The stock market may look like it's coming out of its September slump and starting its usual year-end bullishness. But many veteran investors seem to sense we're still overdue for a more serious correction. If we get one, it could easily drag all stocks lower. Most of the market's high-flying growth names appear particularly vulnerable.
There is a handful of growth stocks, however, with stories so scintillating that they're capable of transcending market-wide weakness. Here's a rundown of three of my favorite growth stocks from this rare grouping of prospects.
Square (SQ -7.39%) isn't a name that needs much of an introduction. The company's roots are in turning smartphones into credit card readers for small proprietors typically ignored by payment middlemen. But it's evolved into so much more. Point-of-sale devices, customer relationship management tools, and even banking services are just some of the offerings now in Square's wheelhouse, and a key part of the reason revenue is expected to double this fiscal year compared to last year's top line. Earnings are projected to grow even more.
That growth pace should cool beginning next year. But don't read too much into the slowdown. It's not a sign that the company's expansion is peaking. As Jefferies analyst Trevor Williams recently explained in regard to his new buy rating on Square, "As the pace of disruptions within payments and the broader FinTech ecosystem increases, we believe that companies with a track record in product development and innovation ... offer the best protection against any obsolescence and are likely to outperform in the long run." That's Square to be sure.
It's still going too. The latest of its lengthening list of product developments and innovations is the impending acquisition and eventual integration of buy-now-pay-later service Afterpay. This latest craze in consumer borrowing outside of conventional credit cards facilitated nearly $100 billion worth of commerce last year, according to forecasts from Allied Market Research. That figure is expected to reach nearly $4 trillion by 2030.
And that's just one opportunity Square is addressing. Cryptocurrency is another. Small business loans are still another. There's just a lot of potential here.
2. United Microelectronics
While the bulk of the semiconductor shortage rhetoric to date has focused on its challenges and victims, it's not been all bad. Manufacturing foundries are as busy as they've ever been, trying to keep up with demand and doing so at robust prices.
United Microelectronics (UMC -0.54%) is one of these semiconductor manufacturers. The Taiwanese company makes chips for names like Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, and Intel, just to name a few, each of which has been impacted by the supply crunch. It's the key reason this year's top line is projected to swell nearly 22%, driving even more profit growth.
There's a curious timing element to this trade, however. Although all the chip-manufacturing capacity being added right now could lead to a price-gouging glut in 2023, this year's industry-wide regrouping effort is going to gain the bulk of its traction next year before all those new foundries are ready to start cranking out semiconductors. Analysts are calling for revenue growth of 42% for fiscal 2022, which should, in turn, pump up per-share profits from $0.69 to $0.85. That's impressive, but even more impressive is the fact that this stock is currently only priced at 13 times next year's expected profits.
3. SolarEdge Technologies
Finally, add SolarEdge Technologies (SEDG 1.71%) to your list of growth stocks you can feel good about stepping into right now, regardless of the backdrop.
Yes, solar panel subsidies are under attack here and abroad. It superficially bodes poorly for the industry and its top players like Israel's SolarEdge Technologies. But don't read too much into the rhetoric.
See, solar subsidy standoffs are nothing new, but more than that, the solar power industry is having something of a moment. The International Energy Agency's 2020 World Energy Outlook points out that thanks to continued cost reductions, solar power was last year's cheapest form of electricity on a global basis. Grid parity -- the cost of solar power versus the cost of electricity generated by fossil fuels -- is within sight in the United States as well as in China, where it matters most, and that parity will have more to do with smarter grid management than more efficient photovoltaic cells.
Now that it makes as much financial sense to switch to solar power as it does to stick with non-renewable power options, solar adoption is set to soar. The U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts that the country's consumption of solar power in 2022 will be up 25% from this year's levels, which are expected to be 26% better than 2020's total. Worldwide, S&P Global Platts Analytics estimates that solar power production capacity is set to grow at an average pace of 12% per year through 2026.
You don't really have to read between the lines here. SolarEdge's projected revenue growth of 35% this year and 30% next year are plenty plausible and shouldn't be derailed by any economic turbulence.