One of the most common investing mistakes, particularly among novices, is comparing stocks based on their share price alone. That doesn't take into account a company's prospects and opportunity for future growth. There's also a way around high share prices.
In this episode of Fool Live that aired on Nov. 4, "The Wrap" host Jason Hall and Fool.com contributor Danny Vena discuss why MercadoLibre's (MELI -0.05%) future growth potential is a better indicator. They also reveal how investors can still invest in stocks like this that sport a high sticker price -- even with limited funds.
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Danny Vena: While I'm here, there was a question that came up on Slido that I was going to hit here quickly, since it's about MercadoLibre. LMC 2020 asks:
On MercadoLibre is buying one [share] of a stock like this, at this high-price, worth it to the average retail investor like myself? Of all the stocks that I can afford, this is not one that I foresee as giving me a return or is the high price not something that I should allow to shy me away?
Jason Hall: I think my comments might have partially addressed that, Danny, I want to hear from you on this too.
Danny Vena: When you and I talk, we talk about what the growth ramp is for a company and how much opportunity it has in front of it. We almost never talk about what the stock price itself is.
In terms of opportunity, like you said, at the end of 2019, Latin America's e-commerce sales as a percentage of total retail was only about 5%. Now we have heard reports since then, none of them categorical, that say it has tripled since the beginning of the year and now represents about 15% of total retail. But even if that's the case, look at where we are in the United States. At the end of last year, e-commerce was about 11% of total retail. We're probably up around 15 or 16% now. They're only just catching up to where we are.
Another consideration is the fact that the population of Latin America is more than twice [what] it is in the United States. So they have a much larger market to grow into, a lot of technology to catch up with. They are at the crossroads. This is a company that has much further to go from here.
I would say also never let a stock price dictate whether or not you own it or not. Look at the opportunity. There are so many brokerages now that will allow you to buy fractional shares. If you can only spend $100 a month, spend that $100 a month, or $250 a month or $500 a month, whatever you have, spend it on the stocks that you think have very clear opportunity going forward.
Jason Hall: Yeah. This isn't a specific recommendation, but this is the one that works for me. This one of the reasons I used Fidelity is because I can do fractional investing and it's super-helpful.