It's a debate nearly as old as the stock market itself: Growth versus value.
A 2016 analysis by Bank of America/Merrill Lynch gives the nod to value stocks, although both types of stocks have performed exceptionally well. Between 1926 and 2015, BofA found that value stocks outperformed growth stocks on an annual average basis (17% vs. 12.6%).
However, growth stocks have wildly outperformed value stocks since the Great Recession. This is likely in part due to historically low lending rates fueling borrowing, hiring, acquisitions, and innovation. With interest rates likely to remain well below their historical average throughout the 2020s, growth stocks could be a smart place to park your money over the next decade.
The following four growth stocks represent rock-solid companies that I believe you can safely hold through 2030.
In the past few months, social media giant Facebook (META -0.74%) faced advertising boycotts over its hate-speech oversight, as well as a recent report from the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law that accused it of holding monopoly power.
This is par for the course when you're the most dominant social media platform.
Facebook ended June with 2.7 billion monthly active users (MAU), or 3.14 billion MAUs if you include family sites like Instagram and WhatsApp. Advertisers are aware that there's no other social platform they can go to where they're going to reach up to 3 billion targeted pairs of eyeballs. This is what gives Facebook such incredible and lasting pricing power on its ads.
Facebook is arguably still in the early to middle innings of its growth phase. While that might be hard to believe for a company already valued at $753 billion, Facebook hasn't yet monetized Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp in any meaningful way. Facebook owns four of the six most widely used social platforms in the world, but has only truly monetized two of them. This suggests Facebook's growth runway should extend throughout the 2020s.
Precision medicine is going to be the single greatest growth driver in the healthcare space over the next decade, and I have no doubt in my mind that surgical system developer Intuitive Surgical (ISRG 0.26%) will benefit big time from it.
Intuitive Surgical is the company behind the da Vinci surgical system, which is used in a variety of soft tissue surgeries to make smaller and more precise incisions that heal more quickly, shortening hospital stays.
Intuitive Surgical's da Vinci system is the undisputed leader in robotic-assisted surgical procedures. The company had more than 5,700 of its machines installed worldwide as of June 2020, which is more than any of its competitors on a combined basis. Its competitive advantage appears safe.
Furthermore, investors should fully expect Intuitive Surgical's bottom-line expansion to outpace sales growth throughout the decade. Selling procedure-specific instruments and maintenance services generates much juicier margins for the company than the da Vinci systems themselves, which are costly to build. As the company's installed base expands, we can expect a growing percentage of total sales to derive from these higher-margin segments.
Usually, novel drugmakers in the biotech space wouldn't be considered safe haven investments over a full decade. After all, brand-name drugs have finite periods of patent exclusivity that threaten their long-term cash flow potential. But Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX -1.01%) looks to be an exception to the rule.
Vertex Pharmaceuticals is the leading drug developer for patients with cystic fibrosis. CF is a hereditary disease that produces thick mucus that can obstruct a patients' lungs and pancreas. Though there's no cure, Vertex's products for specific CF mutations are improving the lives of patients.
The company's newest approved CF drug, Trikafta, led to a 3.7-percentage-point improvement relative to a placebo in an airway obstruction metric often used to evaluate therapeutic efficacy. It also met all of its secondary endpoints in a late-stage trial. Perhaps it's no surprise that the Food and Drug Administration gave it the green light five months ahead of schedule -- or that, after two full quarters on pharmacy shelves, Trikafta has already achieved blockbuster status (i.e., greater than $1 billion in annual sales).
Vertex's innovation and focus on specific CF mutations will protect its cash flow and allow for double-digit growth potential through at least 2030.
Even though it's been hit harder than other FAANG stocks during the coronavirus recession, Alphabet (GOOGL -1.02%) (GOOG -1.24%) is a growth stock investors can safely buy and hang onto through 2030, if not well beyond.
Alphabet is the parent company of Google, the most dominant Internet search platform in the world. According to data from StatCounter Global Stats, Google has maintained between 91.9% and 93% of global search market share over the trailing year. Just as Facebook is the unquestioned go-to for social media advertising, Google is the clear leader for search-based ad placement, and that's not going to change anytime soon.
However, Alphabet is more than just search these days. YouTube has become one of the three most visited social websites in the world, driving the company's ad growth. We're also witnessing exceptionally fast growth from cloud infrastructure segment Google Cloud, which topped $3 billion in quarterly revenue for the first time during the pandemic-challenged second quarter. The high margins generated from Google Cloud should allow Alphabet's cash flow to catapult higher by mid-decade.