with a $64 billion market cap (as of Wednesday, August 5), that’s insane! And it’s precisely why Square (NYSE:SQ) is still incredibly cheap, even after more than tripling off of its March lows.
Last week, Square lifted the hood on its second-quarter results, and the company did not disappoint. Its $1.92 billion in total revenue was nearly $800 million more than what Wall Street was expecting. Even though $875 million of this was tied to bitcoin exchange, it’s still very impressive, especially when you consider that this was done during the height of the coronavirus lockdowns.
Similar to the first quarter, Square reported that 52% of its gross payment volume (GPV) within its seller ecosystem was derived from large businesses — i.e., a business that generates at least $125,000 in annualized GPV. Though Square is traditionally known as a payment facilitator for small businesses, its increased presence among larger enterprises in an economy that’s built around consumption appears to be a formula that’ll lead to a significant increase in fee collection from merchants.
Even more exciting was how well Cash App did during the second quarter. The company’s peer-to-peer payment platform now has 30 million monthly active users (MAU), which is up from 7 million MAUs 2.5 years ago. Further, the 7 million Cash Card members increased their spending by nearly 50% quarter over quarter. Cash App can generate money from merchants via transactions, make money off of MAUs expediting transfers, and has the potential to make bank from bitcoin exchange.
Perhaps it’s no surprise that Wall Street believes Square will more than quadruple its annual revenue between 2019 and 2023.
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Another high-growth stock that’s both figuratively and literally “growing like a weed” is U.S. cannabis multistate operator Cresco Labs (OTC:CRLB.F). Wall Street has Cresco pegged for 186% year-on-year sales growth this year, followed by another 80% increase in revenue in 2021.
Despite marijuana remaining illicit at the federal level in the U.S., favorability toward pot has improved dramatically among the public over the past decade. This has allowed two-thirds of all states to legalize medical cannabis, with 11 states giving the OK for adult-use consumption and/or sale. Since the black market for marijuana is massive, it’s only a matter of time before these legal channels begin to thrive, regardless of whether the federal government is onboard or not.
In particular, Cresco Labs has two key catalysts. First, there’s Illinois, which became the first state to legalize the recreational consumption and sale of marijuana entirely at the legislative level. Sales of adult-use weed began on Jan. 1, 2020, and Cresco has opened eight dispensaries in the Land of Lincoln. By 2024, Illinois shouldn’t have a problem generating at least $1 billion in annual sales from cannabis, and Cresco is aiming to secure itself a significant chunk of that market share.
The other catalyst here is Cresco’s acquisition of Origin House, which was completed in January 2020. Though purchasing Origin House does increase Cresco’s cultivation capacity, it was Origin House’s cannabis distribution license in California that was the golden ticket to this deal. This distribution license allows Cresco to place its proprietary pot products into more than 575 dispensaries throughout California, which happens to be the most lucrative marijuana market in the world by annual sales.
Cresco looks ready to turn the corner to recurring profitability in 2021, and has an outside chance at hitting $1 billion in annual sales by as soon as 2022.
Third and finally, consider healthcare solutions specialist Livongo Health (NASDAQ:LVGO), which is on track to more than double sales in 2020, and then nearly quadruple its sales again by 2023.
Until this past Wednesday, Livongo Health’s growth trajectory was virtually unrivaled in the healthcare solutions and device space; then things got complicated. That’s because Teladoc Health (NYSE:TDOC)announced plans to merge with Livongo in a cash-and-stock deal — Livongo shareholders will receive 0.592 shares of Teladoc, along with $11.33 in cash, for every share of Livongo they own.
Initially, I wasn’t thrilled with this deal, especially given the fact that Livongo has turned in three consecutive quarters of profits, and Teladoc is about 2.5 years away from recurring profitability. What’s more, the combined company won’t grow nearly as quickly as Livongo Health.
However, I’ve come around to the combination of the two businesses, especially when you consider the incredible growth runway for both companies. Livongo, for instance, increased the number of Diabetes members enrolled in its services by 113% from the prior-year period to over 410,000. This figure only represents 1.2% of all diabetics in the United States. Keep in mind that Livongo hasn’t yet pivoted to help patients with hypertension or chronic weight management problems, either. Its growth trajectory is off the charts!
Teladoc won’t be too shabby, either. The shift to precision medicine has been gathering serious steam due to COVID-19, which is increasing demand for telemedicine services for subscribers and fee-based patients. Being under the Teladoc umbrella will add an extra step for investors to see how quickly Livongo Health is growing, but nothing looks as if it can stop this train.
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