We Fools are constantly searching for high-growth stocks that will deliver great returns for their shareholders. However, that's no easy task, as fast-growing companies can get crushed if something goes awry.
So, which high-growth companies do we think are worth the risk today? We asked a team of investors to weigh in, and they picked HD Supply Holdings (HDS), Etsy (ETSY -2.94%), and the Trade Desk (TTD 0.43%).
A crafty way to better returns
Jeremy Bowman (Etsy): There a number of ways to find stocks that will deliver outsized returns. Look for a company operating in a fast-growing industry. Find one that has a one-of-a-kind brand that provides an economic moat and a competitive advantage, or search for a stock that has been undervalued by the market.
Etsy offers investors a stock with the potential to capitalize on all three of these. The crafty online marketplace that specializes in unique, handmade products is finally recovering from a broken 2015 IPO after making some tough decisions this year, including layoffs and naming a new CEO, Josh Silverman. Shares are up nearly 50% this year as the company has beaten earnings estimates in its last two reports, and as optimism builds that the business, which has become streamlined and more focused on the bottom line rather than fuzzy mission statements and overindulgent perks, will finally reach its full potential.
In the most recent quarter, Etsy's revenue growth accelerated to 21.5% to $106.4 million, and adjusted EBITDA jumped 74%. The company continues to work on improvements including making search and discovery on the site better, focusing on marketing that delivers high return on investment, and providing better tools and services for sellers.
Etsy is the fourth most visited e-commerce website, and its special position as a marketplace for handmade products gives it a moat against competitors. Amazon.com, for instance, launched its own Etsy competitor two years ago, Amazon Handmade, though it doesn't appear to have made a significant dent in Etsy's revenue growth, which has accelerated in each of the last two quarters.
As U.S. e-commerce sales continue to grow by about 15% a year, Etsy should have a long runway of growth ahead of it as long as its new management can execute.
This industrials supplier could grow faster than you expect
Neha Chamaria (HD Supply Holdings): If you haven't heard about HD Supply, now's the time. This little-known industrial distributor and services provider has grown its earnings per share at nearly 17% in the past five years and is pegged to continue growing it at a similar pace in the next five. Combined with a double-digit return on equity, HD Supply is a solid growth stock that looks set to soar.
The company's core business is to supply maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) products and solutions primarily to customers from multifamily, healthcare, hospitality, and government facilities. That aside, it's also a supplier of hardware and tools used in construction and home-improvement solutions.
In recent quarters, HD Supply has increased focus on its maintenance and repair business in a bid to boost margins. I believe this strategy, together with management's ongoing efforts to deleverage its balance sheet through an aggressive restructuring that included the sale of its waterworks business for roughly $2.5 billion, positions the company for greater profitability going forward. Management also recently extended its share repurchase program and hinted at potential tuck-in acquisitions during its last earnings call, both of which reflect its focus on its core business and commitment to shareholders.
Thanks to HD Supply's leaner structure and emphasis on the higher-margin maintenance business, analysts project its earnings per share to accelerate at a strong pace. That explains why the stock is trading at a forward P/E of only 13 times, less than half its trailing P/E. If the company can bolster organic growth with acquisitions, the stock won't take long to take off.
Solving the advertising dilemma
Brian Feroldi (The Trade Desk): For decades, advertisers used TV, radio, and print as their primary channel to reach consumers. However, we now consume media across a wide variety of devices that include laptops, tablets, and smartphones. That fact makes it increasingly difficult for advertisers to reach their target audiences with their messaging.
One company that is helping advertisers to solve this riddle is The Trade Desk. The company leans on big data and artificial intelligence to find the best-performing ads and then serves them to consumers across a wide variety of channels (both online and offline). This solution is called "programmatic advertising," and it is helping advertisers target consumers like never before. In response, companies are willing to pay The Trade Desk to get more bang for their advertising buck.
The increasing popularity of The Trade Desk's solution is driving wonderful financial results. Last quarter, revenue grew by 50% and net income almost tripled. When you add in a customer retention rate of more than 95%, it isn't hard to figure out why shares have gained more than 80% over the last year.
Moving forward, Wall Street predicts that The Trade Desk's earnings per share will grow in excess of 35% annually over the next five years. With shares currently trading around 32 times next year's earnings estimates, this is one high-growth stock that I think can continue to rally from here.