With the year more than half over, the coronavirus continues to dominate the never-ending news cycle. Yet in the face of high unemployment and an uncertain future, Wall Street continues to press on, with the major indexes shaking off the bad news and climbing higher with each passing day.
While bargains abounded several months ago, the recent run-up has left many investors wondering where to put their hard-earned dollars, as the low-hanging fruit has already been plucked. Fortunately, good buys remain if investors just know where to look.
If you have $1,500 in spare cash that you don't need for immediate expenses or to beef up your emergency fund, putting it to work in these three top stocks will look like a brilliant move years from now.
Pinterest: The anti-social media
When it comes to social media, most people will immediately think Facebook, and while it's certainly become synonymous with the space, it isn't the only game in town. Investors looking for a stock with additional upside should consider Pinterest (PINS -1.13%), the anti-social media platform.
The app allows users to "pin" pictures from a variety of online sources to their personal "board," with the goal of motivating and inspiring them to travel, start a project, or try a new recipe, among many other activities. And while Facebook's user growth has slowed considerably from its early days, Pinterest is just getting started.
In the first quarter, Pinterest's monthly active users (MAUs) grew by 76 million, up 26% year over year, bringing the total to 367 million, driven by new all-time highs in both the U.S. and in international markets.
It's the opportunity outside our borders that should have investors most excited, as international MAUs grew 34%. The average revenue per user (ARPU) is considerably lower overseas than it is in the U.S., clocking in at $0.13 and $2.66, respectively, giving Pinterest an impressive runway for future growth.
Not only that, but as the result of the pandemic, the platform has experienced record levels of user engagement, in terms of impressions, searches, board creation, and visitation.
It isn't just Pinterest's user growth that has outpaced Facebook so far this year. Pinterest's stock is up nearly 40%, more than double Facebook's returns.
Teladoc: The doctor will see you now
One of the crucial changes in patient behavior resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic is undoubtedly the accelerating adoption of telehealth as a way to keep people from congregating in waiting rooms. And as the leader in the fast-growing field of telemedicine, no company has had more to gain than Teladoc Health (TDOC -2.73%).
In the first quarter alone, the company delivered more than 2 million medical visits to users around the world, without them ever having to set foot in a doctor's office or clinic. This resulted in revenue that grew 41% year over year. At the same time, total digital office visits climbed a massive 92%. This came not only from an increase in paid subscription visits, which grew 77%, but from fee-only appointments, which soared 263%.
Those results weren't a one-off either. For 2020, Teladoc has forecast revenue growth of 47% at the midpoint of its guidance, accelerating from its 32% growth in 2019. The company is also planning to expand its non-GAAP (adjusted) profits this year.
This could be just the beginning. Many patients are trying out a telehealth appointment for the first time and once they discover the ease and convenience of a virtual doctor visit, many will continue to choose this option in the future. Additionally, as coronavirus cases continue to spike anew in the U.S. and lockdowns return, telehealth will likely gain even more converts.
NVIDIA: GPU of the (AI) stars
While many investors will associate NVIDIA (NVDA 2.33%) with its top-tier graphics processing units (GPUs) that enable the depiction of realistic images in video games, the use of the GPUs has grown beyond its humble roots.
While the use of GPUs by gamers still generates the lion's share of NVIDIA's revenue (about 51% last year), the company's current and future growth is increasingly the result of its use in data centers, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence (AI). In fact, its data center segment (which lumps all three use cases together) grew revenue by 80% year over year in the first quarter, and represented 37% of NVIDIA's overall sales -- and the majority of its growth.
NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang saw the writing on the wall several years ago, foresaw the ability of GPUs -- with their number crunching acumen -- to facilitate advances in AI, and pivoted the company to take advantage of this growing opportunity. NVIDIA is now reaping the rewards of that decision, and its GPUs are used by nearly all the major cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services, Alphabet's Google Cloud, and Microsoft's Azure, just to name a few.
This could just be the beginning. The global AI chip market is expected to grow from $6.6 billion in 2018 to $91.2 billion by 2025, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 45%, according to a report by Allied Market Research. As the leader in the space, this illustrates the magnitude of the opportunity ahead for NVIDIA.
Winners keep winning
Those with at least a passing interest in science may recall Newton's first law of motion: An object in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. Sometimes that's how it works in investing as well.
Each of these companies has beat the broader market so far this year and given the solid upward trajectory and tailwinds to keep them moving, it's entirely possible that the success they generated so far in 2020 will continue in the years, and perhaps decades, to come.