If you're trying to find top stocks to buy, the bargain bin is typically a bad place to look. More often than not, stock prices fall due to poor business execution, and that's not the kind of company I want for my portfolio or yours.
But 2020 was a topsy-turvy year, and the frenetic pace of news made it hard for Wall Street to process what was happening. And I think this confusion caused some top stocks to simply get ahead of themselves.
The three companies for your consideration today are all down at least 34% from 52-week highs, as indicated below. In each case, I believe the long-term growth opportunities for the businesses remain intact. These are the kind of on-sale stocks worthy of a closer look.
1. Fastly: down 34%
Shares of Fastly (FSLY -1.30%) reached 52-week highs in October at $136.50 per share. As a content delivery network (CDN), Fastly improves internet speeds, particularly useful for accessing streaming video like so many of us did during the COVID-19 pandemic. This has translated into robust revenue growth, up 47% year over year through the first three quarters of 2020.
To be clear, Fastly's 47% revenue growth is an acceleration from the 39% growth it recorded in 2019. But investors started selling off the stock because the U.S. government threatened to ban TikTok, the company's largest customer. The ban has yet to actually happen, however, and now with President-elect Joe Biden soon taking over, TikTok might not ever be banned.
That said, Fastly's fate isn't beholden to TikTok; there's a larger macro-trend opportunity here. According to Grand View Research, the edge computing market is set for a 37.4% compound annual growth rate between now and 2027 and will be worth $43.4 billion by that time. Much of this growth could come from enterprise-generated data. Consider that in 2018, only 10% of this data was computed using edge network systems. By 2025, Gartner expects 75% of the data being moved around to have shifted to edge networks, where Fastly plays.
Trading at around 36 times trailing sales, Fastly isn't a cheap stock. But considering the growth in its business and market, it can still deliver long-term market-beating shareholder returns if it executes well.
2. Beyond Meat: down 40%
Shares of Beyond Meat (BYND -1.67%) peaked back in October as well, at $197.50 per share. At the time, the stock was riding high after a series of announcements including expanded distribution, global expansion, and new product launches.
Some analysts even began speculating that a deal between Beyond Meat and McDonald's was imminent. But when McDonald's launched its plant-based menu in November, Beyond Meat's involvement was unclear, sending the stock falling.
McDonald's aside, there's plenty for Beyond Meat shareholders to look forward to in 2021. Most people know the company for its beef-substitute patties. But in 2020, the company launched new products (like breakfast sausage), and it's likely to follow that up in the coming year with more. Furthermore, it launched in new markets last year like China and Brazil. These could start adding meaningful revenue growth in the coming year.
However, the thing I'm looking forward to the most with Beyond Meat is something called "price parity." Management has set the goal of getting its product prices below traditional animal protein in the next couple of years. Right now its Beyond Burger is the closest. Its price per pound was down 7% year over year in the third quarter, and I expect prices to get closer as the company keeps scaling production.
And once plant-based meat is actually cheaper than normal beef, it could spark fresh revenue growth from first-time customers just looking to save some money.
Many see lower prices from Beyond Meat as a bad thing, assuming profit margins are getting decimated. In reality, they're holding strong. Through the first three quarters of 2019, Beyond Meat's gross profit margin was 33%. By comparison, in the same period of 2020, its gross profit margin was almost 32% and was hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic. As you can see, the company is lowering prices in harmony with production improvements, mitigating this concern for now.
3. Zoom Video Communications: down 40%
Shares of Zoom Video Communications (ZM -0.29%) hit their top price in -- you guessed it -- October at $588.84 per share. The company became synonymous with video messaging in 2020, a useful service when people are trying to physically distance themselves to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Through the first three quarters of 2020, Zoom Video's revenue skyrocketed 307% from the comparable period of 2019 to almost $1.8 billion, perhaps the fastest growth rate you'll ever see at this scale.
With a market capitalization already around $100 billion, I can't deny it's getting harder for Zoom to move the needle. Also, like Fastly, I can't deny that Zoom Video is an expensive stock with a price-to-sales ratio of 50. But investors shouldn't write off a winner like Zoom on valuation concerns alone, especially when factoring in how much Zoom can still expand.
First, it can grow internationally. In the first three quarters of 2020, only 30% of its revenue came from international markets, and management has said this will be an area of focus. Second, Zoom Phone (enterprise phone infrastructure that ties in with Zoom video chats) only just launched in 2020, so it could allow the company to continue becoming more integrated with its customers' needs.
Speaking of Zoom Phone, this is a product its customers asked for, and the company will keep adding new products as its customers make requests. Zoom Video is reportedly looking to disrupt email and calendars like it has disrupted video communications, adding yet another layer of growth potential.
I doubt Zoom Video stock will go parabolic like it did in 2020. But it doesn't have to in order to beat the market. Given its ongoing opportunity, investors should give the stock a look now that's it's pulled back from all-time highs.
Top stocks on sale
Whether it's Fastly, Beyond Meat, or Zoom Video Communications, I hope investors see that these businesses are far from struggling. Each has performed well over the past year and has opportunities ahead. That's why they're top stocks. And considering each stock is down big, now may be a good time to think about picking up some shares on sale.