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2 Stocks That Could Soar More Than Facebook

By Matthew Frankel, CFP® and Rich Smith - Oct 4, 2017 at 6:34AM

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Facebook has produced incredible returns, and our experts think these two stocks could do the same.

Since its 2012 IPO, Facebook (META -0.76%) has delivered impressive returns for investors, up about 350% since its first trading day. And if you consider that Facebook's stock plunged shortly after going public, the performance is even more impressive. Since bottoming out in late 2012, it has rallied more than 850%.

While there's no way to know for sure what stocks will produce returns like this, there are some that certainly have the potential to match, or even surpass, Facebook's performance. Here are two that our writers believe could do just that.

Stock chart rising.

Image Source: Getty Images.

Bringing e-commerce to the developing world

Rich Smith (MercadoLibre): The past five years have seen Facebook stock grow nearly eightfold in value, climbing 689% in half a decade. But here's the thing: I think MercadoLibre could soar more than Facebook.

Why would I think that? First and foremost, because of where MercadoLibre (MELI 3.62%) is located: South America, i.e., the developing world. In contrast to Facebook, which has nearly 80% of its assets situated in slow-growth, high-cost North America, MercadoLibre calls the low-cost, emerging markets of South America home. Last quarter, this favorable business environment, combined with a dominant market position in Latin American e-commerce, helped MercadoLibre deliver nearly 60% sales growth -- nearly as fast as Facebook (which grew 70%).

MercadoLibre's stock is following its sales right up, but it still has a lot of growth ahead of it. As the online e-tailer -- a hybrid version of America's own eBay and Amazon.com -- takes Latin America by storm, MercadoLibre's stock has grown an impressive 222% over the past five years. And yet, just a glance at its market cap suffices to show you that MercadoLibre still has quite a ways to go before it reaches the size of either eBay or Amazon. At less than $12 billion in value, it's less than a third the size of eBay and only a tiny fraction of Amazon's price.

Granted, there's no guarantee MercadoLibre will reach the lofty valuations accorded to eBay or Amazon (or Facebook). But with sales growing strongly, operating profit margins on those sales at a very impressive 20%, and analysts predicting annualized earnings growth north of 40% over the next five years, I think MercadoLibre's chances look muy bueno.

An ultra-efficient bank with lots of room to grow

Matt Frankel (BofI Holding): Since going public in 2012, Facebook stock has soared by about 350%. One stock that I believe has the potential to perform this well, or even better, is internet-based bank BofI Holding.

Since it doesn't operate physical banking branches, BofI (which stands for Bank of Internet) doesn't have nearly as much overhead as traditional banks, which allows it to run a much more efficient and profitable operation than most of its peers.

Specifically, the average bank with $1 billion-$10 billion in assets has total noninterest expenses of 2.96% of its assets. BofI's expenses come in at 1.44%, less than half of its peer group average. As a result, the bank's return on equity of 23.7% and return on assets of 2.09% are more than double the industry benchmarks of 10% and 1%, respectively.

Not only is BofI highly profitable, but it's growing rapidly as well, with asset growth of 12% over the past year and a 32% annualized EPS growth rate since 2011. The bank recently expanded its operations to include auto lending and unsecured personal loans, and is now the exclusive provider of H&R Block's tax refund anticipation loans for the upcoming 2018 tax season. With about $8.5 billion in assets, BofI is less than 1% of the size of the largest U.S. banks, so this is still a rather small bank with lots of room to grow.

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Stocks Mentioned

Mercadolibre, Inc. Stock Quote
Mercadolibre, Inc.
MELI
$659.95 (3.62%) $23.08
Axos Financial, Inc. Stock Quote
Axos Financial, Inc.
AX
$36.10 (0.70%) $0.25
Meta Platforms, Inc. Stock Quote
Meta Platforms, Inc.
META
$160.03 (-0.76%) $-1.22

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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