Growth stocks can be exciting, but they can also be risky. So we asked a handful of your fellow investors here at The Motley Fool to clue us in on some stocks that combine high growth with limited risk.
Read on to see why they like memory-chip maker Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU), wine and beer producer Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ), and real estate marketplace Zillow Group (NASDAQ:Z) (NASDAQ:ZG) right now.
A brewer that keeps bubbling higher
Jeremy Bowman (Constellation Brands): On the surface, Constellation Brands may not seem like a growth stock, as alcohol as generally a slow-growth category. In fact, the seller of beer, wine, and spirits didn't even grow revenue in its most recent quarter, though that was due to the sale of its Canadian wine business.
Constellation has made a series of smart acquisitions in recent years, such as taking over the rights to distribute Modelo Group beers including Corona inside the U.S., and, more recently, taking a stake in Canadian marijuana grower Canopy Growth, giving it exposure to the fast-growing marijuana market. Recreational pot is already set to become legal in Canada, and if the U.S. eventually follows suit, Constellation could have access to a market as big as alcohol. Over the last five years, the stock has jumped more than 400%, largely due to steadily increasing profits from the Modelo deal, but the company should have more gains ahead.
In Constellation's most recent quarter, its beer category remained strong, with 8% sales growth and a 17% operating income increase. The company has also made a move into craft beer, acquiring Ballast Point in 2015, and as well as craft whiskey, with its purchase of High West Whiskey. It's shifting its focus to premium products. Adjusted earnings per share is expected to grow 25% this fiscal year, and I'd expect the company to deliver more growth as it makes acquisitions, drives Mexican beer sales, and capitalizes on the recent tax reform law.
Throw in the potential upside from marijuana, and there are a lot of reasons to bet on the company's long-term growth.
Don't forget this undervalued memory-chip maker
Anders Bylund (Micron Technology): The memory-chip market has settled down significantly in recent years. Several rounds of consolidation, triggered by brutal price wars in the past, created a trio of dominant suppliers with the clout and fiscal discipline to keep street prices healthy and stable. Micron Technology is one of these three survivors, and its investors have pocketed an 80% return over the last 52 weeks.
That's not nearly enough. Micron's shares have plenty of soaring left to do.
You see, market makers are acting as if another price war is inevitable. Micron's stock is trading at bargain-basement prices. You can buy shares today for less than seven times trailing earnings and five times forward estimates.
If you prefer cash-based valuation measures, Micron also trades at nine times its trailing free cash flow. Plugging the company's data into a discounted cash flow calculator, with $6.99 of trailing earnings per share and an estimated five-year growth rate of 27%, you'll find that the stock should be worth something like $178 per share.
Actual share price today: $49.30.
The stock could triple in value without breaking a sweat. Getting Micron up to reasonable P/E ratios might take a while, because it requires investors to forgive that long and rocky history of cyclical operations and stormy price wars. But that's where Micron is going in the long run.
Disrupting real estate
Travis Hoium (Zillow Group): Real estate is a business worth hundreds of billions of dollars, and I would argue it's in dire need of disruption. Real estate agents hold an unusual amount of power and both buyers and sellers are reliant on the existing ecosystem that's far from transparent for non-real estate agents. Zillow has been the one company to disrupt the real estate market by bringing more information than ever before to buyers and giving sellers data about what their house might be worth.
The revenue strategy for Zillow right now is to sell premier advertising space to agents and connect them with buyers and sellers. In that respect, it's leveraging the existing real estate ecosystem, not upending it. As long as Zillow is proving it provides value to those agents, it can grow revenue and build a national, or worldwide, presence in real estate, taking a small chunk of the revenue generated in every market.
As you can see above, the strategy has worked: Revenue has jumped over the last decade, including 164% growth over the past three years.
What I really like about Zillow's business is the optionality it has for future growth. Zillow can continue to be a leading advertising space for real estate agents, building technology and services that make their lives easier. Or it could get into directly connecting real estate buyers and sellers through a listing platform even the real estate agents' multiple listing service (MLS) would have a hard time competing with. Getting directly into real estate is something management has avoided, but the strategy could change if the opportunity arrises.
Given the expansion we've already seen at Zillow and its opportunities in the future, this is a growth stock I think investors can buy now. Disruption is badly needed in real estate, and no company is better positioned to do that than Zillow.