Since hitting its June lows, the Nasdaq index has risen by nearly 25%. Such a move has left investors wondering if the index is in a bear market rally or has genuinely returned to a bull market.

While investors do not yet know the answer to that question, some stocks should turn into excellent long-term choices regardless of the market's short-term fluctuations. Within the consumer space, retail stocks such as Costco (COST 1.68%) and MercadoLibre (MELI -0.81%) have shown such potential.


When it comes to reliability, few consumer stocks match Costco. The company has managed to drive revenue growth in almost any economic environment. Its appealing product mix and competitive pricing have manifested a virtuous cycle of higher revenue and market expansions.

Despite the U.S. accounting for 577 of its 836 stores, many mid-size metros served by Walmart's Sam's Club do not yet have a competing Costco. Moreover, many large U.S. metros, particularly east of the Rockies, still lack a Business Center. Thus, these business-oriented Costco warehouses can still help drive domestic growth.

Furthermore, only 259 locations serve the rest of the world. Since Costco has not dealt with the cultural issues that stymied Walmart's growth outside of North America, it should face few issues in further expanding abroad.

Costco claims a large base from which to expand. In the first nine months of fiscal 2022, it reported revenue of $152 billion, 16% more than in the same period during 2020. Also, despite rising merchandise costs, its $4 billion profit for the first three quarters of 2022 surged by 19% compared with the same time frame in 2020.

Such growth helped the stock rise 23% over the last year, a time when the S&P 500 dropped slightly. But the challenge with Costco stock is its expense. Due largely to its track record for reliable growth, its P/E ratio is 44. This is significantly higher than Walmart at 30 times earnings or Target at a 15 P/E ratio, leading to questions about whether Costco stock is worth paying up for.

Still, analysts forecast 16% revenue growth for the rest of fiscal 2022 and 9% in the next year. Such consistent increases and the likely future profits could make Costco's expense worthwhile.


MercadoLibre has become one of the better performers in recent months. At a time when Amazon's e-commerce sales have leveled off, MercadoLibre's online sales have continued to remain relatively robust.

However, like Amazon, MercadoLibre is not making its largest gains in the e-commerce space. In the second quarter of 2022, its commerce-related revenue increased by 22%. That did not compare to the fintech segment, which increased its total payment volume by 72% over the same time frame to $30 billion.

The fintech growth level is particularly interesting since Latin America's dependence on cash necessitated the creation of fintech-related apps. This business, which also supports fintech activity unrelated to MercadoLibre e-commerce, helped make MercadoLibre a first mover in Latin American fintech.

Through primarily e-commerce and fintech, net revenue for the first six months of 2022 came in at $4.8 billion, 57% higher than in the same period the year before. This included a 43% rise in the cost of net revenue and an 81% increase in operating expenses. Nonetheless, the $188 million in net income for the first half of the year came in much higher than the $34 million in income during the first two quarters of 2021.

MercadoLibre does not publish guidance. Analysts forecast 47% revenue growth this year and 28% in 2023. While that means robust growth, it represents somewhat of a slowdown. 

Still, the approximate 50% drop in the stock price from the 52-week high should help compensate for the slowing revenue growth. And when also considering the price-to-sales (P/S) ratio of six, MercadoLibre looks like a much better buy.