What happened

Shares of low-code automation specialist Appian (NASDAQ:APPN), monitoring and analytics platform provider Datadog (NASDAQ:DDOG), and plant-based meat company Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND) were all hit hard on Thursday. The stocks slid as much as 7.2%, 9%, and 5%, respectively. As of 11:45 a.m. EDT, however, they had recovered and were down 2.6%, 7.8%, and 2.7%, respectively.

The three stocks' declines come as many growth stocks continue to get pummeled this week.

In addition, some investors may be trying to de-risk their portfolios from further potential declines since all three of these companies report their quarterly results after market close today. While it's possible that their shares could rise following their quarterly reports, the market hasn't been kind to very many growth stocks recently following their earnings reports. Some investors, therefore, may be fearful going into this afternoon's updates.

An chart showing a stock price falling sharply

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Many growth stocks like Appian, Datadog, and Beyond Meat have been taking a beating recently as profit-taking accelerates following an extraordinary year. Throughout 2020 and into the beginning of 2021, many growth stocks surged as tech-driven business models benefited from lockdowns that had consumers more reliant than ever on technology.

Though Beyond Meat is the exception among these three companies, in the fact that its stock didn't rise sharply in 2020, it is largely viewed as a growth stock. So it's not surprising to see the stock getting lumped in with this recent sell-off.

Now what

On average, analysts are expecting Appian's revenue to grow 17.4% year over year to $82.7 million. Impressively, this growth rate would be in line with the company's 17% revenue growth in the fourth quarter of 2020. 

For the full year, Appian management recently said, it expects total revenue to grow at a rate between 4% and 5%. Investors should look to see if this figure gets updated when earnings are released today. 

The consensus analyst estimate for Datadog's first-quarter revenue growth rate is 42.3% -- a deceleration from 56% growth in the fourth quarter of 2020. "We believe our already strong market position will only be strengthened longer-term by the pandemic," CEO Olivier Pomel said in the company's fourth-quarter earnings release in February, "as the needs to be digital-first and agile are more prominent than ever." 

Analysts are modeling for 17.1% year-over-year revenue growth at Beyond Meat. This translates to an expectation for quarterly revenue of $114 million. This would mark a significant acceleration from 3.5% revenue growth in the fourth quarter of 2020, when the company's foodservice channel weighed on results with its 43% year-over-year decline in revenue due to the negative impact of COVID-19 on foodservice demand.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.