Just because a stock is burning bright doesn't mean it will flame out. Many of today's best companies doubled in value, took a breather, then went on to double, triple, or even quadruple in value or more.
That's not to say that Okta (NASDAQ:OKTA), iRobot (NASDAQ:IRBT), or ShotSpotter (NASDAQ:SSTI) will soar so high, but read why these three Motley Fool contributors believe that -- despite having doubled in value already -- they still have plenty of room to grow.
Where do I sign on? Right here, actually.
Anders Bylund (Okta): As a maker of next-generation tools for controlling access to corporate networks, Okta has just started to nibble on an astronomically huge target market. The stock has doubled in 52 weeks, but Okta keeps a long and clean runway for even stronger growth in the years ahead.
Okta's single sign-on platform supports any corporate networking toll you might care to name, from office suites and file stores to databases and financial management services. IT managers get a simple, central hub for managing access to each and every endpoint for users of every kind -- internal, external, guests, management members who need access to "top secret" tools and files -- in fine-grained detail.
These tools target a massive market, estimated at $18 billion this year and only growing from there. Okta's annual sales of $364 million work out to 2% of that opportunity. You're looking at a future business software giant in its early days.
It isn't a cheap stock today, leaning on negative earnings and trading at more than 25 times trailing sales. That makes the stock volatile in the short run but doesn't take away from Okta's long-term value. If you're not comfortable with buying the stock at these prices, you can simply keep an eye on Okta and pounce on temporary pullbacks. Just be ready for disappointment in case its shares never trade at prices this low again.
Make me a triple
John Bromels (iRobot): Sure, everyone loves it when their stocks double. But it's even better when they triple! And that's just what iRobot has done, with shares more than tripling their value over the last three years (in fact, they're close to quadrupling). In 2019 alone, the company's stock price is up more than 45%.
But iRobot isn't showing any signs of slowing down: 2018 revenue and earnings per share topped even the high end of the company's forecasts. And it anticipates an even stronger 2019, projecting about $1.3 billion in revenue, up from $1.1 billion last year, with EPS in the $3 to $3.25 range, similar to 2018's $3.07.
iRobot is sitting in a sweet spot. It's the undisputed global leader in robotic vacuum sales with 62% market share. Coupled with the name recognition of its signature Roomba, the company has a leg up on its competitors in the space. But robotic vacuums make up a tiny fraction of all vacuum sales worldwide, which means there's a huge potential market for iRobot's products. Even among "high end" vacuums (which the Roomba certainly is), robotic vacuums accounted for only 23% of sales in 2017. So there's plenty of room to grow.
There's also room for the company to grow sales beyond vacuums. True, its current Braava robotic mop and Mirra robotic pool cleaner will probably never see sales as high as the Roomba's. But the market for the company's upcoming and highly anticipated robotic lawn mower, the Terra, is massive. And who knows what the company will roll out next? iRobot is a good bet to continue growing well into the future.
Off with a bang
Rich Duprey (ShotSpotter): Gunshot detection specialist ShotSpotter has seen some wild swings in its stock price, from a low of $18.50 last year to over $66 a share last September, only to fall once more to $26 before climbing again. Today it trades around $39 a share, about 40% below its highs, but also 110% above its low point.
Part of the reason for the volatility is that it's a small-cap stock and the hills and valleys it hit had more to do with the general stock market than its business. It has been growing sales as more cities install its sensors, expanding the number of miles covered. Revenue surged 49% in the fourth quarter, and the company added 24 more net miles of coverage without losing any, which brought the total to 643 miles.
The technology allows ShotSpotter's sensors to "hear" a gunshot, determine whether high-capacity weapons are being used, and if there are multiple shooters; it then transmits the report to law enforcement within 45 seconds.
ShotSpotter has a near-monopoly in wide-area detection capabilities, and with fewer than a dozen cities in its portfolio of coverage, there is a lot of room for growth. Much as Axon Enterprise has a lock on major city contracts for stun gun and body camera sales, ShotSpotter can build on the gains it's already made and see its stock grow further, even though it has already more than doubled in value.