Individuals invest in the stock market for a variety of reasons. New investors often buy growth stocks in the hopes of massive gains. Many will turn to known names such as Tesla (TSLA) or Netflix (NFLX). However, investors may open this position only after stocks like this have become well-known. By then, the significant gains have already occurred in most cases.
To see outsized returns, investors have to buy before the companies become frequently discussed in the media. This typically involves looking for unknown or lesser-known growth stocks making gains while escaping the notice of the financial press.
Fortunately, numerous stocks have benefitted from substantial growth over the last few years. Moreover, Wall Street expects these increases to continue for a long time to come. These seven under-the-radar stocks to buy have both a track record of growth and the ability to deliver outsized returns for years.
Abiomed (ABMD) makes medical devices that improve circulatory functions, including artificial hearts. The company came into existence in 1981 to implant the first artificial heart. However, most of their work focuses on improving the function of existing organs.
ABMD stock has traded since 1987. However, the equity did not begin to trade like other growth stocks until 2014. ABMD sold in the $25 per share range in the fall of 2014. From there, it began a steady increase and spiked to almost $460 per share about a year ago. However, profit growth has stagnated as analysts predict only 0.8% for this year. As a result, Abiomed has since fallen back, and it trades at just over $160 per share today.
Still, with the stock having lost 65% of its value, investors should consider ABMD when it finally stops falling. As things stand now, its forward price-to-earnings (PE) ratio has fallen to 33.55.
Moreover, analysts forecast profit growth, which had averaged 63.91% per year over the last five years, to soon see massive growth again. Wall Street predicts 24% average annual earnings increases for the next five years. Once this begins to appear in the results, ABMD may resume its climb back to its all-time high, and maybe beyond.
Exelixis (EXEL) develops medicines used in the treatment of cancer. In the world of oncology treatment, most know them best for Cometriq, their drug to treat thyroid cancer.
EXEL hit a high of just over $30 per share in early 2018. Since then, it has seen more downs than ups as profit levels have pulled back. Wall Street forecasts an earnings decline of 58.8% for the year. Profits decreased as revenues from the company’s collaboration agreements fell. At the same time, expenses for research, personnel, marketing, and taxes increased. Today, EXEL stock trades at about $16 per share.
However, that drop in profits, along with a downtrend, may soon create a buying opportunity. It now trades at just 14.5 times forward earnings. And this year’s lower profit looks like an anomaly. Profits grew by an average of 86.64% per year over the last five years. While the next five years will not quite match that level, analysts still expect annual earnings growth to average 46% per year over the next five years.
As the population ages, and the company develops new treatments, rising revenues and profits should help EXEL maintain its place among growth stocks.
Five Below (FIVE) operates as a different kind of ultra-discounter than a Dollar Tree (DLTR) or a Dollar General (DG). As the name implies, Five Below sells its products for $5 or less. Unlike other counterparts, it also caters specifically to children and teens.
FIVE stock traded as low as $28 per share in late 2015. Since then, it has risen steadily, peaking at $148.22 per share in April of this year. FIVE saw a pullback over the summer but still trades above $125 per share.
Still, that looks like a healthy pullback as the equity trades at around 34.1 times forward earnings. Moreover, profit growth seems to make that valuation justifiable. Analysts expect earnings to grow by an average of 20.4% per year over the next five years.
Furthermore, compared to other ultra-discounters, the company is just getting started. Five Below operates over 850 stores in 33 states. Despite its large footprint, it remains much smaller than other ultra-discounters. Dollar Tree and Dollar General each operate more than 15,000 stores across the country.
The youth demographic may not support 15,000 stores. However, this implies FIVE stock can still benefit from expansion to areas not yet served and add more stores in states where it currently operates. This and a moderate PE ratio should deliver returns to longer-term investors over time.
Parsley Energy (PE) operates as an independent exploration and production (E&P) company. Although headquartered in Austin, it deals in properties in the Permian Basin of West Texas and southeastern New Mexico. At the end of 2018, the company reported 499 million barrels of proven reserves and production that averaged 109,000 barrels per day.
