Growth has been the buzzword for investors for the last couple of years, as the stock market has defied expectations to continue to head higher. However, investors cannot take it for granted that growth will always be present, despite the lack of any negative catalyst that would take the market back to the bear market levels last seen during the Great Recession of 2008-09.
For companies that display consistent high growth, investors would naturally reward them with overall higher valuations. As long as the growth is intact and there are ample reasons to believe it can carry on, investors need not worry about those high valuations being excessive. Over the years, there have been many examples of companies that have generated huge stock price returns for their loyal shareholders, assuming one had the patience to hold on to their shares.
Here are three growth stocks that could continue to soar into the new year and beyond.
1. Paycom Software
Paycom Software (NYSE:PAYC) is an online payroll and human resource (HR) technology provider operating a fully online payroll system. The company relies on a "software-as-a-service" (SaaS) model where clients pay for an annual subscription to use the software and platform that Paycom maintains. This model provides a steady and predictable stream of income for the company, as clients are "locked in" and end up being sticky repeat customers.
Paycom has demonstrated amazing growth numbers over the last five years. Revenue jumped from $148.2 million in 2014 to $557.3 million in 2018, for a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 39.3% over four years. Net income soared by an even more impressive CAGR of 122% during this period, from $5.7 million to $137 million.
For the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2019, revenue has already hit $534 million while net income is almost on par with 2018's level. CEO Chad Richison mentioned in the Q3 2019 earnings call that Paycom has a very small percentage of a large total addressable market, implying that there is more than ample room for the company to grow at double-digit rates in the future.
Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is the social media giant that has just kept growing and growing. The company has managed to attract a ton of advertising dollars and has managed to grow its two main operating metrics (monthly and daily average users -- MAU and DAU) at an impressive rate over the years. MAU started out at 1.79 billion in Q3 2016 and grew 37% over three years to 2.45 billion in Q3 2019.
The beauty of this metric is that as MAU and DAU grow, Facebook's network becomes more valuable to advertisers, resulting in explosive growth in advertising revenue. How impressive are these numbers? Facebook was booking revenue of just $5.1 billion in 2012. In just six years, this had increased eleven-fold to $55.8 billion.
The net income started out at a low base of just $53 million back then but has ballooned to $22.1 billion in 2018. Net income margin expanded from a low of 19.1% in 2013 to a high of close to 40% by 2018, reflecting the strong operating leverage enjoyed by Facebook as advertising revenue growth greatly outpaced expenses.
With Facebook taking a dominant market share in the social media space and extending its reach to outlying areas of the world, it looks like the company's growth can only continue to surprise on the upside.
Visa (NYSE:V) is a world leader in financial services and payments technology, and its debit and credit cards are issued by major banks and financial institutions over the globe and recognized by a wide range of merchants. Visa's growth has been phenomenal over the years, with its share price rising from its IPO price of $11 per share (adjusted for stock splits) to the current $188, a 17-fold rise over a period of 11 years!
Increased digitalization and the push for convenience are major tailwinds for Visa as it continues to seek growth. For FY 2020, the payments giant forecasts continued double-digit growth in both revenue and net income. The business has strong operating leverage: a 65% increase in revenues from 2015 to 2019 resulted in a 91% increase in net income over the same period.
With a string of acquisitions made in FY 2019 to boost its capabilities in areas such as cross-border payments, it looks as though Visa is well-equipped to continue to deliver breakneck growth, even though it is already a $400 billion behemoth.