I'm not a big fan of handing out participation awards, but the investing community certainly deserves one in 2020 because of the way it's navigated through this historic volatility. This year, we've watched the unprecedented coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) shave more than a third off of the broad-based S&P 500 in less than five weeks. The benchmark index then recouped everything that was lost in under five months. That's the steepest bear-market decline of at least 30%, as well as the fastest rebound to new highs from a bear market bottom, in history.
However, wild vacillations in the stock market aren't necessarily a bad thing. Since high-quality companies tend to increase in value over time, short-term moves lower that are emotion-driven provide an opportunity for long-term investors to put their capital to work.
Over the past week, we've watched a number of high-growth names get taken to the woodshed on the prospect of a successful COVID-19 vaccine hitting pharmacy shelves in the coming months. That's opened the door for investors to strike.
If you have, say, $250 at your disposal that won't be needed to cover bills or emergencies, you have more-than-enough to build wealth by purchasing these three high-growth stocks on sale right now.
With its shares down close to 50% in a matter of one month, edge cloud-computing services provider Fastly (FSLY 0.92%) is the perfect example of a high-growth stock that's walked back into the buy range for opportunistic long-term investors.
Fastly, which had proved unstoppable since hitting its March 2020 low, derailed after updating its third-quarter sales guidance in October. Social media sensation TikTok, which accounted for 12% of Fastly's first-half revenue, substantially cut back on its usage of Fastly's content delivery and security solutions in the third quarter. This also coincides with the Trump administration's attacks on TikTok and threats to ban the app stateside. The end result was that Fastly reduced the midpoint of its Q3 sales guidance by $4 million below its previous projection. Since this is a high-growth stock, Wall Street didn't like this adjustment very much.
But if we've learned anything about the post-COVID-19 economy, it's that the digitization of the workplace and online consumerism is here to stay. While it's a shame that Fastly's TikTok revenue dried up in the third quarter, the company still managed to grow its sales by 42% from the prior-year period. This included adding 95 new customers, seeing its average enterprise customer spend increase $37,000 from the sequential second quarter, and watching its dollar-based net expansion rate increase by 10 percentage points to 147%.
In other words, Fastly is having no issue signing up new enterprise customers and is seeing those existing clients spend more. The company's key to operating margin expansion and recurring profitability is through its existing customers upping their usage.
Even with the TikTok hiccup, Fastly looks to be on track to triple sales by 2023.
Another exceptional company that's on sale is specialty-drug developer Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX 3.14%). Shares of Vertex have declined by 22% over the past four weeks and are off roughly 30% in less than four months.
The big drop can be attributed to an Oct. 14 update from the company on experimental therapeutic VX-814, which was undergoing a proof-of-concept phase 2 study in patients with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD). Vertex announced that the study would be discontinued due to elevated liver enzyme levels that were well above normal in select trial participants. Clinical failures have been rare for Vertex, but Wall Street was nonetheless displeased.
However, shaving off more than $15 billion in market value on this failure seems highly overdone, considering the quality of its existing portfolio and the promise of its remaining pipeline.
As you may already know, Vertex has grown into the leading developer of cystic fibrosis (CF) treatments. Its portfolio of approved CF drugs offers quality-of-life improvements for patients and has the potential to generate billions of dollars in annual sales. Newly launched combination-therapy Trikafta generated $960 million in third-quarter sales, which helped push Vertex's quarterly CF revenue above $1.5 billion. At this pace, it should be able to hit $6 billion in peak annual sales.
Vertex also has a handful of experimental therapies working their way through clinical trials. This includes VX-864 as an AATD treatment, CTX001 as a treatment for beta-thalassemia, and VX-147 for APOL1 kidney disease. Vertex has a rich history of success in rare and tough-to-treat diseases, which makes it an intriguing buy.
The sale sign has also been put out for social media superstar Pinterest (PINS -0.59%), which cooled off considerably this week after a big run higher since March. During the first two days of the week, Pinterest pulled back a cool 14%.
The reason for the pullback ties into the interim analysis data released by Pfizer and BioNTech on Monday, Nov. 9. The duo's experimental COVID-19 vaccine demonstrated initial vaccine efficacy of greater than 90%, which means there may be light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. With companies like Pinterest benefiting from consumers being stuck in their homes, there was a major rotation on Wall Street out of high-growth stocks and into value names in recent days.
But Wall Street's short-term worry can be your long-term gain if you're aboard the Pinterest train.
Life returning to normal (whatever that might be) doesn't mean Pinterest's user growth is going to slow. Prior to the pandemic, Pinterest's compound annual user growth rate was a healthy 30%. In the latest quarter, Pinterest tallied 442 million monthly active users, which was up 37% from the prior-year period.
What's interesting is that most of Pinterest's new net users are located outside the United States. This means less in the way of average revenue per user, but more potential to double or triple ad revenue generated from these overseas users over the next couple of years. In essence, these international users are Pinterest's key to consistent double-digit growth.
This is also a company that's perfectly positioned to become an e-commerce mainstay. Its users are willingly posting about the things, places, and services that interest them, which makes these users highly motivated shoppers. Pinterest simply needs to connect the dots and get small businesses that cater to these interests in front of its users.
The Pinterest sale is underway -- don't miss out.