We're in the home stretch of 2020 -- a year many people are anxious to put in the rearview mirror. Bad news incessantly dominated the headlines, and it feels like there could even be more before calendars turn to 2021. The ongoing uncertainty has investors fearing a second market crash.
The problem is that no one, not even investing gurus, can predict when a crash will happen. Furthermore, stocks go up more often than they crash. That's why it's important to stay the course and keep investing in top companies even in the face of uncertainty. Are you persuaded? Here are three great U.S. stocks to consider buying this month.
1. Axon: The top dog in law enforcement technology
Undisputed leaders in their industries are good companies to consider buying, and it's an apt label for Axon Enterprise (AXON 1.77%) of Scottsdale, Arizona. The company's mission includes manufacturing law enforcement devices meant to save lives, such as the non-lethal Taser, and reduce problems between citizens and officers, such as the Axon body cameras. By offering a comprehensive package, it's been able to sign up law enforcement agencies at an impressive pace, resulting in a 26% compound annual revenue growth rate over the past three full fiscal years.
Don't think you're too late to buy Axon. The company is just starting what it's dubbed "Axon 3.0." Axon 3.0 builds upon the data-centric solutions of Axon 2.0 (hardware captures data, cloud stores data), offering artificial intelligence software to reduce time spent on menial tasks. This reduces costs by making agencies run more efficiently. Therefore, the price of Axon's products can be justified, which could help onboard more new users. Best of all, this Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is recurring, high-margin revenue.
Axon signs long-term deals. And a 10-year contract could result in two Taser purchases, five body camera purchases, and ongoing software services throughout the deal. In short, its existing business is very predictable, and its addressable market is $27 billion -- much larger than what it's captured to date.
The stock trades at around 10 times trailing sales, which is historically high for Axon. But it's a predictable business full of potential and has a rock-solid balance sheet, making it worthy of a higher valuation.
2. PayPal: An unstoppable fintech giant
Fintech companies are popular among investors, and pioneer PayPal Holdings (PYPL -4.93%) of San Jose, California, is a giant in its space. It processes payments both online and in the physical world. It enables purchases, but it also allows peer-to-peer transfers via its Venmo app. And although it operates extensively in the U.S., it has a growing international presence (like in Latin America through its partnership with MercadoLibre). As cash goes the way of the dinosaur, PayPal has all the payment-processing bases covered.
I'm not sure anything can stop the macro-trends pushing the services PayPal provides. To me, the future of payments is more digital, not less. That's enough reason to like it, but here's why I especially like this company right now. In November, it spent $4 billion to acquire Honey -- a browser extension that helps online shoppers get deals. Essentially, Honey makes money by incentivizing the adoption of e-commerce, which only drives more business opportunities for PayPal's core business. And Honey user growth has accelerated since joining the PayPal family.
Like Axon, PayPal's valuation looks historically high at the moment. Right now it has a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 91 and a price-to-sales (P/S) ratio of 12. For perspective, the stock traded below a P/E ratio of 60 and below a P/S ratio of eight for most of the last five years. However, these are backward-looking metrics. The reality is that both the pandemic and the Honey acquisition have accelerated long-term growth, justifying the higher valuation.
This growth acceleration could play out soon, meaning investors probably shouldn't wait to buy PayPal stock.
3. Magnite: An under-the-radar value stock
If you're uneasy with the valuations of the previous two stocks, then feast your eyes on advertising technology company Magnite (MGNI 6.65%). Hailing from Los Angeles, it's now the largest independent sell-side ad platform (SSP) there is, thanks to a recent merger. Media publishers have ad slots to sell -- perhaps as a banner on a webpage, or a 30-second commercial slot on connected TV. These publishers use Magnite's technology to get the most money for these spaces.
One of the biggest risks for Magnite is when publishers develop their own technology. For example, Comcast owns an SSP called FreeWheel, making it the logical technology partner for the connected-TV channels (like NBC's Peacock) under Comcast's umbrella. But Magnite still has big-name customers. For example, in September it reached an agreement with Discovery to manage ad space in select international markets. It's the kind of high-profile deal that could lead to more business if Magnite proves the value of its service.
As people move away from cable and toward connected TV, there's a growing opportunity for Magnite. And right now, the market isn't asking investors to pay an exorbitant price to get in on the action. It trades at less than five times sales -- a considerable discount to some other prominent ad-tech companies. And it has $107 million in cash with zero debt; there aren't many small-cap stocks with a balance sheet that strong. These two factors should provide investors peace of mind while waiting for the bullish thesis to play out.