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These 2 Stocks Are Buys After February's Coronavirus Sell-Off

By Daniel Sparks - Mar 5, 2020 at 7:05AM

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These fast-growing tech stocks shouldn't have sold off as sharply as they did.

The coronavirus sell-off in late February took with it companies from many different industries. This has created some buying opportunities for opportunistic investors.

There may be some merit to concerns about how the virus' outbreak may impact some companies such as those in travel industries or those with impacted supply chains. But there are many companies that may see little to no negative impact from the virus yet their shares have taken a beating. Edge computing company Fastly (FSLY -1.96%) and digital ad buying specialist The Trade Desk (TTD -1.83%) are two examples of stocks that took a hit amid the coronavirus yet have fast-growing underlying businesses unlikely to be adversely affected in any major way.

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Edge computing company Fastly reported stellar fourth-quarter results last month. Yet its great performance was quickly buried by headlines about the spread of the coronavirus and a subsequent market sell-off.

The company reported its fourth-quarter results after market close on Thursday, Feb. 20 and the market began its decline the following day. The S&P 500 proceeded to fall 12% between Feb. 21 and Feb. 28. Shares of Fastly were hit even harder over this timeframe, falling 20%.

But investors should revisit the fourth-quarter performance Fastly reported on Feb. 20. The tech company's fourth-quarter revenue growth rate accelerated, rising 44% year over year -- up from 35% growth in Q3. Further, Fastly's dollar-based net expansion rate, a measure of existing customers' increased spend with the company, accelerated from 135% growth in Q3 to 136% growth in Q4. 

While much of Fastly's decline following its earnings report was likely due to a broader pullback in the overall market amid the coronavirus, some investors may have also been concerned with an announcement that the company's founder and CEO Artur Bergman was handing the reigns over to Joshua Bixby, the company's President, and was taking on a full-time role as Fastly's chief architect and executive chairperson. The move, Bergman said, would enable him to focus more on product, technology, and customers during a time he believes is an inflection point for the company

In Fastly's earnings call, CFO Adriel Lares said the company hadn't seen a material impact on its business from the coronavirus. While Lares noted that it's always possible that the virus could have a negative impact on its supply chain, the CFO also said that it could also lead to greater internet usage. Since the company operates a business model that charges customers by usage of its infrastructure, this would be a boon for revenue. 

Shares have recovered some February's coronavirus sell-off but they are still down a total of 13% since Feb. 20.

The Trade Desk

Shares of The Trade Desk were falling just as rapidly as Fastly's amid the coronavirus sell-off last month. But a fourth-quarter update on Feb. 27 that included quarterly results and guidance that blew away expectations helped the stock recover some of its lost ground. Shares are down a total of 12% since Feb. 20.

Revenue in The Trade Desk's fourth quarter jumped 35% year over year to $215.9 million as net income climbed from $39.4 million to $50.9 million. But what was even more impressive was the company's guidance. Management guided for its first-quarter year-over-year revenue growth rate to accelerate to 39%. In addition, The Trade Desk expects growth in total gross ad spend on its platform for the full year to accelerate compared to growth in 2019.

The Trade Desk impressively said its guidance for 2020, despite modeling for an acceleration, baked in some conservatism surrounding the coronavirus. "[W]hile we don't think it will have a significant impact, in the current environment, it's prudent to be measured," explained The Trade Desk CEO Jeff Green in the company's fourth-quarter earnings call. "So we're more comfortable moving expectations up as we go, but our optimism is as strong as it could be."

Both of these stocks' underlying businesses have fundamentals that are firing on all cylinders. Recent pullbacks in Fastly's and The Trade Desk's share prices give investors an opportunity to buy shares. Of course, the stocks could decline further, as the coronavirus still represents a risk to the overall market and to individual companies. But for investors willing to endure volatility, these stocks look like good long-term bets.

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Stocks Mentioned

The Trade Desk Stock Quote
The Trade Desk
$43.34 (-1.83%) $0.81
Fastly, Inc. Stock Quote
Fastly, Inc.
$11.98 (-1.96%) $0.24

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