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3 Growth Stocks That Look Absurdly Overvalued but Really Aren't

By Keith Speights – Updated Sep 24, 2021 at 9:33AM

Key Points

  • Fiverr has captured only a tiny sliver of the addressable freelancing opportunity.
  • MercadoLibre is the leader in a Latin American e-commerce market that could double within five years.
  • Intuitive Surgical could at least quintuple the number of procedures for its robotic surgical systems.

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Don't trust the commonly used valuation metrics with these great stocks.

You might have heard the expression, "Numbers don't lie." However, that's not necessarily true -- especially when it comes to stock valuations.

Even if a commonly used valuation metric appears to be off the chart, it doesn't always mean that a given stock is actually expensive. Here are three growth stocks that look absurdly overvalued but really aren't.

A person with eyebrows raised looking at a laptop.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Fiverr 

Fiverr's (FVRR 0.54%) shares currently trade at close to 1,670 times expected earnings. No, that's not a typo. Normally, it would be reasonable to view such a forward earnings multiple as indicative of an astronomically high valuation.

You might be surprised, though, that my Motley Fool colleague Anders Bylund thinks that Fiverr is one of the cheapest stocks he owns. Is Anders crazy? Nope. I agree with his reasoning about Fiverr.

The company operates one of the leading platforms that match freelancers with buyers of digital services. Fiverr estimates that its addressable market totals $115 billion. Its market cap is less than $8 billion. 

Sure, Fiverr isn't likely to capture anywhere close to all of its potential market. But it doesn't have to. If Fiverr can snag a market share of just a few percentage points, this stock could easily become a 10-bagger.

2. MercadoLibre

MercadoLibre (MELI 1.08%) also looks super expensive at first glance. Shares of the Latin America e-commerce leader trade at nearly 233 times expected earnings. However, don't focus too much on this metric.

Like Fiverr, MercadoLibre's potential market makes its market cap much more attractive than you might think. Currently, e-commerce penetration in Latin America stands at only 8%. But by 2025, that rate is projected to double. Over the next decades, some analysts think that e-commerce could make up 50% of all retail sales in the region.

MercadoLibre isn't only paving the way with its e-commerce platform, though. The company is also a top provider of logistics services and a leader in online payments.

Competition is likely to increase in Latin America. However, MercadoLibre enjoys a great first-mover advantage. Forget the misleading earnings multiples: This is one of the best international stocks to buy right now.

3. Intuitive Surgical

Intuitive Surgical (ISRG 1.52%) almost looks cheap compared to Fiverr and MercadoLibre, with its shares trading at nearly 63 times expected earnings. Of course, that level is really high relative to most stocks. I'm probably going to sound like a broken record here, but Intuitive isn't expensive at all when you consider its growth prospects.

The company's robotic surgical systems were used in more than 1.2 million procedures last year. That's only one-fifth of the 6 million soft tissue procedures for which Intuitive's systems already have regulatory clearance in place.

There's even better news, though. Intuitive estimates that around 20 million soft tissue surgeries are performed each year that it could target with new products and clearances. 

What about new rivals that have jumped into the robotic surgical systems market? They'll have a difficult time taking market share away from Intuitive Surgical with its long track record and large install base. This healthcare stock could still have the potential to deliver a 10 times or greater return over the long term.

Keith Speights owns shares of Fiverr International, Intuitive Surgical, and MercadoLibre. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Fiverr International, Intuitive Surgical, and MercadoLibre. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long January 2022 $580 calls on Intuitive Surgical and short January 2022 $600 calls on Intuitive Surgical. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Stocks Mentioned

Intuitive Surgical Stock Quote
Intuitive Surgical
$274.49 (1.52%) $4.10
MercadoLibre Stock Quote
$941.01 (1.08%) $10.03
Fiverr International Stock Quote
Fiverr International
$35.36 (0.54%) $0.19

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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