With stocks hovering near all-time highs again, it can be hard to find a good deal. The economy is still on shaky ground -- the employment recovery is stalling, and the COVID-19 pandemic is still highly active across the country.
However, for investors looking to add to their portfolios, mid-cap stocks present an appealing option. These companies, valued at between $2 billion and $10 billion, are mature enough to have clear track records, but small enough to have long growth paths in front of them. Keep reading to see why Baozun (NASDAQ:BZUN), Planet Fitness (NYSE:PLNT), and Redfin (NASDAQ:RDFN) are all smart stocks to buy today.
Baozun: Tap into Chinese e-commerce growth
China has responded to the pandemic much better than the U.S. and other parts of the world have, and as a result the Chinese economy is rebounding from the pandemic much more quickly. China's GDP grew 3.2% in the second quarter, and the trough it experienced in the first quarter was not nearly as bad as what the U.S saw in the second.
Additionally, e-commerce is seeing a boom in China as consumers still wary of visiting shops and carrying on their normal daily routines have turned online, and Chinese e-commerce stocks have boomed. But shares of Baozun, a provider of e-commerce services like IT, marketing, and warehousing for multinational companies like Starbucks, Nike, and Microsoft, are still below their record a few years ago, even after a gain of 27% this year. Meanwhile, stocks like JD.com and Pinduoduo have about doubled this year, and Alibaba has hit an all-time high.
JD.com just breezed past estimates in its second-quarter report, and Baozun could do the same when it reports earnings later this week, as the company guided for revenue growth of 20%-23%.
The company's long-term future also looks bright: The emergence of the Chinese middle class and the secular shift to e-commerce should drive strong growth, and its business is moving from direct e-commerce to higher-margin services, meaning the business's profit margin should increase steadily as well.
Planet Fitness: An under-the-radar recovery play
The economic fallout from the pandemic is still playing out, and businesses dependent on social gathering and crowded spaces have been hit hard. Companies like Planet Fitness are still facing headwinds from the pandemic -- some of its gyms remain closed, and many are operating below capacity -- but Planet Fitness is still in a position to capitalize on the crisis.
Commercial real estate prices will plunge as retailers close their doors and vacancies spikes, creating attractive real estate opportunities for Planet Fitness, and a number of rival gym chains have already been forced into bankruptcy, including Gold's Gym and 24-Hour Fitness.
Planet Fitness's revenue plunged 78% in the second quarter, but the company's franchise model has held up well, even with the majority of its revenue disappearing. It reported an Adjusted EBITDA loss of $9.3 million compared to a profit of $76.5 million in the year-ago quarter. Net loss was $32 million.
Those headwinds are likely to persist until the pandemic is over, but the company's balance sheet is strong enough to weather the crisis, as it has $423 million in cash available. In addition to the real estate opportunities and lack of competition, the company should also benefit from the recessionary environment, as its budget pricing at $10/month will attract consumers interested in affordable gym memberships.
Redfin: Disrupting the real-estate industry
The pandemic has been full of surprises, but perhaps the biggest has been the V-shaped recovery in the real estate industry. Home-buying essentially shut down during the lockdown, but it's come roaring back during the reopening as Americans have looked to move into new digs in order to adapt to changing needs like working from home and children who aren't going to school. That trend could continue beyond the crisis as a new normal emerges, with some remote work and some in-person work, and as Americans return to cities or move to adjust to post-pandemic life.
Redfin, the online real estate brokerage, looks set to be a winner. In its second-quarter earnings report, the company said demand went from -41% to +40% in just a single quarter, and CEO Glenn Kelman said that site visits and customer inquiries had grown faster than at any point in the last three years. Kelman added, "We're inside a tornado, hiring agents, lenders and closing specialists at breakneck speed to keep up with demand, but also mindful that the bottom of the economy could fall out a second time."
For the third quarter, the company actually called for a decline in revenue of 6%-10% to $214 million-$225 million, but that was due to a pullback in its RedfinNow home-buying business because of uncertainty around home prices during the pandemic. On the bottom line, it sees strong growth, calling for $18 million-$23 million in net income, up from $6.8 million in profit the year before.
With tailwinds from the ongoing upheaval in the real estate industry, a huge addressable market, and emerging businesses in areas like home-flipping and mortgages, Redfin should see strong growth in the years ahead.