Earlier this year, when the stock market was shaking off its record-setting decline, finding stocks that offered attractive entry points was simple, even for the novice investor. Now, with the major indexes within striking distance of new all-time highs, the screaming bargains aren't nearly as easy to identify.
Yet for investors with a long-term horizon, buying quality companies with continuing growth prospects can lead to enormous gains over time, without the bottom-feeding that sometimes accompanies bargain shopping.
Let's look at three stocks that represent compelling opportunities that investors can buy right now.
Roku: All are welcome!
While Netflix is currently the undisputed leader in the streaming video space, Roku (NASDAQ:ROKU) is beginning to turn heads for the growing potential of its service-agnostic platform. If fact, some argue that Roku has greater potential in the coming years, since it won't be weighed down by the heavy burden of content obligations. There are other reasons to believe that 2021 will be the year of Roku.
Cord-cutting's nothing new, but the evidence shows the trend is accelerating. In 2019, the biggest pay-TV providers shed more than 4.9 million subscribers, making it the largest single-year decline in cable TV history after record declines in each of the previous two years. The trend continued into 2020, with 3.6 million cable subscribers canceling their subscriptions during the first nine month of this year, putting the industry on track for another year of record losses.
That's where Roku comes in. The company has an impressive platform that aggregates viewer streaming choices, both paid and ad-supported, all in one place. The company boasts more than 46 million active accounts that watch 3.5 hours of television per day, on average. The majority of Roku's revenue comes from its platform segment, which is made up of advertising, the Roku Channel, and licensing of the Roku operating system (OS) to manufacturers of connected TVs.
Speaking of connected TVs, it's been an area of significant ecosystem growth for Roku. The company built its OS from the ground up, and it's now the No. 1 smart TV OS in both the U.S. and Canada, accounting for one in three smart TVs sold in the U.S. during the first nine months of 2020.
While advertising initially took a hit at the start of the downturn, growth has returned with a vengeance. In the third quarter, Roku's revenue grew 73% year over year, led by a 78% increase in sales of advertising. Active accounts jumped 43%, while streaming hours grew 54%.
Given the accelerating adoption of streaming video and the company's role as aggregator, Roku is a surefire hit for 2021 and beyond.
Square: It's not just a dongle anymore
There's little doubt that small and medium-size enterprises (SME) are the lifeblood of the U.S. economy, creating two-thirds of all new jobs and generating 44% of the economic activity in the country. Given those simple statistics, it's easy to see why Square (NYSE:SQ) is uniquely positioned to prosper.
The company is much more than its namesake payment processing device, which plugs into any mobile device, turning it into a virtual cash register. Square also provides SMEs with many of the tools they need to get a business off the ground. In addition to its Square point-of-sale payment dongles, the company also provides tools for navigating e-commerce, social media integration, and invoicing and billing.
Square has also been expanding its ecosystem with the continuing rapid adoption of the Cash App, the company's peer-to-peer mobile payments platform. In the third quarter, the number of customers using Cash App every day nearly doubled year over year, while representing nearly 25% of all monthly users. These are some of Square's most lucrative customers, driving Cash App's gross profit up 212%. The platform also provides a growing ecosystem of products that help increase user engagement, including stock investing and the Cash App card.
Given the growing number of catalysts, it's no surprise that Square is thriving. Third-quarter net revenue soared 148% year over year, pushing net income into the plus column, from a loss in the prior-year quarter.
Given the tailwinds provided by the continuing shift toward omnichannel commerce, contactless payments, and digital wallets, Square is sitting at the intersection of these strong and growing secular trends.
Teladoc: The shift to telemedicine has just begun
The trend toward telehealth and telemedicine started long before the pandemic, but the onset of the coronavirus kicked demand into high gear. The ability to address medical concerns without chancing a trip to the health clinic or doctor's office gained greater significance in 2020. As the global leader in virtual care, Teladoc Health (NYSE:TDOC) is arguably in the best position to capitalize on this growing trend. Teladoc provides app-based video chats with doctors and other health professionals, all from the comfort of your home. The company contracts directly with insurance providers and health systems to make its services available to their members, and business is booming.
In the third quarter, Teladoc generated revenue that grew 109% year over year. Adoption was even stronger in the U.S., where the company is more firmly established. Revenue from paid visits jumped 148%, while revenue from fee-only visits soared 269%. Teladoc's international growth has only just begun, representing just a tiny portion of its business, giving the telehealth leader a long runway for growth.
The increase in visits helps illustrate the rapid adoption of its app-based platform. Visits included with U.S. paid memberships soared 321%, while the number of fee-only visits jumped 318%. This helped push total visits up 206%. Those metrics alone are enough to illustrate the company's growth potential, but Teladoc's recent acquisition of Livongo Health will cement the company's leadership in virtual care.
Livongo provides users with app-based solutions to help manage chronic health conditions, using cutting-edge algorithms to provide customized suggestions that not only help improve the patient's quality of life, but also lower health costs in the process. The company first took on diabetes, but its unbridled success with those patients led Livongo to expand to other chronic conditions including weight management, hypertension, and behavioral health issues, including depression and anxiety.
Prior to the merger, Livongo Health was itself generating triple-digit growth, with revenue that jumped 126%.
By combining the leaders in telehealth and chronic-condition management, the resulting company has both the tools and the growth trajectory to become a virtual-care powerhouse.