The U.S. equities market has been on a roller-coaster ride over the last month. Strong bullish sentiment surrounding the reopening economy turned sour due to higher-than-expected inflation in June and a rise in COVID-19 cases across the world. However, in just a few days, the tide on Wall Street seems to have turned for the better. Share prices are rebounding thanks to solid second-quarter earnings results. Not even a surprising rise in initial unemployment claims -- they jumped by 51,000 to 419,000 for the week ending July 17 -- dampened the rally.
While buying stocks during periods of high volatility can be daunting, long-term investors can still earn solid returns by focusing on fundamentally strong companies with competitive advantages. If you have $1,500 right now that you can dedicate to your portfolio, these three stocks could prove to be excellent long-term picks.
Bumble (BMBL -3.68%) is a relatively new player in the global online dating market, which is expected to grow from $5.3 billion in 2020 to $9.9 billion by 2025.
Bumble's namesake app differentiates itself from its many rivals with its women-centric approach. Only women can make the first move to open a conversation in heterosexual matches. This helps reduce the challenges women face due to unsolicited messaging and harassment in online dating. The success of this strategy is apparent: The Bumble app's total paying users rose by more than 44% year over year to 1.35 million in the first quarter. The company operates another dating app, Badoo, which is more focused on European and Latin American markets. In the first quarter, Badoo's paying users rose by 19% to 1.45 million.
The company's ambitions extend beyond online dating -- it aims to position its eponymous app as a social network (Bumble BFF) and a tool for exploring career opportunities (Bumble Bizz). After venturing into the realms of face-to-face networking and coworking by launching "Bumble Hives", it's now entering the restaurant business by launching a "Bumble Brew" cafe and wine bar in New York. Although these services are varied, at their core, they address the same goal -- enabling people to make meaningful connections with each other. And those new features could prove to be significant revenue drivers.
In the first quarter, Bumble's revenues rose 43.3% year over year to $170.7 million, while adjusted EBITDA more than doubled to $46.1 million. While it's not yet profitable, that's normal for a fast-growing, early-stage technology company. It's currently trading at just 9.4 times sales -- making it a reasonably priced pick for retail investors.
2. SailPoint Technologies
SailPoint Technologies (SAIL) specializes in enterprise identity security solutions, which automate the assignment of digital identities to human and non-human users (employees, partners, bots, apps) and determine resource access based on these identities. The company estimates its total addressable market (TAM) to be more than $20 billion.
Since identity security is mission-critical for all businesses in every market environment, SailPoint Technologies could prove a resilient investment even in the event of a market crash. The company expects to complete its transition from a mostly perpetual-licensing model to a 100% subscription-based business model (software-as-a-service and term contracts) by 2023.
In Q1, annual recurring revenue (ARR) rose 43% year over year to $270.2 million. The company is now guiding for ARR in the range of $333 million to $339 million and total revenue in the range of $404 million to $412 million for 2021. In that scenario, recurring revenue would account for between 81.5% and 83% of total revenue.
Meanwhile, SailPoint's revenues rose 20% year over year to $90.8 million. However, at end of the first quarter, the company's remaining performance obligations (contracted revenue not yet recognized) were up by 61.3% to $348.2 million, highlighting its potential for revenue growth acceleration in the coming quarters.
The faster-than-anticipated shift from licensing arrangements with higher upfront payments to SaaS subscriptions that spread revenue out has resulted in lower top-line results as well as higher losses for the company in the short run. However, expansion of its recurring revenue base will boost both its revenue visibility and its margins in the long run.
Despite the upsides, SailPoint is trading at close to 12 times sales, a much lower ratio than that of competitor Okta (OKTA -5.26%) which is trading close to 37 times sales. Given all that, SailPoint could emerge as a winning cybersecurity stock in the coming years.
3. Warner Music Group
One of the "Big Three" record labels in the world, Warner Music Group's (WMG 1.13%) has been a major beneficiary of the rising demand for digital music in areas such as streaming, social media, and fitness. These tailwinds have more than offset the lost revenues from pandemic-affected businesses such as live entertainment and mechanical licensing (musical compositions recorded on vinyl, CDs, and DVDs).
In the first half of its fiscal 2021, which ended March 31, Warner Music Group earned more than 57% of its total revenues from digital music sales. It currently boasts high-quality clients such as pure-play music streaming company Spotify (SPOT 1.54%), online fitness expert Peloton (PTON -2.92%), and social media platforms Facebook (META -1.52%) and TikTok. As their subscriber bases increase, that will push up demand for original music content.
Warner Music Group also aggregates a huge amount of data from all these platforms. That data is then mined to derive insights, which are in turn leveraged not only for creating content, but also for targeted promotional and marketing activities.
As the global economy slowly recovers from the pandemic, Warner Music Group anticipates significant demand for live events and musical concerts. However, to cope up with COVID-19 related uncertainties, the company also plans to leverage live streams, virtual concerts, and other interactive media. The company is also focusing on partnerships and acquisitions to expand its presence in international markets such as China, Russia, and the Middle East.
The shift in focus from selling music on physical media to distributing it digitally has proven a successful strategy for the music titan, and its cost optimization initiatives are paying dividends. In its fiscal 2021 second quarter, revenues rose 17% to $1.25 billion, while OIBDA (operating income before depreciation and amortization -- a profitability metric commonly used in the music industry) soared by 1,800% to $228 million.
Despite its many tailwinds, Warner Music Group is trading at a reasonable valuation of 4.1 times sales. Hence, I think there is significant potential for its stock to rise in the long run.