Investors dreaming of autonomous vehicles loaded with NVIDIA Corporation's (NVDA -1.32%) increasingly popular chips helped the stock rise a stunning 1,050% over the past three years. That's a tough act to follow, but there are a few stocks out there that might have what it takes.
To ferret out stocks with NVIDIA-beating potential, we asked three Motley Fool investors for ideas. Here's why they think Fogo de Chao Inc. (NASDAQ: FOGO), Cypress Semiconductor Corporation (CY), and Dynavax Technologies Corporation (DVAX 1.04%) could outperform the leading purveyor of graphics processors.
Tim Green (Fogo de Chao): Fogo de Chao isn't involved in any of the hot tech trends that have sent shares of NVIDIA soaring in recent years. But the Brazilian steakhouse chain has the potential to deliver solid returns to investors. Not only is there still plenty of room to grow in the U.S., but the company is highly profitable in an inherently difficult industry.
Fogo de Chao operates 36 restaurants in the U.S. and nine in Brazil, as well as two joint venture restaurants in Mexico and another in the Middle East. Average unit volume is $7.8 million annually, and the company enjoys a restaurant contribution margin of nearly 30%. The high price tag of a meal at its restaurants puts a hard limit on Fogo de Chao's potential size. Management, however, sees the possibility for 100 or more new restaurants in the U.S., and plans to grow its restaurant count by at least 10% each year.
Over the past 12 months, Fogo de Chao managed a 10.7% operating margin. Analysts expect adjusted earnings of $0.85 per share in 2018, putting the forward earnings ratio at about 16. That doesn't seem too high a price to pay for a chain with plenty of growth potential.
Right place, right time
Tim Brugger (Cypress Semiconductor): Matching NVIDIA's recent performance is no easy task, but Internet of Things (IoT) upstart Cypress Semiconductors is positioned to do just that. As Cypress demonstrated last quarter, and likely will again when it reports fourth-quarter results on Feb. 1, it's growing by leaps and bounds.
Last quarter's record-breaking $604.57 million in revenue was a 15% increase compared to a year ago. But what really impressed was how Cypress grew its top line. The revenue improvement was led by an 80% jump in IoT connectivity sales. Excluding one-time items, Cypress' earnings per share also rose, nearly doubling from last year's $0.15 to $0.27 a share.
Cypress has combined several units from a year ago into its Microcontroller and Connectivity Division (MCD) to better align with its IoT objectives. Though memory unit sales eased 1% compared to last year, MCD revenue soared 29% to $373.58 million.
There will be an estimated 23.4 billion "things" in use this year, which is expected to more triple to 75.44 billion by the year 2525. Connecting all those devices -- mobile and stationary -- and capturing the data generated from them represents an outstanding opportunity. And it gets better for investors in search of both growth and income.
Where's the risk?
Cory Renauer (Dynavax Technologies Corporation): Exciting potential gains nearly always come with terrifying risks. That makes this stock a biotech anomaly. Now that the drama surrounding its hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccine is over, nobody seems to care.
Since earning approval for Heplisav-B last November, Dynavax's market cap has fallen around 22% to just $948 million. That's awfully low for a company on a well-defined path to achieve around $500 million in annual revenue within the next several years.
Hepatitis B is an incurable, life-threatening infection, but most people can't be bothered showing up for the third injection of a decades-old vaccination regimen. Poor compliance is a big reason new cases of acute HBV infection are on the rise. It's also why I expect the Centers for Disease Control's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to recommend Heplisav-B and its shorter two-dose regimen when it meets next month.
An official CDC recommendation is what many private insurers need to see in order to reimburse patients for the $230 vaccination regimen. A thumbs-up and a successful Heplisav-B sales launch could more than double this stock in the year ahead. What gives Dynavax NVIDIA-beating potential, though, is an early clinical-stage cancer drug candidate called SD-101.
During an early-stage clinical trial, investigators injected patients' melanoma tumors with SD-101 while they were being treated with Merck's Keytruda. All seven patients who had never been treated with a drug like Keytruda exhibited tumor shrinkage. There's still a lot that can go wrong with SD-101, but this is certainly a step in the right direction. A few more steps could make Heplisav-B a secondary asset for Dynavax and send the stock rocketing higher.