For more than a decade, growth stocks have been virtually unstoppable. The combination of historically low lending rates coupled with a free-spending federal government and central bank has buoyed the U.S. economy and given fast-growing companies easy access to cheap capital.
But the past three months have not been kind to many of the growth stocks that were responsible for leading the major indexes higher after hitting a bear-market bottom in March 2020. Whereas some people see reasons to be cautious, Wall Street sees opportunity.
The following five growth stocks are all down 50% (or more) from their trailing 52-week highs. Yet they also offer significant upside, according to Wall Street's one-year consensus price target. If this price forecast proves accurate, opportunistic investors could be looking at upside ranging from 62% to 133%.
Zoom Video Communications: Implied upside of 62%
Cloud-based web conferencing solutions provider Zoom Video Communications (ZM 1.61%) was arguably the biggest winner of the pandemic. The historic disruption that occurred in the workplace forced businesses to go virtual in order to keep the wheels of innovation moving. Zoom was the logical beneficiary.
But since hitting its peak in mid-October, Zoom's shares have shed half of their value. Yet, according to the 12-month consensus price target from analysts, Zoom offers ample upside of up to 62%.
Even if employees return to the workplace following the biggest vaccination campaign in history, Zoom isn't going to disappear. Businesses have seen the value and efficiency web conferencing can bring to the table, which makes it far less likely we'll see customers canceling their subscriptions. Zoom also holds a 40% share of the U.S. web conferencing market.
Furthermore, Zoom made particularly strong inroads with small and medium-sized businesses in 2020. The number of subscribers with at least 10 employees surged 470% last year, likely driven by Zoom's freemium access, which allows enterprises to test-drive the cloud-based conferencing solutions to see what sort of benefits it can bring to the table. Zoom is a good candidate to bounce back in a big way over the long run.
Root: Implied upside of 75%
For you risk-seeking investors, let me introduce you to innovative insurance company Root (ROOT 21.52%). Since hitting $29.48 a share following its debut in October 2020, shares of the company are down 65%. But if Wall Street's prognostications prove accurate, the company holds 75% implied upside over the coming year.
On one hand, Root is losing money hand-over-fist. The company is aggressively marketing its insurance products in a highly competitive space. With the pandemic moving to the rearview mirror, spending on marketing is expected to pick up.
On the other hand, Root's approach to pricing auto policies is incredibly unique. The company is relying on telematics to price auto insurance policies prior to the customer making a purchase. In plain English, it's using sensitive devices in people's smartphones to gauge how they drive (i.e., hard braking, G-forces, and so on). This dynamic pricing model, which is constantly being updated and catered to each state, offers abundant upside and personalization that simply isn't found within the insurance industry today.
This isn't a stock for fundamentally focused investors to consider. But for those investors with a high tolerance for risk who favor innovative companies, Root could be an intriguing speculative add.
Skillz: Implied upside of 75%
Another downtrodden growth stock with some serious upside potential is esports and gaming company Skillz (SKLZ 2.25%). As of the closing bell this weekend, Skillz was down 66% from its highs set in February. But if Wall Street's one-year price target is accurate, it'll gain a solid 75%.
Skillz has been beaten down by a short-seller report from Wolfpack Research, as well as CFO Scott Henry announcing that he'll be stepping down from his position.
Conversely, Skillz brings innovation to the gaming space that growth investors will appreciate. Rather than going toe-to-toe with some of the most innovative game developers in the world, Skillz created an online platform that would allow gamers to compete against each other for cash prizes. In turn, Skillz and the game developer get to keep a percentage of the cash prize. Because the company doesn't have to spend big bucks on game development, its gross margin is 95%.
The big question is whether Skillz can turn its exceptionally fast-growing business into a profitable one. At the moment, virtually all expenses are rocketing higher, which is turning off more fundamentally focused investors. But if the company's multiyear agreement with the National Football League begins bearing fruit over the next year, profitability could be in the cards not long after.
Sarepta Therapeutics: Implied upside of 80%
Specialty biotech stock Sarepta Therapeutics (SRPT 1.70%) has also had a rough go of things. Since hitting a 52-week high of almost $182 in December, shares have retraced to under $75. Yet, analysts foresee upside of up to 80% over the coming 12 months to $134 a share.
Sarepta has made a name for itself by focusing on treatments for patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). DMD is a disease diagnosed in children that's characterized by the degradation of muscle tissue over time and premature death. Though there is no Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved cure, Sarepta has a trio of FDA-approved therapies targeting specific gene mutations for DMD patients. These treatments focus on increasing dystrophin production, which is used to strengthen and protect muscle fibers.
The bulk of Sarepta's 59% decline from its 52-week high occurred in January when the company released data from Part 1 of Study 102. This trial is examining SRP-9001 in DMD patients aged 4 to 7. SRP-9001 is important because it utilizes an adeno-associated virus to deliver a gene to muscle tissue to encourage the production of micro-dystrophin. Put another way, it moves beyond the specific gene-by-gene mutations that Sarepta has been targeting and would be applicable to more DMD patients if approved.
In Part 1, improvements in the North Star Ambulatory Assessment total score were observed, but they weren't statistically significant. Though Sarepta believes fitness level differences in the patients were to blame for the subdued results, a lot is now riding on Part 2 of Study 102.
Plug Power: Implied upside of 133%
But the creme de la creme of opportunity among beaten-down growth stocks looks to be hydrogen fuel-cell solutions provider Plug Power (PLUG -2.72%). Following its catapult higher to begin the year, Plug has since given back 69% of its value. But if Wall Street is right, it could gain a whopping 133% over the coming 12 months.
Plug Power had no shortage of catalysts to begin 2021. Democrats won back the Senate by the narrowest of margins in January, making it far likelier that a green energy bill could be passed in Washington. Couple this with Plug landing two major partnerships within a week -- SK Group in South Korea and automaker Renault -- and it's easy to see why investors were giddy. SK Group also took a 10% equity stake in the company.
However, Plug Power has also been forced to issue a mea culpa on its income statements. Even though no misconduct was uncovered, the company announced in mid-March it would restate multiple years of its financial statements. Like some of the other names here (Root, Skillz, and Sarepta), profitability happens to be a ways off, as well.
To achieve a 133% return over the next year, Plug Power would have to show that its next-big-thing technology hasn't been overhyped. While I don't doubt that fuel-cell technology can eventually be one of the cleaner fuel alternatives for vehicles, I'm not expecting the company to meet investors' lofty growth expectations. In other words, I'd suggest tempering your expectations quite a bit.