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3 Growth Stocks for In-the-Know Investors

By Leo Sun - Apr 12, 2021 at 8:27AM

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Roku, Bumble, and Baozun look well-positioned to keep expanding through the next phase of the economic cycle.

Over the past two months, rising bond yields have sparked a rotation away from pricier growth stocks and toward value stocks. Investors have also started to shun the stay-at-home stocks that generated such explosive gains during the first year of the pandemic in favor of reopening plays as they anticipate a post-pandemic world.

Those market trends are making it difficult to buy high-growth stocks. However, investors who can stomach some volatility should still consider buying three growth stocks that could continue growing strongly for years to come: Roku (ROKU -2.22%), Bumble (BMBL -4.77%), and Baozun (BZUN 0.91%).

A rising graph made from neon light tubes.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Roku

I was once skeptical about Roku's prospects. It established an early-mover advantage in streaming media devices, but it also faced intense competition from tech giants like Amazon, Alphabet, and Apple.

Yet Roku maintained its lead in the streaming device market and gradually expanded its software platform -- which generates most of its revenue from online ads and content distribution partnerships -- to reduce its dependence on its lower-margin hardware. That shift in its business model worked: It generated 71% of its revenues and 95% of its gross profit from its platform business in 2020.

Roku's active accounts rose by 39% year over year to 51.2 million in the fourth quarter. Its total streaming hours jumped 55% to 17 billion, and its average revenue per user grew by 24%. Its revenue rose by 58% to $1.78 billion for the full year as its adjusted EBITDA surged 319% to $150 million. It isn't profitable yet, but it's gradually narrowing its losses.

Roku attributed some of its growth to the impact of pandemic-mandated stay-at-home measures, but it should continue growing after the crisis in the U.S. abates as more consumers abandon traditional pay-TV platforms for over-the-top streaming services.

Analysts expect Roku's revenue to rise 44% this year and 38% next year. The stock isn't cheap at 19 times this year's sales, and it could lose its luster amid the sell-off in growth stocks, but it remains a solid long-term play on the secular growth of streaming services and alternative digital advertising platforms.

2. Bumble

I've been bullish on Bumble, the female-first dating app created by Tinder co-founder Whitney Wolfe Herd, since its IPO in February. The company owns two apps, Bumble and the older dating app Badoo, but it generates most of its revenues from its namesake platform.

Bumble's mobile app.

Image source: Bumble.

Bumble's revenue rose 11% to $542 million in 2020, and its total number of paying users grew by 22% to 2.5 million. Its adjusted EBITDA grew 41% to $143 million, but it posted a net loss on a GAAP basis.

Bumble's growth decelerated last year -- understandable, as first dates don't mix well with social distancing. So its users spent less money on its premium features, which add features like unlimited swipes, super likes, and the ability to see who likes you right away.

However, in 2021, Bumble expects its revenue to grow by 32% to 34%, and forecasts its adjusted EBITDA will rise by 21% to 24%. During the Q4 conference call in March, Wolfe Herd said the "entire globe has gone through an incredibly lonely period," and asserted that online dating apps were well-positioned for a post-pandemic recovery. Bumble is also gradually expanding its female-oriented ecosystem with Bumble BFF for friendships and Bumble Bizz for business connections.

Analysts expect Bumble's revenue to rise by 33% this year, and expect that its bottom-line loss will narrow. Based on that forecast, the stock trades at 10 times forward sales. Its larger rival, Tinder parent Match Group, is expected to generate 19% sales growth this year, but trades at 14 times forward sales.

3. Baozun

China's recent antitrust moves against its biggest tech companies have cast a dark cloud over that nation's entire tech sector, but one stock that still shines in that space is Baozun.

Baozun mainly provides end-to-end e-commerce services in China for big multinationals such as Starbucks and Nike -- foreign players that want to expand their footprints in China without hiring local sales and tech teams. Baozun sets up its clients' online marketplaces in China, manages their marketing campaigns, and fulfills their orders.

Baozun integrates its services into leading e-commerce platforms like Alibaba's Tmall and JD.com, which makes it a balanced way to invest in China's e-commerce sector. It's also a safe way to profit from the expansion of foreign companies in China without betting on a single company.

Baozun's revenue rose 22% to $1.36 billion in 2020 as its adjusted net income grew by 50% to $82 million. Demand for its services has remained robust, even amid the trade war and the pandemic, and its ongoing shift toward a "non-distribution" model -- which lets clients ship their products to customers directly instead of using Baozun's fulfillment centers -- is boosting its operating margins.

Wall Street expects Baozun's revenue and earnings to rise by 37% and 10%, respectively, this year. The stock trades at just 19 times forward earnings and 1.5 times this year's sales, which makes it an undervalued growth stock in China's booming e-commerce sector.

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Stocks Mentioned

Baozun Stock Quote
Baozun
BZUN
$11.10 (0.91%) $0.10
Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
GOOGL
$2,234.03 (-0.27%) $-6.12
Starbucks Corporation Stock Quote
Starbucks Corporation
SBUX
$76.43 (0.12%) $0.09
Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
AAPL
$139.23 (1.30%) $1.79
Amazon.com, Inc. Stock Quote
Amazon.com, Inc.
AMZN
$108.92 (1.42%) $1.52
NIKE, Inc. Stock Quote
NIKE, Inc.
NKE
$103.25 (0.46%) $0.47
Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
GOOG
$2,245.13 (-0.28%) $-6.30
Alibaba Group Holding Limited Stock Quote
Alibaba Group Holding Limited
BABA
$116.03 (-0.62%) $0.73
JD.com, Inc. Stock Quote
JD.com, Inc.
JD
$64.85 (0.48%) $0.31
Roku Stock Quote
Roku
ROKU
$87.11 (-2.22%) $-1.98
Match Group, Inc. Stock Quote
Match Group, Inc.
MTCH
$71.09 (-1.00%) $0.72
Bumble Inc. Stock Quote
Bumble Inc.
BMBL
$28.37 (-4.77%) $-1.42

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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