Growth-dependent stocks have been the market's strongest performers over the last decade. This trend has actually become even more pronounced amid 2020's coronavirus-driven volatility.
The market is more forward looking than ever, and innovative companies in growth industries are posting returns that are quickly recasting premium earnings and sales multiples as conservative. With that in mind, here's why investors seeking explosive growth should consider adding CrowdStrike (CRWD -0.60%), FireEye (MNDT), and Huya (HUYA -6.55%) to their portfolios.
1. CrowdStrike: Nearly doubled its market share in 2019
CrowdStrike is a provider of endpoint cybersecurity solutions for enterprises and organizations. The company's software helps prevent computers, mobile devices, servers, self-driving vehicles, and Internet of Things (IoT) hardware from being exploited as weak points to attack networks and steal or corrupt valuable data. The business is posting fantastic growth and has plenty of room for expansion over the long term.
With more valuable information being transmitted through digital channels than ever before, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that cyberattacks are also more prevalent than ever. Growth for the number of internet-connected devices is creating an explosion of potential new points for bad actors to attack networks. Gartner estimates that the number of enterprise and automotive endpoints will reach 5.8 billion by the end of this year -- up 21% from 2019.
CrowdStrike is also poised to benefit from the increasing need to protect virtual machines -- software that replicates the functions of hardware devices on networks. Multiple trends are coming together to spur demand for the company's market-leading cybersecurity services.
Last year, CrowdStrike nearly doubled its market share, and strong momentum has continued this year. The company posted first-quarter results in early June, delivering a blockbuster report showing very strong performance and hinting at more big growth to come. Revenue climbed 85% year over year in the quarter, and the gross margin for the company's subscription services hit 77% -- up from 72% in the prior-year quarter.
2. FireEye: Strong adjusted gross margins
The 6% year-over-year sales growth that FireEye delivered when it reported second-quarter results late in July might not look terribly impressive at first blush, but the performance should be viewed in the context of the business's pivot to cloud-based software services. Annualized recurring revenue for the cybersecurity company's platform, cloud subscription, and managed services climbed 27% year over year in the quarter. This helped push the company's operating income and non-GAAP (adjusted) earnings per share to record levels.
Adjusted earnings per share swung from a loss of $0.01 in Q2 2019 to a per-share profit of $0.09 last quarter. Operating cash flow for the quarter came in at $15 million, an improvement of $30 million compared to the prior-year period.
Like CrowdStrike, FireEye is posting strong gross margins -- with its adjusted gross margin coming in at 72% last quarter. That suggests plenty of room for earnings to accelerate as the company continues its shift to a cloud-based, subscription-focused business and continues to benefit from increasing demand in the cybersecurity services sector.
FireEye trades at roughly 61 times this year's expected profits, but it could live up to and exceed the expected earnings growth implied by that valuation as it moves forward with its cloud transformation and benefits from demand tailwinds.
FireEye is still valued at just $3.5 billion -- a market capitalization that leaves the stock plenty of room for expansion if the company can take advantage of a very favorable outlook for cybersecurity services over the next decade. The stock looks cheaply valued and is still trading at a 23% discount from its $20 initial public offering price.
3. Huya: Quarterly adjusted net income doubled in Q1 2020
Huya is a leader in the fast-growing video game streaming market. The China-based company operates a platform for broadcasting gameplay footage and commentary, and it takes a portion of tips that viewers donate to their favorite streaming players. Research from GlobalWebIndex suggests that over a billion people around the world already watch video game footage online, and the number of people watching casual gaming and professional competitive esports broadcasts will likely continue to increase and give way to new monetization opportunities.
Huya is already reaching a massive audience, but it still has plenty of room for growth over the long term as it expands its services into new geographic markets and builds out its service and content offerings. The company managed to boost monthly average viewers on its core platform 22% last quarter -- reaching 151.3 million in the period, and total paying users on the platform rose 13%. These additions helped the business grow revenue by nearly 48% year over year in the quarter, and adjusted net income in the period climbed 100.7%.
In addition to its core donation-based streaming business, Huya also operates a fast-growing advertising segment. Revenue for the segment jumped 74% year over year last quarter, reaching $19.4 million -- or roughly 5.7% of total sales. The company has the potential to tap into momentum for esports content and make the ad business a long-term growth driver.
Huya has a market cap of roughly $6 billion and trades at 38.5 times this year's expected earnings. The company's share price has climbed roughly 40% over the last month, but shares still look cheap given how fast the business is growing earnings.