Too often, when investors talk about types of equities, we draw a distinct line between value stocks and growth stocks. On one hand, shares of value stocks tend to sell for less than they're worth, while growth stocks usually command higher valuations because they're delivering outsized increases in revenue or earnings.
But value and growth don't need to be mutually exclusive. To illustrate that point, we asked three top Motley Fool investors to discuss value stocks that they believe growth investors can appreciate. Read on to learn why they chose Nike (NYSE:NKE), Momo (NASDAQ:MOMO), and Acacia Communications (NASDAQ:ACIA).
A global leader at a fair price
Steve Symington (Nike): Nike might be a $95 billion industry leader, but the athletic footwear and sportswear juggernaut regularly reminds shareholders of its growth ambitions. In fact, visit its investor relations page and you'll be greeted with a bold header promising, "Nike, Inc. is a growth company."
To be fair, Nike has had no trouble delivering on that promise. Shares climbed more than 11% last month following Nike's strong fiscal fourth-quarter 2017 results, which included 5.3% growth in revenue (7% at constant currency) to $8.677 billion, and 22.4% growth in earnings per share to $0.60. Within that total, direct-to-consumer revenue climbed 12%, helping Nike offset much of the pain endured by its competitors following multiple bankruptcies of sporting goods retailers over the past year.
But it's also worth noting that Nike's revenue growth was also propped up by double-digit increases in Western Europe, greater China, and emerging markets. Meanwhile, revenue in North America rose just 1% to $3.753 billion, as strength in its footwear business (up 4% to $2.457 billion) was held back by declines in both apparel and equipment sales. To help revitalize stateside growth, Nike is executing a new pilot with a limited product assortment on Amazon.com, which effectively ends a long-standing stalemate between the two companies.
Given its modest dividend that yields 1.2% annually as of this writing, and with shares of Nike trading at around 20.5 times this year's estimated earnings -- an acceptable premium given its strong earnings growth -- I think Nike strikes an attractive balance between value and growth.
Fanning the growth flames with Chinese Tinder
Anders Bylund (Momo): So you want the best of both worlds -- bargain-priced shares of a high-growth business. You should take a closer look at a Chinese social network operator called Momo.
It's a young stock with just six years of operating history and 30 months on the public stock market. But Momo's location-based contact platform has made it known as "the Tinder of China," and the company is off to a strong start. I mean, a truly fantastic start:
Momo is still in that exciting stage where everything is growing faster and faster, many years from slowing down as the core market starts to saturate. The company is also firmly profitable even in this early hyper-growth mode.
In fact, Mom's financial foundation is outgrowing the soaring stock price. Trailing P/E ratios have plunged from 250 to less than 33 in 15 months, and the current valuation is really too low to match Momo's intense earnings and revenue growth.
If dating apps have a future in China (and why wouldn't they?) then Momo looks like a winner for the long term. Sounds like a gimme. Investors haven't quite caught on to this situation yet, so the stock is selling at bargain-basement discounts.
A value stock and a growth stock
Tim Green (Acacia Communications): You don't often see shares of a fast-growing technology company with fat profit margins trading for less than 15 times earnings. Acacia Communications, a provider of optical interconnect products for cloud infrastructure companies and service providers, is an exception. The company is valued at $1.6 billion, grew sales by 100% last year to $478 million, and produced a net income of $132 million.
Unfortunately, there's a catch. Acacia is expecting a revenue decline during the second quarter due to sluggish demand in China. Problems started in April and are affecting the entire industry, with large Chinese customers slowing down order rates. Acacia expects the second half to be better than the first, with the slowdown not an indication of weak long-term demand.
There are significant risks associated with investing in Acacia. The company depends on a small number of customers for much of its revenue, with two customers accounting for more than 10% of revenue each and an additional three customers accounting for more than 5% of revenue each. Revenue from new customers is growing fast, but concentration risk remains something investors need to be aware of.
The possibility that the slowdown in demand from China proves to be more permanent than management expects is another risk. Acacia has put up impressive growth numbers in the past, but it may not be able to reproduce that performance in the future. If you're willing to stomach these risks, Acacia offers a rare combination of value and growth potential.