Large-cap growth stocks aren't the most exciting investments around. However, what they lack in big market-obliterating returns they make up for with consistent growth rates.

Despite a solid outlook for continued momentum in 2022, the stocks for Meta Platforms (META 0.44%), Walt Disney (DIS 0.34%), and PayPal Holdings (PYPL 1.15%) are all in the midst of a pullback. Now looks like a great time to buy more of these three large-cap stocks heading into the new year. Here's why.

Two people taking a selfie at a theme park.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Meta Platforms: Steady ad growth, big VR gains

Meta Platforms, the corporate entity formerly known as Facebook, had a solid 2021. Though the stock is down nearly 10% from all-time highs, the FAANG component is up over 25% for the year with just a couple days left until 2022. That's roughly in line with the S&P 500's 27% return. But because it's trading at just 24 times next year's expected earnings, this could be an underrated mega-cap stock.  

For one thing, CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the top team think fourth-quarter 2021 revenue will be in a range of $31.5 billion to $34 billion, up 12% to 21%, respectively, year over year. And consensus analyst estimates point to another high-teens percentage increase in revenue in 2022. It's not just digital ads growth moving the needle here anymore. Meta, as its recent name change suggests, is in the early stages of building "the metaverse" and related technologies like its own blockchain-based digital payments platform.

This is already a pretty big business. In Q4 2021, Meta will release stand-alone financials for its Facebook Reality Labs (FRL) segment, which includes the Oculus VR subsidiary. Currently lumped into the company's "other revenue" line item, FRL could already be taking in upwards of $2 billion a year in sales. Meta thinks FRL could be a sprawling empire in its own right by the end of this decade, so it's increasing annual spending on metaverse-related initiatives by $10 billion per year starting in 2022.  

It will take time for the ramped-up spending to pay off, but even so, Meta will be highly profitable next year. Trailing-12-month free cash flow was $35.8 billion, good for a free cash flow profit margin of 32%, with an additional $58 billion in cash and short-term investments on balance as of the end of September. Suffice to say Meta can continue to invest aggressively for the foreseeable future to promote steady double-digit percentage growth. In spite of myriad bad press, the social media giant will be more than just fine as it starts work on the next iteration of online experiences.  

2. Disney: The streaming wars will continue to pay off

The market turned sour on Disney this past year. Though its theme parks have started generating profitable sales again in 2021, its shares have been a huge market underperformer -- sporting a negative 15% return year-to-date and down 25% from highs reached back in March.

Much of the recent investor pessimism surrounds slowing Disney+ subscriber growth. The marquee streaming service added just 2.1 million net new subs in the last quarter (Disney's fiscal 2021 Q4). But as fellow streaming leader Netflix has proved over the years, adding households isn't consistent from quarter to quarter, and the cadence of customer pickups is largely tied to creation of new hit content.

In that department, Disney excels, and it's still ramping up its TV show and movie production in the wake of pandemic lockdowns. A steady slate of material is on the way from the Marvel and Star Wars franchises, and let's not forget steady growth at Hulu (home to most of the more adult-friendly content). Hulu added net 1 million new subs last quarter.

In all, 2021 was not kind to Disney, but I believe it will fare much better in 2022. Overall profitability is still rebounding, and the company's direct-to-consumer segment is still near peak losses as it spends heavily to increase content production for its new TV streaming capabilities. Average analyst consensus expects about a 10% increase in sales in the next year (which I think is conservative). Company profits will likely grow at an even faster rate as pandemic effects continue to wear off. With Disney stock trading at 27 times next year's expected earnings, I like the House of Mouse at this price point.

3. PayPal: Get it for a deal while expectations are still depressed

Web-based digital payments leader PayPal has had an especially bad year. The stock is currently 38% off of all-time highs and has declined 18% in 2021. Lapping its early pandemic e-commerce boom has investors fretting over the company's slowing growth rate.  

Though PayPal has indeed lost some momentum as of late (revenue grew only 13% year over year in the third quarter of 2021), this growth story is far from over. Digital payments and app-based financial services are a secular growth trend, and PayPal has an early start in this department with 416 million active accounts globally. Besides adding more users, PayPal can stoke more growth simply by getting users to utilize its apps (including Venmo) even more.  

I believe in PayPal's ability to do just that, and management seems to think so, too. Its preliminary outlook for 2022 is for revenue growth to reaccelerate to 18%, driven by ongoing digitization of the financial industry and younger generations relying on mobile services to manage their money. Venmo's integration into Amazon as a digital payment option next year could certainly help as well.  

At 36 times next year's expected earnings, PayPal certainly isn't a value even after the recent dip. However, the company is investing heavily to foster expansion, and given its track record of acquiring new customers, I expect the aggressive spending will eventually pay off. When it comes to investing in fintech stocks, PayPal is still a fantastic place to start and looks like a timely purchase as 2022 gets underway.