Back in 2016, a report from Bank of America/Merrill Lynch found that, between 1926 and 2015, value stocks outperformed growth stocks by an annualized average of 4.4 percentage points over 90 years (17% vs. 12.6%). However, it's been a different story since the end of the Great Recession in early 2009.
With the Federal Reserve coercing lending rates to historic lows, fast-growing companies have been able to borrow at cheap rates. The ability to hire, innovative, and acquire other businesses with ease is precisely why growth stocks have been such a perfect investment over the past decade.
The thing about growth stocks is that value can always be found, if you're willing to do some digging and be patient. The following three growth stocks all have the tools to make investors richer in April, and well beyond.
One of the smartest ways to take advantage of the recent pullback in growth stocks would be to snatch up shares of cybersecurity company Okta (OKTA -0.70%) at a discount. Shares the company, which focuses on cloud-based identity verification, have declined by 21% since hitting an all-time high in February.
Though there are no shortage of trends and industries that offer double-digit growth potential this decade, cybersecurity is arguably the safest bet for investor success. More businesses than ever have created an online presence and moved their data into the cloud, which means the onus of protecting this data has increasingly fallen on third-party providers. In other words, cybersecurity has become a basic-need service, which means not even once-in-a-generation recessions can slow down the industry's momentum.
What makes Okta such an intriguing company is its suite of cloud-native identity solutions. Okta's services lean on artificial intelligence to grow smarter at identifying potential threats, and being built in the cloud allows for a quicker response time than on-premises security solutions.
Additionally, Okta's portfolio of security solutions isn't a one-size-fits-all for businesses. It's designed to scale along with its clients over time. Since 96% of its revenue (as of the fourth quarter) is derived from high-margin subscriptions, retaining and scaling with existing customers is what'll help drive operating cash flow significantly higher.
Lastly, don't overlook the company's transformative pending all-stock acquisition of rival Auth0 for $6.5 billion (when announced). Although Auth0 will continue to operate independently under Okta, it'll open the door for the company to enter international markets, such as Europe.
Growth-seeking investors could also find plenty of green from the cannabis industry. New Frontier Data has estimated U.S. pot sales growth will average 21% annually between 2019 and 2025, ultimately hitting $41.5 billion in yearly sales by mid-decade. Though not all marijuana stocks are going to be winners, U.S. multistate operator Cresco Labs (CRLBF 2.60%) stands out as particularly attractive.
As you might imagine, Cresco has an established retail presence that's only getting larger. It currently has around two dozen operating dispensaries, and has two acquisitions pending that'll boost its store count above 30. This includes the purchase of Bluma Wellness, which'll give Cresco the ability to open/operate as many 15 dispensaries in Florida.
What's notable about Cresco's retail strategy is that it's focused its attention on a handful of limited license markets. For instance, it's maxed out its retail store count in Illinois (10) and Ohio (5). States that limit the number of retail licenses they'll issue should allow Cresco Labs a better opportunity to build up its brands in markets with billion-dollar sales potential.
But what makes this company unique is its wholesale business. Wholesale is traditionally a lower-margin segment than retail, which means some investors have a tendency to overlook Cresco. What they might not realize is that Cresco's wholesale presence is predominantly in California, where it has the ability to place its proprietary and third-party products into more than 575 dispensaries. Last year, wholesale accounted for more than half of the company's $476 million in sales.
Cresco Labs is currently valued at a little over 3 times Wall Street's projected sales for 2022. Meanwhile, other U.S. multistate operators are going for multiples of 5 or 6 times forward-year sales. This is a discrepancy that makes little sense, and is why Cresco is such a perfect buy in April.
Finally, following a share-price roller-coaster in recent months, mobile gaming platform Skillz (SKLZ 3.89%) looks ripe for the picking. Shares of Skillz quintupled between the beginning of November and the first week of February, but have since declined by close to 60%.
While I admit to not being much of a gamer anymore, it's pretty hard not to notice how popular and disruptive Skillz platform has become. Skillz allows gamers to pay a fee to compete against each other for cash and prizes. In turn, a portion of this cash is set aside for the developer of the game and for Skillz to keep. Since it's pretty much playing the role of platform provider, its gross margin on what it keeps is a cool 95%!
If you're wondering how well the platform is resonating with gamers, look no further than gross marketplace volume (GMV). In 2019, $886 million in cash and prizes were transacted on Skillz's gaming platform. In 2020, with people stuck in their homes throughout the year, GMV rose 80% to $1.6 billion. According to the company, the mobile gaming market had an addressable market of $86 billion last year, with an average annual growth rate of 23% since 2015. The $1.6 billion in GMV transacted in 2020 is just the tip of the iceberg.
Equally exciting is the multiyear agreement signed between Skillz and the National Football League (NFL) in early February. Game developers will be encouraged to create NFL-themed games that Skillz will host on its platform. It shouldn't be difficult to attract developers, gamers, or paying users when it comes to the most-popular sport in the United States.
With management calling for revenue growth of 59% in 2021, Skillz has all the tools needed to generate significant wealth for patient investors.