The past decade has been very friendly to growth stocks. After suffering an epic pounding leading to the March 2009 nadir, shares of quickly growing companies have absolutely exploded. Netflix, Apple, and Amazon, for instance, have returned an average of roughly 3,000% since then.
But don't let that lead you to believe you've missed the boat on growth stocks. Below, three of our Motley Fool contributors tell you why Tencent (NASDAQOTH:TCEHY), Axon Enterprise (NASDAQ:AAXN), and iQiyi (NASDAQ:IQ) are three high-growth stocks that could still soar in the decade to come.
Big tech only getting bigger in China
Nicholas Rossolillo (Tencent Holdings): Chinese stocks have been clobbered over the past year. Worries over a slowing economy and a trade dispute with the U.S. have been the primary blame, but the noise has drowned out the fact that many companies have continued to post impressive growth.
One such example is Tencent Holdings, China's largest video game and social-media concern. It could be easily argued that, at the beginning of 2018, the stock was way overpriced with a 12-month trailing price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of over 50. Since then, though, the share price has been on a divergent course with business results, falling 24% year to date as of this writing.
While it hasn't been a great year to own Tencent's stock, the business continues to quickly expand. Total revenue through the first three quarters of 2018 are up 33% from 2017, and earnings are up 27% -- a smaller advance than total sales as the company heavily invests extra cash into fast-growing endeavors like mobile payments and cloud computing. As a result of falling share prices and a rising bottom line, the trailing P/E ratio has been nearly cut in half from the start of the year, and now sits at 29.3 -- a much more reasonable price to pay for a company growing as fast as Tencent.
By the way, Tencent has been able to pull all of this off with minimal contribution from its video game business, as China's regulatory division has put all new game releases on hold while it restructures. When video games come back, and if Tencent can keep growing its other segments by double digits, this stock could rebound in a big way.
Cornering the entire law-enforcement market
Brian Stoffel (Axon Enterprise): Over the last 12 months, sales at Axon Enterprise have grown 21%. That's not bad, but its certainly not the kind of growth you think of when it comes to stocks that are going to "soar." Take a look under the hood, however, and there are multiple levers that could change the growth trajectory.
Axon has two businesses: legacy stun guns (the company was formerly known as TASER International) and body cameras. While the former still brings in the majority of sales, the latter is growing at a breakneck pace.
While there's nothing magical about the body cameras themselves, all of that footage is stored and analyzed on Evidence.com. Police departments pay a monthly subscription for the service. In the most recent quarter, Evidence.com subscription revenue increased 48%, to $24 million -- or roughly one-quarter of all company revenue. Because this revenue benefits from the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, that's very good news.
But that's not all: The company will be coming out with a new SaaS business next year -- Axon Records -- which could be just as lucrative. And here's the kicker -- Axon has virtual monopolies in both its stun-gun and body-camera businesses. Axon trades at a market cap of just $2.5 billion, and I think shares could soar over the next decade.
Don't miss your second chance to buy a first-class company
Jamal Carnette, CFA (iQiyi, Inc.): At first glance, it would appear iQiyi stock has had a rather uneventful market debut -- shares now hover near its March IPO price of $18 per share -- but that's not the full story. The "Netflix of China" has been quite volatile, at one point up 150% year to date before crashing to earth on greater Chinese macroeconomic concerns.
However, what hasn't changed is the company's strong record of growth. In the recently reported third financial quarter, the company reported top-line growth of 48% from 2017's corresponding period.
More importantly, revenue growth came from membership services (read: paid subscribers) rather than online advertising, as iQiyi was able to grow from 42.7 million subscribers to 80.7 million in 2017. The shift from advertising to subscription is more favorable for long-term investors because subscription revenue tends to be stickier and less volatile.
The financial coverage has been bipolar, going from overly bullish to harshly negative, but the company's business trajectory hasn't changed. iQiyi continues to be the best way to benefit from the increased Internet penetration in the world's largest country.
Investors who can tolerate short-term volatility should be rewarded in the long term.