The E&P sector remains volatile, and most equities in this sector tend not to remain growth stocks. However, PE stock has typically maintained its earnings increases through the ups and downs.
Admittedly, at the current price of close to $17 per share, it trades well off of the late 2016 peak of just under $40 per share. However, twice over the last year, it has bounced after hitting the $14 per share level. This strongly indicates a limited downside to PE stock.
Moreover, the profit picture also looks favorable, considering the industry in which it operates. Like most E&P firms, it reported a net loss in 2016. Despite that hiccup, earnings grew by an average of 48.73% per year over the last five years. Analysts forecast the next five years will show an average profit growth rate of 38.7% per year. Despite massive profit increases, the forward PE ratio stands at about 8. PE stock also trades below its book value.
Given the growth available at a low valuation, investors may have an excellent reason to take a chance on an otherwise risky E&P stock.
With over 1,800 locations spread across all 50 states and four foreign countries, most Americans have likely driven by a Planet Fitness (PLNT) location. Admittedly, investors do not typically think of fitness centers when looking for growth stocks. However, this company has quietly turned its industry on its head. In a world where gym memberships easily cost $40 per month or more, Planet Fitness offers memberships between $10 and $22.99 per month.
Both customers and investors have reacted positively to this business model. PLNT stock, which traded below $20 per share as late as 2017, rose as high as $81.90 per share by the summer of 2019. It has since fallen to a level of around $58 per share.
However, this pullback may offer a buying opportunity. The forward PE ratio now stands at around 31. Furthermore, analysts expect earnings growth to average 25.3% per year over the next five years. With a market cap of around $5.4 billion, and growth outside the U.S. beginning to take off, both the company and PLNT stock still should have significant room for growth.
Pinnacle Financial Partners
Pinnacle Financial (PNFP) is the parent company of Pinnacle Bank, a Nashville-based regional bank operating in the Southeast. This financial institution, which started in 2000 in Nashville, has gradually spread to 114 locations in four southeastern states. It has also become the number one bank for deposits in the Nashville area.
Like most banks, the 2008 financial crisis hit PNFP stock hard. However, since 2010, Pinnacle Financial has made itself one of the better-performing growth stocks. It has risen from just below $9 per share to almost $70 per share since early 2017. The stock has struggled since then, declining to a low of just over $43 per share last December. Since that time, it has resumed its move higher and trades at about $56 per share.
Wall Street forecasts profit growth of 11.2% this year and just 1.7% in fiscal 2020. However, for the next five years, they expect average annual earnings increases of 32.2%. With a forward PE ratio of around 10.5, it appears the PNFP stock price does not yet factor in this future growth.
Pinnacle looks poised to continue its expansion across the Southeast. With a focus on development, a low multiple, and massive profit growth expected, PNFP stock appears positioned to profit investors in the coming years.
XPO Logistics (XPO) has become one of the largest logistics firms in the world. The Greenwich, Connecticut-based company employs around 100,000 people. It serves about 50,000 customers in 32 different countries. The company began in 1989, and it has grown to its current size largely through acquisitions.
Growth stocks like XPO have benefitted from tremendous earnings increases over the last ten years, due in large part to e-commerce. Trading at just over $3 per share in 2009, it rose as high as $116.27 per share by September 2018. From there, it saw a massive decline, falling to as low as $45.73 per share in March. However, since that time, it has seen a steady recovery. XPO stock sells for about $73 per share as of the time of this writing.
Despite the rebound, it remains a reasonably-priced equity. XPO stock supports a forward PE ratio of around 16.5. This seems like a low multiple considering that analysts forecast a 19.7% earnings increase this year. Over the next five years, they estimate average annual profit growth of 25.9%.
This means investors still can profit from XPO stock. Despite the growth, the market cap is only about $6.8 billion. With e-commerce still in a growth mode, XPO Logistics stock should keep on trucking for the foreseeable future.
As of this writing, Will Healy did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned stocks.
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