Growth stocks may be riskier than traditional value investments, but they also carry the promise of far greater returns. A single big winner can make up for what's lost on several failed ideas, with plenty of room left over for creating value and wealth in the long run.
On that note, here are three of the most promising growth stocks on the market near the end of 2019. Read on to find out why you should invest in software development tools vendor Atlassian (NASDAQ:TEAM), online used car dealer Carvana (NYSE:CVNA), and high-speed data storage specialist Pure Storage (NYSE:PSTG) right now.
An online twist on a traditional business
Carvana runs an online service where you can pick out a car from a massive nationwide inventory, then either have it delivered to your home or pick it up at an eight-story vending machine. The company manages every detail of the car-buying experience, from vehicle inspections and questionnaire-based trade-in valuation to financing and limited warranties. Cutting out the capital-intensive middleman you know as the local car dealership results in a less stressful buying process as well as cost savings for both Carvana and the vehicle shopper.
The company is unprofitable so far, but revenues are skyrocketing to the tune of 836% growth over the last three years. Carvana's stock has followed suit, surging 759% higher since its IPO in 2017.
This is a classic growth stock, valued for its parabolic revenue growth even if every conceivable profitability metric is printed in red figures. The idea is that profits will follow in a few years when Carvana steps down its marketing and infrastructure budgets to keep a few dollars for itself. The larger Carvana's revenue base is when the company finally flips the switch into a profit-making mode, the larger the final payoff will be. Until then, the company is financing some of its operations by raising new debt and releasing additional shares in the open market.
If you can stomach the rising debt load and dilutive increases to Carvana's share count, this company looks poised to deliver a ton of growth in the years ahead.
Not a flash in the pan
Pure Storage saw the writing on the wall in 2009 when traditional hard drives served the vast majority of the world's data storage needs -- from personal computers to enterprise-class data centers. This company was founded with the intention of selling flash-based solid-state storage (SSD) products into the enterprise market, even though flash memory chips were too expensive to meet that need a decade ago.
These devices serve a niche market within the enterprise space today because SSD devices are still about 10 times as expensive as hard drives when measured in dollars per terabyte. But spinning magnetic disks can't hold a candle to the read and write speeds of their SSD cousins, and the raw speed increase is sometimes necessary in order to keep up with the data delivery needs of modern Big Data systems.
The company's mass storage SSDs come with further built-in improvements such as a deduplication system and low-level data compression functions. These features allow Pure's clients to get more done with less hardware, which is important given the high price point of these devices. The company also offers storage as a service, which adds a subscription-based twist to the process of managing large data stores.
Revenues are growing at a rate of 28% per year, led by a 42% increase in third-quarter subscriptions sales. That's a bit less extreme than Carvana's tremendous top-line growth, but this company is already reporting positive earnings and free cash flows. The results are nearly at breakeven, but the psychological barrier of keeping the company's nose above water has been reached.
This company's revenues doubled over the last three years while share prices rose a more modest 48%. Pure Storage is writing a more mature chapter of its long-term growth story and could be a better choice than Carvana for investors with a lower tolerance for market risk.
No marketing budget, no problem
Finally, Atlassian is known for its broad portfolio of software development and bug tracking tools. These high-quality systems are available both for installation on the hardware in your company's data center and as software-as-a-service platforms in the cloud, managed by Atlassian.
The company relies on word of mouth to do the heavy lifting for its sales department. Atlassian actually doesn't have a sales force in the traditional sense, which reduces the company's sales and marketing budget to roughly 2% of incoming revenues. Other companies in the software market tend to reserve at least 15%-20% of their revenues for these expenses, and fast-growing minnows can go much higher. Atlassian's lean sales model is a significant competitive advantage -- as long as it delivers reasonable sales growth.
And the word-of-mouth marketing that springs from Atlassian's top-notch software and services is indeed delivering fantastic sales growth today. In the third quarter, revenues rose 36% year over year while earnings increased by 40%. Free cash flows added up to $417 million over the last four quarters, accounting for 32% of the sales Atlassian recorded over the same period.
The stock has quintupled in three years while revenues more than tripled and free cash flows doubled. This company might just offer the perfect balance between skyrocketing business growth and a rock-solid financial foundation.