Investors could hurt themselves watching the stock market collapse and cashing out for the market to then quickly rebound to regain all the lost ground. Following the 2020 market plunge at the start of the pandemic, the S&P 500 took all of six months to make up the dramatic drop it suffered and then went on to continuously set new record highs.
It looked like 2022 was off to a bad start, too, as the broad market index raced toward official correction territory (a loss of 10%), only to stop just short of the threshold before making a U-turn and working its way back up.
We will eventually get that correction, and maybe even a bear market (a loss of 20% or more), but it shows the importance of holding on through thick and thin and letting your stocks play out over the long term. That's why the nugget of investing wisdom that says it's not about timing the market, but your time in the market, is so true. It means there's never a bad time to invest, and always having money available, even small amounts, is a good strategy for everyone.
By the time working Americans are ready to retire, the following pair of hot growth stocks have the potential to make those who invested in them, wealthy.
Shares of graphics chipmaker Nvidia (NVDA 1.45%) are suffering now due to the general sector rotation out of technology stocks and the high-flyers that trounced the S&P 500 last year. Nvidia's stock surged 125% in 2021 but is down 16% so far this year.
No matter, investors should view this pullback as a buying opportunity even though the stock looks expensive by traditional metrics. Despite trading at 76 times trailing earnings, 47 times next year's estimates, and 87 times the free cash flow it produces -- even after its haircut -- the premium Nvidia commands is warranted because its business remains white-hot.
While gaming is still the chipmaker's primary moneymaker, responsible for 45% of total Q3 sales, Nvidia expects its data center business to overtake that segment by 2025. It already generates billions of dollars in revenue every year, with data center sales soaring 55% in the third quarter (period ended Oct. 31) to hit $2.9 billion. And following its $7 billion acquisition of Mellanox in 2020, Nvidia is now positioned as a leading supplier for networking hardware.
Those two segments alone would be enough to justify Nvidia's lofty valuation, but it has other equally exciting opportunities, even if they don't yet approach the level of gaming and data centers.
Nvidia's professional visualization segment, for example, got a big boost from the pandemic, which created outsize demand for high-end mobile workstations that offer real-time rendering capabilities. It utilizes artificial intelligence and virtual reality to help simulate real-life designs. Revenue surged 144% year over year as growth in desktop and notebook workstation GPUs rose due to enterprises deploying new systems to allow for hybrid work situations.
It cuts across all industries, too, including automotive, media and entertainment, architectural engineering, oil and gas, and medical imaging.
Wall Street forecasts revenue will triple to over $56 billion by the middle of the decade, helping to give Nvidia a multitrillion-dollar valuation. The chipmaker is the closest thing an investor can find to a set-and-forget stock for their retirement portfolio.
Buying on installment is an old idea that's new again, and Affirm (AFRM -5.04%) is one of the leading names in the buy now, pay later (BNPL) space. Partnerships with the likes of Amazon and Shopify (SHOP -1.16%) open up vast new terrain for the lending outfit that's already starting to pay off.
Fiscal first-quarter earnings for the September period saw the number of active customers more than double to 8.7 million from the year-ago quarter and rise 22% sequentially. Amazon brings some 200 million potential customers to the table, while Shopify adds an additional 118 million.
Not everyone will take advantage of the BNPL opportunity, but it gives Affirm a much broader audience to tap. Shopify has been a partner since July 2020, and active merchants participating in Affirm's Shop Pay Installments program grew from 6,500 to 102,000 in just one year, representing a 15-fold increase.
The Amazon deal is new, but it could be a game-changer for Affirm.
Of course, there are risks involved. Privately held Klarna is the biggest player in the space, with some 250,000 merchants on board and an estimated $78 billion in global sales volume. PayPal has its own BNPL service that it launched in 2020, and Block just acquired Afterpay, giving the BNPL company its own massive opportunity to expand its universe of customers.
Affirm also still carries a premium price tag like Nvidia, even though its stock got cut down by a third in the first month of the new year and has lost 64% of its value from its November highs. It's still producing operating losses while trading at 19 times its sales.
Analysts are forecasting Affirm will see revenue grow 10 times its fiscal 2021 level to hit $3.5 billion by 2025, which would represent a 74% compound annual growth rate. New regulatory measures on BNPL here and abroad could impact growth, but it's a wide-open area for Affirm, and investors should feel comfortable buying this fintech stock for the long haul.