NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA) investors have done incredibly well over the past year, riding the company's hugely successful 2016 to 315% gains in its stock price. And while the company's shares still trade at a pricey-but-not-crazy valuation, it's certainly gotten more expensive, with an earnings multiple around 42 as of this writing.
Furthermore, there are risks that investors can't ignore, including disruption from competing technologies, the seasonal nature of demand from key customers (looking at you, gaming console manufacturers), and relatively slow growth in the company's biggest end market -- gaming PCs. Investors must decide if the risks outweigh the upside for the company's smaller, yet potential-filled segments that leverage the company's burgeoning artificial intelligence capabilities, including the automotive, medical, and data center industries.
We asked three Foolish contributors to offer up stocks to consider instead of NVIDIA, and they gave us three very different companies: A value play in footwear maker Skechers USA Inc (NYSE:SKX), a value-growth investment in drugmaker Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ:CELG), and a very big company with massive long-tail growth prospects in electronic payments giant Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA).
Keep reading to learn why one of these stocks could be right for you.
Great growth at a great price
Keith Speights (Celgene): NVIDIA certainly has tremendous growth prospects over the next few years. But the stock also comes with a tremendous valuation, trading at 42 times forward earnings. If you want great growth and a great price, Celgene might be just the ticket.
The biotech's stock currently trades at 13 times forward earnings. Celgene expects to grow its annual earnings per share by 22% through at least 2020. I expect the company to hit that goal and continue its winning ways well into the next decade.
Celgene's top-selling drug, Revlimid, continues to perform well, with sales growing 20% year over year in 2016. The biotech does depend heavily on the blood cancer drug, though. Revlimid generated over 60% of Celgene's total revenue last year. However, the company's other drugs are coming on strong. That's especially true for autoimmune disease drug Otezla, which saw sales top $1 billion in 2016 -- more than doubling the prior-year total.
Looking ahead, Celgene expects to report results from 19 late-stage clinical studies over the next couple of years. The biotech claims several new candidates in its pipeline that could become blockbuster drugs, including ozanimod, which is being evaluated for treating multiple sclerosis and autoimmune diseases.
No longer stumbling over itself
Rich Duprey (Skechers): It may have been because expectations were so low for footwear specialist Skechers that its recent mixed-bag earnings report helped its stock run up 20%, but there are good reasons to think it might have legs to move higher still.
Revenue growth came in much stronger in Skechers' fourth-quarter earnings report than analysts had expected, and its outlook for the coming year was also higher than Wall Street was anticipating. However, profits were lower than what was forecast, so it may be that investors are looking for it to make up in foreign growth what its domestic wholesale business isn't producing.
Yet Skechers has been transitioning to prepare for the international markets to be the biggest portion of its business -- particularly China, which it anticipates will soon become a $1 billion market. This past quarter the international wholesale business jumped 17% primarily because China grew by more than 48% year over year.
All that is not to say Skechers' road forward will be easy. The footwear business is highly competitive and even leader Nike has run into trouble in recent periods as rivals like Adidas have found their footing again. But trading at 16 times trailing earnings and 13 times next year's estimates, the market is still valuing Skechers' stock as if it has two left feet.
NVIDIA may be a market darling these days, but it is priced accordingly, meaning it can't afford any missteps. Skechers may be looking a little run down at the moment, but the growth in its international business suggests it actually has a lot of room to run ahead.
Mastercard's slow burn could make for good long-term returns
Jason Hall (Mastercard): One of the mistakes I made as a young investor was looking too hard for "moonshot" stocks with great growth potential while ignoring bigger companies. And while I still have an important place in my portfolio for growth-focused companies, I no longer make the mistake of assuming big, established ones can't make for great growth investments.
And there's a giant opportunity in front of Mastercard. Electronic payments are ubiquitous in the U.S. and are a pretty big part of the mix in Europe as well. But on a global basis, the vast majority of transactions are still cash-based. Factor in the rapid growth of the global middle-class population in coming decades, and Mastercard is in a solid position to continue expanding around the world as electronic payments grow with the world's middle class.
There's no denying NVIDIA's incredible run of success -- or the likelihood that its business will continue to grow for a number of years to come. But the company is likely to face enormous competitive pressure, and the risk of disruption in the tech industry is much higher than it is for Mastercard. And while Mastercard isn't going to grow at the pace NVIDIA probably will over the next five years, I think Mastercard will deliver better returns for its investors over the next couple of decades.