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Investors, Don't Expect MercadoLibre's Results to Be Predictable

By Motley Fool Staff - Jul 2, 2017 at 7:04AM

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The e-commerce specialist has huge potential for growth, but it also comes with some significant risks.

MercadoLibre (MELI -3.14%) has been called the Amazon of Latin America, and growth investors around the world are taking notice. But no company is without risks.

In this Industry Focus: Tech segment, Motley Fool analyst Dylan Lewis and contributor Danny Vena talk about some of the biggest risks facing MercadoLibre today, and how they present themselves in the company's financials.

A full transcript follows the video.

This video was recorded on June 23, 2017.

Dylan Lewis: Danny, I think no business is without its risks, and I think MercadoLibre in particular has some things that maybe a lot of investors that are invested in businesses that primarily operate in the United States might not be used to running into. I think the main one there is some of the geopolitical and economic issues specific to these Latin American countries.

Danny Vena: That's true. You can look at several of their biggest markets. Brazil has been in the news on and off for several years, embroiled in one political scandal after another. I think the most recent one involves bribery. You can look at Argentina; that has been embroiled in hyperinflation on and off for years. I think their inflation rate is currently around 27%, and that's actually an improvement, because it was 40% last year. Venezuela has devalued its currency numerous times over the last few years. There's shortages in the country and triple-digit inflation. All of those things give you an idea of the marketplace that MercadoLibre deals in. The good news is they've been able to still execute operationally, continue to grow the business. I think if those risks clear up some, we could actually see explosive growth. For now, you have to keep those in mind. This is a company that has not grown in a straight line. The growth has been there, but seven times in the last five years, the stock price has dropped 20% or more. So, good growth, but there are risks there.

Lewis: Yeah, very lumpy financial results when you're taking market-specific financials and then denominating them in dollars and exchanging whatever you're making on the top and bottom lines. So that's certainly something that you need to keep in mind and be ready for. This is definitely a stock where if you're interested in it, you want to slowly add to your position over time, because the financial results will be lumpy and I'm sure the stock price will follow and also be fairly lumpy. So it's certainly an opportunity to dollar-cost average there.

Danny Vena owns shares of AMZN and MercadoLibre. Dylan Lewis owns shares of AMZN and MercadoLibre. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends AMZN and MercadoLibre. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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