Don't go looking for short-term gains if you want a portfolio that can last a lifetime, but there's no reason to turn your nose up at companies that fall into your lap and give you outsized returns in short order.
Sometimes there are trends that work in a business's favor that can push its stock to new heights, and other times, fortuitous events lead to the same results. The three stocks below all benefited from those factors, so read on to see how Central Garden & Pet (CENT 1.16%), Blueprint Medicines (BPMC -1.45%), and Sodastream International (SODA) could have more than doubled your money in a year's time.
Central Garden & Pet
The continued humanization of pets is driving Central Garden & Pet to new heights. The American Pet Products Association says spending on dogs, cats, and goldfish surged more than 10% in 2016 to $66.7 billion as people splurged on food, veterinary care, grooming, and even spas. It's looking for spending growth to hit more than $69 billion this year.
That has benefited Central Garden & Pet, which, despite flora leading in its name, generates almost 73% of its revenues from pet supplies. In its fiscal first-quarter results reported back in February, it noted it achieved 6% organic sales growth for the period as sales of branded products jumped 30% year over year. Central owns such leading brands as Nylabone, IMS, Four Paws, and Breeder's Choice, which markets the Pinnacle brand of pet food. That's key since 60% of U.S. households own a dog, and 47% own a cat (though there are more cats owned than dogs), and the bulk of the spending that occurs on them goes to food. According to the APPA, $28 billion, or 42% of the total spent on pets, is for food.
Pet parents treating Fido like a baby isn't going to stop anytime soon, which bodes well for Central Garden & Pet continuing to grow in the future. Its stock is up 138% over the last 12 months, pushing it to trade at 38 times trailing earnings and 24 times next year's estimates. That's a bit pricey, but watch out if people start treating their plants like a member of the family next.
Biotech Blueprint Medicines focuses on cancer and thinks it has a novel way to succeed. It favors patients who are most likely to succeed with treatment based on its pipeline of next-generation kinase inhibitors, or what it calls genomically defined patient populations that will respond best to its robust small-molecule drug pipeline in cancer and a rare genetic disease.
In particular, it is focusing on patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and systemic mastocytosis (SM). HCC is the most common type of liver cancer, and in September 2015, the FDA granted orphan drug status to Blueprint's BLU-554 for the treatment of HCC. In January 2016, the regulatory agency granted orphan drug status to its BLU-285 treatment of GIST and SM, and last October, the FDA gave it fast-track status for treating patients with metastatic GIST that couldn't be surgically removed or had progressed following treatment with other drugs.
Blueprint Medicines was only founded in 2011, and it seems to have come a long way in a rather short period of time. If it continues to notch further successes, as it has done so far, it should be able to build a viable pipeline of useful therapies. Its stock is up over 150% in the last year on such encouraging developments, but investors should still use caution since it is a competitive field, and early-stage success has often ended up in late-stage failures. Blueprint, though, certainly seems one to watch.
I'll have to admit I was highly skeptical of SodaStream International's ability to transition from a make-at-home soda company into a DIY carbonated water company, yet it has proven me wrong.
Over the past year, SodaStream's stock has surged 284% as full-year revenues jumped 15% as consumers responded to its marketing of health, wellness, convenience, and better-for-the-environment products. In the fourth quarter alone, sales of sparkling water starter kits jumped 22%, and the important CO2 canisters that represent a recurring stream of revenue for the water company rose 10%. That led to net income tripling year over year for the period, and doubling for the full year.
Bottled water has enjoyed new popularity, and the Bottled Water Association's most recent industry overview for 2015 said volumes had jumped to 11.7 billion gallons. SodaStream has chosen to highlight that as a major disadvantage by focusing on its own eco-friendly attributes.
It was clear that SodaStream's legacy business of an at-home soda company was not sustainable considering the ever-shrinking volumes of soda being consumed annually. Even Coca-Cola recently announced it was going to transform itself into a "total beverage company." Whatever that means, it's clear even it knows the future is not one that fully embraces soda any longer.
SodaStream International did get out in front by changing early on, and though I never thought water would be the catalyst for growth, the do-it-yourself beverage company has successfully made the leap.