This article is part of our Rising Star Portfolios series.
It's not easy to find the next stellar growth company -- the sort of stock that has the ability to double, triple, maybe even quintuple. Typically, you've got to be able to find some small technology or biotech company that is off the radar, and have faith early that its technology will propel it to higher levels.
Today, I'm doing the opposite. I'm going to buy shares of a $20 billion company, one that is neither new nor small, but one that I expect to go up by 20%-25%.
My pick: Applied Materials
For my Motley Fool real-money portfolio, I'm buying about $1,000 worth of Applied Materials
What are the catalysts?
While Applied Materials might be the 800-pound gorilla on the block, it still faces extreme competition from rivals like Lam Research
Realizing that much of its equipment and expertise could be easily transferable to solar, Applied Materials began offering products for fabricating c-Si solar PVs. It mainly competes in the crystalline silicon-based portion of the solar market, which accounts for more than half of sales in the solar market. Because of Applied Materials' scope and size, it's been able to turn a non-existent function five years ago into a business generating nearly $1.5 billion in sales over the last 12 months. New orders in the energy and environmental solutions segment (solar, mostly) jumped by 190% in 2011, and while solar continues to grow as the global economy weans itself off traditional energy sources, expect Applied's equipment to be in ever greater demand.
In addition, chip makers, which depend and rely on Applied's expertise, have been booming lately. Intel
Quality on the cheap
Applied Materials has one of the best reputations in the industry, which allows it to stay close to customers, anticipate future needs and technology, and then deliver what's expected way before competitors have a chance. In fact, it recently won the prestigious 2010 Supplier Excellence Award from one of the biggest chip makers around, Texas Instruments
A quality company paying a 2.1% dividend with a track record of excellence in a growing industry must, must trade for some lofty premium, right? Wrong. Applied Materials trades for a P/E of just 15, well below its five-year average of about 21 and below the industry average of 19.2.
This year, analysts expect the company to grow by 48%, but the semiconductor industry is cyclical, so expect some ups and downs over the next few years. However, if I were you, I'd join me and scoop up some shares before earnings are announced on May 24 and these shares truly take off.
This article is part of our Rising Star Portfolios series, where we give some of our most promising stock analysts cold, hard cash to manage on the Fool's behalf. We'd like you to track our performance and benefit from these real-money, real-time free stock picks. Click here to see all of our Rising Star analysts (and their portfolios).