If you're like many other investors right now, you may be a little hesitant to step into new positions in the market. The marketwide rally that's been underway since March of last year is still technically intact. But with stocks up more than 100% for that 20-month stretch, the stock market certainly seem vulnerable to a serious correction. Treading lightly here seems like a prudent course of action.
There are some stock names, however, with growth stories so juicy that they're just too good to pass up, regardless of the backdrop. Here's a closer look at three of these stocks I'd be willing to buy without a second thought right now.
1. United Microelectronics
The worldwide shortage of microchips is anything but a secret. It has crimped earnings for a bunch of technology companies a couple of quarters in a row now. Not every tech outfit is a loser because of the crimped supply chain, though. By virtue of massive demand and backlogs, chip manufacturers are as busy as ever and enjoy incredible pricing power at the moment.
Taiwan's United Microelectronics (UMC -0.51%) is one of these beneficiaries. The company makes a variety of computing-logic and radio-transmission semiconductors. And as one of the few foundries even capable of addressing the swell of demand, it is on pace to grow its top line by 22% this year. That's likely to beef up its per-share profits from $0.42 in 2020 to $0.79 this time around.
But even United Microelectronics' efforts to increase its output won't really get traction until next year. That's when the company is expected to drive top-line growth of 42% and subsequently report per-share earnings of $0.87. And that outlook could be conservative given the company's earnings beats in each of the past four quarters.
Things may then start to decelerate once competing semiconductor manufacturers finally start to see some of their new production investments start to bear fruit. But that's OK. There's still going to be plenty of business to be won then. New investors will enjoy the fact that they're getting into the stock while it's priced at a mere 14.3 times this year's projected profits.
Pinterest (PINS 1.40%) is an interesting company. The website knew how to draw a crowd when it was launched back in 2010. What wasn't clear, however, was how the company intended to make money. Ads injected into a collage-type web page of a user's interests didn't seem like much of a business model.
In the meantime, Pinterest has proved that the model works. After building a base of regular followers and refining the effectiveness of "promoted pins," in 2014, 2015 turned into a breakout year for the company's ad revenue. Specifically, Pinterest reported its top line for 2015 (well before its 2019 IPO) was roughly five times greater than 2014's ad sales. And the company has continued to tweak its advertising medium. Last quarter's revenue of $633 million was up 43% year over year, but the number of monthly users only grew 1%.
Such user growth is lackluster compared to other free-to-use, consumer-oriented platforms like Meta Platforms' (META 3.01%) Facebook or Snap's (SNAP 7.07%) Snapchat. Just bear in mind that Pinterest is comparing its user base's growth to surge numbers seen in the middle of 2020, when millions of people were stuck at home and, bored out of their minds, looking for things to do. Worldwide average revenue per user (ARPU) per quarter improved from $1.03 in the third quarter of 2020 to $1.41 for the third quarter of 2021. Yet that's still only a fraction of Facebook's third-quarter global ARPU of $10, and even Snap's third-quarter ARPU of $3.49.
The point is, there's still plenty of room left for Pinterest to grow.
Lastly, add Nio (NIO 4.44%) to your list of growth stocks to buy right now without any hesitation.
Since 2018, when Tesla (TSLA 11.00%) proved that an electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer can operate at scale and also turn a (growing) profit, investors have been searching for the "next Tesla." China's Nio is emerging as that company. It delivered 24,439 battery-powered automobiles in the three-month stretch ending in September, with 10,628 of those being made in September alone. Both are record breakers for the company.
That's still only a fraction of Tesla's output, and not likely to push the company out of the red and into the black. This milestone is in sight though, with analysts calling for a swing to a profit for the quarter now underway, and a full-year profit likely in 2023. Sales are projected to grow 121% this year, with strong follow-through revenue growth of 69% being modeled for next year.
The kicker: Whereas the United States' expansion of EV charging capacity is making uneven and slow progress, China's isn't. Its state-run newspaper and news site People's Daily reported late last month that the country is now home to more than 2.2 million public EV charging stations, up more than 50% from year-earlier figures. Individuals in China added more than a million of their own personal EV charging units during this same time frame. The number of battery-swap stations also nearly doubled during this time. To the extent a lack of infrastructure is a bottleneck, Nio doesn't face anywhere near the same sort of limitations.
Teslas are also manufactured in China with 44,264 built there in August, 12,885 of which were sold in that country. So it's not the biggest EV maker in the country, but it's pretty clear Nio is a contender there and has the government and the country's consumers' firm support.