If you made a few New Year's resolutions for 2021, I've got some bad news for you -- nearly 80% of people abandon their resolutions by the second week of February. The good news is that if you set some investing goals for 2021 that you're considering ditching, it's not too late to get back on track -- and we can help.
We asked a handful of Motley Fool contributors for their top stocks for February that should make fantastic long-term investments. They came back with Cresco Labs (CRLBF 0.49%), Fiverr International (FVRR 2.77%), Brookfield Infrastructure (BIP -1.57%) (BIPC -2.38%), Virgin Galactic Holdings (SPCE 4.65%), and Roku (ROKU 3.69%).
A great pick to profit from the cannabis boom
Keith Speights (Cresco Labs): I genuinely view Cresco Labs as an unstoppable stock that could realistically double in 2021. It ranks as one of the top multistate cannabis industry operators. The legal cannabis market in the U.S. is still only in its infancy, and Cresco clearly has an early mover advantage in a number of key states.
Cresco currently operates in nine states. These include its home state of Illinois, which boasts a fast-growing recreational marijuana market, and California, the biggest legal cannabis market in the U.S. Cresco has a great growth runway in these markets alone.
However, the company isn't limiting its sights. It recently announced plans to acquire Bluma Wellness, which will enable it to enter Florida's rapidly expanding medical cannabis market. New York appears to be headed toward legalizing recreational pot. Cresco already has four medical cannabis dispensaries in the state and would almost certainly jump into the lucrative recreational market if the Empire State moves forward with broader legalization.
These growth opportunities will be major catalysts for Cresco this year, in my opinion. But let's talk politics for a minute. With Democrats in control of both chambers of Congress and the White House, the prospects for significant federal cannabis reform are better than ever.
I expect that legislation will be enacted that will give cannabis companies access to traditional banking services. I also look for marijuana to be decriminalized at the federal level, which would pave the way for Cresco to list its shares on a major U.S. stock exchange. Both of these developments would be huge for the company and its stock.
Cresco generates revenues similar to several of its top peers, but its market cap is much smaller. I don't think that valuation gap will persist for much longer.
High five for profit potential
Brian Feroldi (Fiverr International): COVID-19 accelerated a lot of trends that were already underway, including the rise of the "gig economy." Fiverr International -- a leading platform that connects freelance workers with companies -- has taken full advantage of the surge in demand.
In 2020's third quarter, the number of active buyers on Fiverr's platform grew by 37% to 3.1 million. Better yet, the average customer spent 20% more during the period than they did in the prior year. Factor in a slightly higher take rate, and Fiverr's total revenue grew 88% to $52.3 million.
The huge sales leverage produced strong results throughout the rest of the income statement. The gross margin increased to more than 83%. Expense rose across the board, but the company still cranked out almost $5 million in adjusted net income. That was a nice improvement from losses it booked in the year-ago period.
Fiverr management thinks the momentum will continue, and forecast that revenue would grow by at least 77% in the fourth quarter. Results for that period are due to be delivered on Feb. 18.
There are reasons to believe that Fiverr is still just getting warmed up. Management believes that its U.S. opportunity alone is $115 billion. That's a massive number when compared to the $187 million or so that it anticipated generating in 2020.
Fiverr's stock isn't cheap -- shares are trading for nearly 50 times sales and more than 700 times 2021's earnings estimates -- but I think this high-quality business is worth the premium. If I'm right, this company cloud easily deliver multibagger returns from here.
A massive -- and safe -- wealth-building opportunity hiding in plain sight
Jason Hall (Brookfield Infrastructure): Investors are constantly looking for an edge -- a habit that can lead to trend-chasing. Over the past year alone, we've seen traders pile hundreds of billions of dollars into electric vehicle makers and clean energy stocks, "work from home" stocks, and most recently, "break the short-selling hedge fund" stocks.
One result of this trend-chasing is that far too many people end up missing out on some of the best stocks you can buy and hold. These are companies that have delivered market-crushing returns for years, and that most people have never even heard of.
