Unless a portfolio is constructed entirely of mega-cap stocks, it's probably seeing more red than green days lately. The market can seem like a popularity contest, and small and mid-cap growth stocks are not cool right now.
But it would help if investors looked at the positives in all of this selling pressure. With so many stocks selling off, it's a great time to buy stocks at great prices. The market has hammered these three stocks recently, but they have a long-term upside that could make them huge winners down the road.
1. Affirm Holdings
Buy now, pay later (BNPL) took 2021 by storm, growing roughly fourfold to $100 billion this past year. Experts think it could expand to 15 times its current volume by 2025. The simple structure of fixed installments that often carry zero interest is rapidly gaining popularity over traditional consumer credit cards.
Affirm (AFRM -0.62%) is one of the leading BNPL companies. It works with its retail partners to offer installment payment plans on products. Users can shop right from the Affirm app and use Affirm's payment tools when checking out. Retailers have an incentive to use BNPL because it increases order size and customer loyalty. Shoppers can fit more into their carts, and they like the simple financing. In other words, it has become a sales tool for retailers.
Affirm has secured numerous partnerships with leading e-commerce merchants, including Amazon, Walmart, Shopify, and Target. In its first quarter of 2022 (period ending Sept. 30, 2021), the company reported that its merchant partnerships had increased 1,468% year over year to 102,200. Affirm hasn't even commented on its guidance since announcing the Amazon partnership, so it seems reasonable that its 84% year-over-year merchandise volume growth in 2022 Q1 could continue from here.
Despite this good news, the stock has been caught up in a broader market tech sell-off and has fallen more than 50% from its highs. At $80 per share, the stock almost trades as low as before Affirm announced the Amazon partnership.
Affirm isn't profitable, but it's spending heavily on building new products and services; it has ambitions of becoming a broader financial services company, bringing a finance super-app and debit card to market over the coming quarters. As these products launch and revenue grows, investors should look for the business to begin heading toward a positive operating income.
2. Crowdstrike Holdings
The world is becoming increasingly digital at a rapid pace. Yet, consumers' and businesses' tools to protect themselves from digital threats are largely still behind the times. Someone could do a simple internet search and find countless instances of breached, hacked, or compromised companies.
CrowdStrike (CRWD -0.93%) is a cloud-based leader in endpoint security, in which a network protects user devices like computers and mobile devices from digital threats. In the old days, people would download antivirus software, receive occasional updates from the security company which ultimately would tell the antivirus program what threats looked like.
CrowdStrike's Falcon platform delivers various protections through the cloud, giving the software real-time information and updates. Devices connected on Falcon are linked, similar to a massive network. If an attack happens on one device, the system learns and instantly shares this information with the other devices throughout the network. As more devices are connected, it creates a network effect, and the Falcon platform learns more, faster.
The stock has had a great run since COVID-19 started but has since pulled back roughly 40% from its highs. CrowdStrike grew subscription revenue 67% year over year in its most recent quarter, the third quarter of 2022 (Oct. 31, 2021), to $357 million. The company is reporting net losses but is growing its free cash flow; it was $123.5 million in 2022 Q3, a 62% year-over-year increase. Free cash flow is a positive step toward posting a profit, so investors should look for cash flow to keep growing, and net losses to shrink over the coming quarters.
3. Sea Limited
The population in Southeast Asia is friendly toward technology; the region boasts a population of roughly 670 million, and half are under age 30. They also tend to spend eight hours on the internet each day, more than the global average. In other words, they are a great target market for digital businesses.
Sea Limited (SE -0.33%) is an internet company with various digital business segments, including e-commerce, mobile gaming, and financial services. Garena, its gaming business, is driven by FreeFire, one of the most popular mobile games in the world. It's also the most profitable part of the company, responsible for all of Sea's adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA).
The company uses these profits to expand other parts of its business heavily. For example, Sea has taken its e-commerce business, Shopee, to other regions in the world, including Latin America, Europe, and India. The company is aggressively pumping its cash back into the business to pay for the employees, buildings, and resources needed for these new markets, so the overall business is losing money right now. However, I expect that the spending eventually levels off, and revenue growth will outpace the money Sea spends, pushing the company toward profits. Investors will want to pay attention to whether losses grow or shrink in future quarters.
Sea's total revenue grew 122% year over year in its most recent quarter, 2021 Q3, and there is reason to believe that rapid growth can continue for years to come. E-commerce, gaming, and fintech are all massive addressable markets, and Sea's ambition to attack them at a global scale gives the business a virtually endless runway for growth. The stock is 50% off its highs, so investors with the patience to hold for the long term could be scooping up shares at a nice discount.