Investors love growth stocks. That's because companies that can consistently grow their sales and earnings at high rates tend to deliver market-crushing returns.
Some growth stocks, however, manage to fly under the radar of investors because they operate in out-of-favor industries. That seems to be the case with midstream company Noble Midstream Partners (NASDAQ:NBLX), apparel retailer Duluth Holdings (NASDAQ:DLTH), and gold stock Royal Gold (NASDAQ:RGLD).
High-octane growth and income
Matt DiLallo (Noble Midstream Partners): The U.S. is becoming an oil-and-gas-producing powerhouse. Thanks to technical advances, the country has been able to unlock a treasure trove of resources trapped in tight rock formations like shale. That's fueled a gusher of new oil and gas output, transforming the country into a global leader.
As a result, energy companies need to invest billions of dollars in building new midstream infrastructure to transport, process, and store this production. Those investments are fueling high-octane growth for companies operating in the sector. One of the beneficiaries is Noble Midstream Partners. The master limited partnership (MLP) expects to spend several hundred million dollars per year to expand its midstream footprint, including participating in two long-haul pipelines that should come on line next year. These investments set the company up to grow its earnings by 63% through 2020.
That fast-growing cash flow should enable Noble Midstream to increase its 6.4%-yielding distribution at a blistering pace of 20% per year through 2022. Furthermore, it can achieve that top-notch growth rate while maintaining strong financial metrics. That combination of a high yield and a high growth rate should give Noble Midstream the fuel to produce significant total annual returns. That makes it one stock that both growth and income investors will want to know.
The market has turned on this retailer
Tim Green (Duluth Holdings): Shares of apparel retailer Duluth Holdings have taken a beating over the past six months. The stock is down more than 50% from its 52-week high, driven partly by a lackluster fourth-quarter report. Duluth came up well short of analyst estimates when it reported earlier this month, and its guidance was far below expectations.
Duluth sees fiscal 2019 revenue between $645 million and $655 million, and earnings per share between $0.74 and $0.80. Analysts were expecting revenue of $675 million and EPS of $1.01.
There's no question Duluth is having some issues, especially when it comes to the bottom line. But this retailer, with just 50 locations, has a long growth runway. Duluth plans to open 15 new stores this year, which will expand its store base by nearly one-third.
Duluth derives most of its sales outside of retail stores, through its website and catalogs. The retail business is much more profitable, accounting for all of the company's operating income in 2018, so it makes sense that growing the retail footprint is the focus. It's possible that the retail business is actually cannibalizing the direct business, which is suffering from sluggish growth and receding margins. But it's not entirely clear if that's the case.
While Duluth being a long-term winner for investors is far from a guarantee, it's a stock that growth investors should seriously consider.
A lower-risk gold stock
Maxx Chatsko (Royal Gold): A handful of gold miners have encountered delays and setbacks while attempting to bring important expansion projects on line in the last 18 months, but Royal Gold has hardly flinched. That's because its a well-managed streaming company, which buys equity in gold and silver production, but doesn't have to deal with the hassle of bringing new mines on line.
To be sure, the streaming company experienced a year-over-year decrease in revenue and operating income in the first half of its fiscal 2019 (the six-month period ended Dec. 31, 2018) after mines underpinning its streaming agreements suffered from delays. But the business still posted a nearly 29% operating margin in that period. It also exited calendar 2018 with $156 million in cash and cash equivalents -- a relatively high amount for the business. It quickly put the cash to good use.
At the end of February, Royal Gold announced the acquisition of a massive silver stream from the Khoemacau copper mine in Botswana. The streamer will pay $212 million in the next three years for the opportunity to purchase 80% of the silver output for the life of the mine, which is expected to last 21 years after it comes online in the first half of 2021. The advance will be funded with cash flow and by tapping an existing $1 billion credit facility.
The deal has the potential to lift silver from 10% of Royal Gold's total revenue to 15% over time. Combine that with increased output from previously delayed gold streams in the near future, a steadily rising dividend that now yields 1.2%, and a low-risk business model, and this may be one of the wiser ways for individual investors to dabble in gold.