For the past 12 years, growth stocks have done a lot of the heavy lifting for the stock market's major indexes -- and with good reason. Historically low lending rates have encouraged fast-growing businesses to borrow cheaply in order to hire, innovate, and acquire other businesses.
The thing is, the dynamics that have fueled growth stocks higher haven't changed. If anything, the thesis has only gotten stronger. The Federal Reserve has doubled down on keeping lending rates unchanged through at least 2022, and Washington appears eager to pass additional trillion-dollar stimulus packages.
With this being said, growth stocks can still be your ticket to riches. With time as your greatest ally, the following three growth stocks could make you a lot richer in May and beyond.
Last week, social media up-and-comer Pinterest (PINS 2.49%) reported its first-quarter operating results and was promptly pulverized. That decline, my investing friends, is one heck of an opportunity for patient growth-seekers.
It wasn't the company's Q1 results that caused investor indigestion on Wall Street so much as the company's tempered monthly active user (MAU) growth expectations for the upcoming quarter. Per the company, "we expect global MAUs to grow in the mid-teens and U.S. MAUs to be around flat on a year-over-year percentage basis."
Though slower user growth is less than ideal for a social media company, consider the conditions under which Pinterest has experienced a bump-up in growth. For a year, people have been stuck in their homes due to the coronavirus pandemic. This pumped up the site's active user growth above historic averages. Last year, net MAU growth was 37%, whereas it averaged 30% between 2017 and 2019. What we're witnessing in Pinterest's guidance isn't weakness so much as a reversion to its historic user growth rates.
One of the most prominent growth drivers this decade for Pinterest is going to be generating additional ad revenue from its international users. Of the 111 million net MAUs gained in Q1 2021 from the prior-year quarter, 103 million came from outside the United States. Although average revenue per user (ARPU) in ex-U.S. markets is substantially lower than within the U.S., Pinterest's strength in numbers should allow its international ARPU to double multiple times this decade. For context, international ARPU jumped 91% in the first quarter from the previous year.
Likewise, we're only in the early innings of Pinterest flexing its e-commerce muscles. With a user base closing in on a half-billion people who are perfectly willing to share what things, places, and services interest them, Pinterest has the perfect pool of motivated/targeted consumers waiting for merchants. As the company reinvests in the usability of its e-commerce platform, ad dollars from merchants should soar.
Harvest Health & Recreation
To be blunt (see what I did there?), I haven't always been the biggest fan of Harvest Health. That's because it was far too overzealous with its expansion ambitions in 2019. Similar to how Canadian weed stocks overextended themselves by making overpriced acquisitions in 2018 and 2019, Harvest Health arranged a number of deals that would have allowed it to rival Curaleaf as a retailer. The problem was that Harvest Health didn't have the financial resources to tackle such robust expansion.
The reason my opinion on Harvest Health changed is twofold. First, management owned up to its mistakes and pared down its expansion to a financially manageable pace. It terminated two sizable acquisitions, raised capital via bought-deal financings, padded its balance sheet with sale-leaseback agreements, and divested non-core assets, such as its cultivation and retail asset in Arkansas. Today, Harvest Health operates 37 retail locations in five core markets (Arizona, California, Florida, Maryland, and Pennsylvania).
The second reason to be excited about Harvest Health & Recreation is its home market of Arizona. This past November, Arizona was part of the green legalization wave. Thanks to Prop 207, adult-use marijuana is now legally sold. By 2024, Arizona should be one of around a dozen U.S. states bringing in $1 billion or more in annual weed sales – and no cannabis chain has a larger presence in the Grand Canyon State than Harvest Health (15 stores).
After essentially doubling its net sales in 2020 to $231.5 million, Harvest Health has forecast revenue for 2021 of around $380 million. By 2022, sales should have more than doubled again from 2020 levels. All the while, the company's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) is improving. Harvest Health might even eke out its first annual profit this year. That's what makes it a potentially intriguing investment.
Most people are very familiar with Amazon's online marketplace. It was a go-to destination prior to the pandemic, and it became that much more important during the pandemic, especially with people not leaving their homes. A March 2020 eMarketer report forecast that Amazon would gain 100 basis points of online retail market share in 2021, pushing its total share to 39.7%. That's $0.40 of every $1 spent online in the U.S. routing through Amazon.
What's even better is how the company has pivoted its retail success into higher margins. Though traditional retail margins are very thin, Amazon has managed to sign up more than 200 million people worldwide for a Prime membership. The fees the company collects from Prime help it to undercut brick-and-mortar retailers on price. It also encourages Prime members to spend more, while keeping them focused on Amazon's high-margin products and services.
Amazon has also turned into quite the cloud infrastructure juggernaut. Amazon Web Services (AWS) grew by 30% last year and registered 32% sales growth in the first quarter of 2021. Cloud margins are much more delectable than retail margins, which means that as AWS grows into a larger percentage of total sales, the company's cash flow should skyrocket.
The crazy thing is that even with Amazon's stock at a new high, it's potentially cheaper than it's ever been. You see, Amazon ended every year of the 2010s at a multiple to its cash flow of 23 to 37. Based on the more than $286 per share in cash flow Wall Street is expecting for 2024, Amazon's multiple to cash flow of roughly 12 is absurdly cheap. That's why Amazon is a pound-the-table sort of buy in May and beyond.