We have all been guilty at one time or another of associating an expensive market with individual companies. Sure, an expensive market means that a good number of stocks are priced for perfection, but that doesn't mean every company out there is near its peak. There are always those with room to run in just about every market.
So we asked three of our contributing investors to each highlight a stock with a long runway of growth ahead. Here's why they picked Wayfair (W 6.90%), Splunk (SPLK 1.63%), and Cheniere Energy Partners (CQP 0.41%).
Hot-tub delivery service
Demitri Kalogeropoulos (Wayfair): Over the recent peak holiday shopping week, someone purchased a 3,875-pound storage shed from home furnishings specialist Wayfair. The e-commerce giant's list of notable holiday orders also included a single delivery of two tons of flooring, along with the thousands of bulky items (hot tubs, pool tables, rugs, and sofas) it shipped across its national sales footprint.
You don't have to rely just on anecdotal evidence like that to believe the online home furnishings niche has a lot of growth ahead of it. Wayfair's sales are up 37% over the last nine months, and its $4.2 billion of revenue in the past year is more than four times its 2013 result.
And it could just be the beginning of a long-term expansion. The share of sales taken by online players in the home-goods sector is still relatively small, in part because it's so expensive and time-consuming to deliver bulky and fragile products as compared to things like apparel and consumer electronics.
Wayfair believes it can help solve that problem with its own shipping network that promises to slash delivery times, reduce damage, and increase customer satisfaction. The cash it dedicated to this initiative is already producing results as its active customer base just passed 10 million, up 39% year over year.
The company predicts the online home-goods segment will expand at a 15% compound annual rate between now and 2025, and its early leadership position should help it achieve more than its fair share of that growth.
A massive untapped market
Steve Symington (Splunk): With its shares up 62% in 2017, and guidance calling for revenue to increase 25% to $1.55 billion this fiscal year, I think Splunk easily qualifies as a "high-growth" stock. It also already has an enviable stable of over 13,000 customers -- including 85 members of the Fortune 100 -- who rely on its operational intelligence platform to derive actionable conclusions from their hoards of unstructured machine data.
But Splunk is only just getting started. At its investor and analyst meeting early last year, management increased its estimate for the company's total addressable market by more than 20%, to $55 billion. And over the long term, it sees the customer base growing to a range of 300,000 to 400,000.
After all, as cloud computing and the number of connected devices continue to proliferate, the data generated in the process should grow exponentially, leaving more customers turning to Splunk's products to help make sense of it all.
That's not to say it's guaranteed to be a smooth ride. Any hiccups in its growth in the coming quarters will almost certainly mean a sharp pullback. But Splunk is also known for its habit of underpromising and overdelivering. If it can sustain its momentum in grabbing as much of its TAM as possible over the next several years, its share price should follow suit for long-term investors willing to patiently watch its story unfold.
Still in the early innings of the LNG game
Tyler Crowe (Cheniere Energy Partners): We're a little less than a decade into the market phenomenon that is shale gas in the United States. With that much time in the spotlight, one would assume that companies and investors have already realized the benefits. Sure, we're producing more, exporting gas via pipelines, and prices are much cheaper. However, what hasn't quite come to fruition are the other opportunities such as liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Cheniere Energy Partners and its parent company, Cheniere Energy (LNG -1.11%), have been at the forefront of this phenomenon with the nation's first LNG export terminal. As of the most recent earnings release, the first phase of the company's Sabine Pass LNG terminal is nearly complete as it commissions the fourth liquefaction processing train as we speak. Even with only the first three process trains operational, management was confident enough in its cash-generating ability to increase its distribution to shareholders.
This would suggest that Cheniere Energy Partners' business has matured to a point that growth could get harder to come by. That isn't really the case, though. Management already has a fifth processing train under construction and has submitted paperwork for a sixth train at the facility. These two alone could increase Cheniere Energy Partners' production capacity by 50%. There is also the possibility that the parent company could drop down its Corpus Christi facility to the partnership once it has completed construction and is generating cash.
With ample supply of gas hitting the U.S. market, Cheniere Energy Partners is in a great position for the future. It has a cheap source of gas and customers with a large appetite for more LNG in the future. With today's stock giving investors a distribution yield of 5.8%, there is a good chance for investors to reap large profits from this master limited partnership.