Even after the market's big sell-off earlier this year, it has largely regained most of the lost ground and trades about where it started 2018. That means the market remains near its record highs, making it difficult to find stocks that offer a good value -- let alone deep value.
Still, we asked three Motley Fool investors to dig deep and come up with a stock they believe is not only attractively priced, but also offers exceptional growth potential. They chose BofI Holding (NYSE:AX), Viking Therapeutics (NASDAQ:VKTX), and Boyd Gaming (NYSE:BYD).
A high-growth bank with a cheap P/E
Matt Frankel (BofI Holding): Online-based bank BofI Holding has grown tremendously in recent years. The bank has increased its business from $1.4 billion in annual loan volume in 2012 to $5.6 billion last year, for instance. It has also done a great job of diversifying its deposit base, adding new product lines, and establishing new partnerships, such as its exclusive refund-anticipation loan relationship with H&R Block.
The idea behind BofI's business model is simple. Because it doesn't have the costs associated with operating physical branches, BofI can pay higher interest rates on deposit products than competitors while still running a more profitable and efficient operation. For example, the industry standard for banking profitability calls for a 10% return on equity and 1% return on assets. In the most recent quarter, BofI's ROE was 22.84% and its ROA was 2.08% -- both more than double the benchmarks.
Because of this competitive advantage, BofI's business continues to grow rapidly. Over the past year, the bank's assets grew by about 15%, and its deposit base increased by more than 17%. And with less than $10 billion in total assets, BofI is still a relatively small player in the banking industry, so there could still be lots of room to grow in the years ahead. Surprisingly, BofI trades for just 17.4 times TTM earnings -- quite low for a company with this kind of growth.
To be fair, P/E isn't the only metric that can tell you whether a bank is cheap or expensive. Price-to-tangible book value is a great bank stock metric, and BofI's P/TBV multiple of 2.95 is certainly on the expensive end. For comparison, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America trade for 2.11 and 1.73 times tangible book, respectively. However, BofI's growth and long-term potential is well worth this premium.
Can this growth stock double again?
George Budwell (Viking Therapeutics): Shares of Viking Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotech, have been ripping higher of late in response to the growing possibility that its primary hypercholesterolemia and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease drug candidate, VK2809, could produce strong mid-stage results later this year.
The backstory is that Vikings' shares doubled in the past week or so after a competitor's drug with a similar mechanism of action produced compelling mid-stage results that reportedly warrant further development. By extension, investors apparently believe that those positive trial results bode well for VK2809's forthcoming top-line data that are on track to be released in the second half of this year.
What does this all mean? The quick and dirty version is that VK2809 is targeting a ginormous, and largely untapped, market in hypercholesterolemia and fatty liver disease. In short, Viking and other companies working in the field estimate that up to 15 million Americans may already be suffering from liver diseases stemming from elevated LDL cholesterol levels, and that number is only expected to increase due to the rising rates of obesity across the country. If so, that estimate should translate into a monstrous commercial opportunity of somewhere between $20 billion to $35 billion in annual sales for this novel group of drugs as a whole.
Boiling this all down, Viking would only need VK2809 to grab a small sliver of this outsized market in order to make it a tremendous growth driver for the company going forward. Viking's present market cap, after all, currently stands at less than $500 million. Therefore, risk-tolerant investors might want to take a closer look at this deeply undervalued, albeit speculative, biotech stock right now.
A sporting chance in sports gambling
Rich Duprey (Boyd Gaming): The advent of legalized sports gambling is giving a boost to casino stocks, which are looking to cash in on the influx of money that will be bet on local sports teams. None may be better positioned to capitalize on the opportunity than regional casino operator Boyd Gaming.
Having been on a shopping spree recently, and poised to go on another one very soon, Boyd Gaming has operations in eight of the 18 states that have already legalized sports gambling or introduced legislation to do so.
Boyd also just priced a debt offering for $700 million that will be used in part to make acquisitions, no doubt in regions where it doesn't currently have a presence, but which will soon be home to sports wagering.
The reason Boyd is a potentially unique winner is that sports gambling has been legal in Nevada for years, and the casino operator has one of the largest sports books in the state. And unlike the world-class casino operators such as Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts, which derive most of their revenue from China and whose presence in the U.S. is almost entirely limited to Nevada, Boyd is spread out all across the country.
At first glance, with Boyd trading at 37 times earnings and 23 times next year's estimates, it might not seem like a deeply discounted stock, but it also trades at just under 13 times the free cash flow it produces, which would put it close to the bargain basement bin. As one of the top two regional gaming companies alongside Penn National Gaming, it deserves its premium, yet with the explosive opportunity before it, Boyd Gaming is also a cheap growth stock that investors may want to place a bet on.