One of my favorites in that category is Brookfield Infrastructure. This wonderful business (trading under the ticker "BIP" as a limited partnership and under "BIPC" as a corporation) has delivered almost 690% in total returns since it went public in January 2008. That's nearly triple the S&P 500 in total returns over the past 13 years. It's also crushed a basket of "safe" utility stocks, as represented by the Vanguard Utilities ETF (NYSEMKT: VPU).
It owns utility-like assets including water, natural gas, electrical, transportation, and telecommunications infrastructure that deliver reliable cash flows in any economic environment, and it has been executing a global growth strategy. The result has been enormous dividend growth and capital appreciation for long-term investors. Yet the stock continues to fly under the radar.
And its best days could be ahead. The global middle class is growing, and it will require the deployment of trillions of dollars to build out enough infrastructure to serve its needs. With assets on almost every continent already, Brookfield Infrastructure has the experience and expertise to be a huge winner from this mega-trend. That makes it my top stock, whether you're looking for income, growth, or both.
Prepare for liftoff
Dan Caplinger (Virgin Galactic Holdings): It's always hard for a small company with big aspirations to get off the ground, and Virgin Galactic Holdings has encountered its fair share of challenges. The Richard Branson-founded company has high hopes to bring tourists into space, and it has hundreds of people already lined up to pay $250,000 apiece to rocket into low Earth orbit.
The path to its first space tourism flight has been rocky though. In mid-December, a Virgin Galactic test flight failed when the Unity spacecraft's engine did not ignite, reportedly due to instrumentation connectivity issues. That pushed back the company's timeline back further, disappointing investors.
However, Virgin Galactic isn't giving up, and on Feb. 1, it announced its next flight window. It hopes to launch the VSS Unity from New Mexico sometime on or after Feb. 13, with plenty of possible dates throughout the remainder of the month. In addition to serving as a test flight opportunity, Unity will carry research payloads on behalf of NASA.
A lot is riding on Virgin Galactic's test flights. But in the long run, the company might end up making more money from slightly less extraterrestrial endeavors. Many believe that the technology the space company has developed could end up being used in supersonic transcontinental flights that would cut the time for long-haul transoceanic flights from 12 to 15 hours down to around three to four hours. That's reason enough to bet on a bright future for Virgin Galactic.
Tap into this video streaming stock now
Chris Neiger (Roku): It seems like every major media company either has already launched its own video streaming service or is about to. Most recently, Peacock, HBO Max, and Discovery+ joined a growing list of services that already included Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and AppleTV+.
Of course, the companies launching their subscription services benefit when they convince people to sign up -- but what if there was one company that benefited not just one from one of these popular services, but from all of them?
Enter Roku. The company provides users with access to all of their streaming services via a single platform, and it's benefiting in huge ways from the shift from traditional pay-TV to streaming services.
Every time a user signs up for a video streaming service on Roku's platform, it takes a cut of that subscription. The company also makes money by selling ads on its platform. Both of these are massive opportunities for Roku. Last year, 6 million U.S. households cut their traditional pay-TV services, and according to forecasts, by 2024, less than half of U.S. households will still be signed up for pay-TV service. These people aren't abandoning televised entertainment, of course -- they are opting for video subscriptions instead.
This shift pushed Roku's active accounts up to 51 million as of the end of 2020, an increase of 14 million for the year. Those customers are also streaming lots of content -- 51.8 billion hours to be exact. This surge helped lift Roku's revenue by 73%year over year in the most recent quarter, and boosted average revenue per user by 20%.
This ongoing shift toward streaming services should help fuel more growth for Roku, and so will increasing ad sales on the company's platform. It's estimated that only 8% to 9% of total TV ad spending budgets are allocated to video streaming services right now. As that share increases, investors can expect Roku's ad revenue to rise right along with it. The company is in the early stages of tapping into a monumental shift in the entertainment industry, and it could deliver significant gains to its shareholders in the coming years.