The stock market shuddered recently over the prospects of slowing growth in the global economy, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average opening some 500 points lower to start the week.
The broad market's decline Monday left on a number of otherwise solid companies looking like better bargains, and traders started taking advantage because the major U.S. stock indexes began paring their losses before the session ended. Yet several top-notch companies are still changing hands at steep discounts -- among them, these three.
The Original Bark Company
The Original Bark Company (NYSE:BARK) specializes in helping pet owners pamper their furry friends, most notably through its monthly subscription service BarkBox, a curated selection of toys, treats, and supplements.
In its most recently reported quarter, subscription shipments increased to 3.6 million, a 52% year-over-year jump, and revenue rose 57.2% to $117.6 million. The company has also boosted its profits by encouraging subscribers to "one-plus" their monthly boxes, adding extra items. As a result, management noted that add-to-box revenue rose by 173.5%, adding a total of $7 million to quarterly revenue.
People continue to view their pets as family members, which means they're going to spend big money on them. The American Pet Products Association has forecast that owners will spend $110 billion on their pets this year. Given that 69% of U.S. households with pets include a dog in their family, Bark has tremendous room for growth. Management estimates the company has only reached 1% of its potential market.
Yet shares of Bark are down 60% from their 52-week high and are off 45% year to date due to investors' worries that last year's pandemic-primed pet spending boom won't be repeated. But there are numerous expansion opportunities for the company, both internationally and in serving other pets. (Cats, for example, are represented in 45% of pet-owning households.) Additional penetration into retail is possible as well, meaning investors may soon look back at today's Bark share price as a cheap entry point.
I actually have trouble recommending any China-based stock today because Beijing is cracking down on businesses across the board. The more successful a company becomes, the more likely the regime will single it out for interference. From tech to gambling, Chinese regulators are throwing up roadblocks to growth.
Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) has largely escaped scrutiny even as its peers have come under Beijing's microscope. Still, the stock market has devalued the search engine operator's shares too. Its stock is down 55% from recent highs and is down 24% for the year. As such, it's well worth investors' time to take a closer look.
Baidu has long benefited from Chinese government regulation as Beijing has essentially blocked what would otherwise have been the company's biggest rival -- Google -- from even participating in the nation's search market. Now, it's the premier destination for advertisers in China, and its year-to-date online marketing revenue is up 22% year over year, with online advertising service revenue 20% higher.
Obviously, all Chinese companies face the types of risks that are unique to doing business in that country, and investors need to factor those into their decision-making. But so far, Baidu has been able to thread the needle.
Online insurance marketplace EverQuote (NASDAQ:EVER) also relies upon advertisers, primarily in auto insurance, but also in homeowners, life, health, and commercial insurance. And it just acquired PolicyFuel, which gives it a presence in the property and casualty market.
That diversification is serving it well. EverQuote's second-quarter revenue rose 34% and sales were up 30% year to date, indicating that ad spend is increasing. What's holding it back is that it has been spending more money to attract those sales dollars; its marketing expenses are up 34% so far in 2021. It's also still a loss-generating business, to the tune of $5.7 million over the first two quarters or $0.20 per share -- 25% worse than the $0.16 per share loss it recorded in the prior-year period.
That helps explain why the stock is down 44% year to date and more than 66% below the peak it reached in February.
That should eventually change, though, as companies spend more money on digital advertising and EverQuote keeps delivering highly motivated prospects to them. Entering into new verticals should help diversify its revenue streams further, as 82% of EverQuote's revenue derives from the auto insurance market.
By providing consumers with an easy-to-navigate platform to compare prices among insurers, EverQuote should eventually deliver profitable growth and reward its shareholders.