The stock market is back. At least, it seems that way after the worst first half of a year in more than five decades.
Over the last two months, the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average, and Nasdaq Composite are up 14%, 11%, and 21%, respectively. So, as market sentiment improves, where should investors look to capitalize?
To me, growth stocks are the clear answer. They drove the bulk of the losses in the first half of the year and are poised to lead the market back. Here are four names that I believe are worth holding for the long term.
Today's economy increasingly runs on digital content: infographics, digital video, blogs, social media posts, and photography. Creating, editing, and distributing digital content requires tools, and Adobe's applications are some of the best.
The company generated $4.4 billion in revenue last quarter, up 14% from the year-ago period. However, its profitability is even more impressive than its revenue growth. Adobe boasts an operating margin of 36% and a return on equity of 35%.
Its current price-to-sales ratio of 12.7 is still below its five-year average of 15.3, offering potential investors an attractive entry point.
My second growth stock to buy and hold forever is Nasdaq (NDAQ 0.21%).
Here, I'm not talking about the Nasdaq Composite Index or the Nasdaq 100 Index. Instead, I'm referring to the company behind the Nasdaq stock exchange.
The Nasdaq exchange now has over 3,700 listings, but the company is more than just the exchange itself. Nasdaq also creates, adjusts, and licenses its various indexes (such as the two noted above). Plus, it provides analytics, anti-fraud technology, and ESG advisory services.
Nasdaq estimates that the total addressable market (TAM) for its analytics segment is $19 billion; that figure grows to $26 billion for its anti-money laundering and surveillance software. Given that Nasdaq captures less than 5% of each market, management sees an enormous opportunity for growth.
Chewy (CHWY 5.05%) is another growth stock worth considering. The company operates an online pet marketplace that sells everything from kitty litter to pet insurance. It has over 20 million active users and is growing by about 4% year over year.
Chewy's business model benefits from two key characteristics: Pet spending is largely recurring and non-discretionary. Kitty litter is not optional; neither is dog food.
What's more, Chewy excels at growing sales within its existing customer base. Consider one key metric, net sales per active customer (NSPAC). The company grew NSPAC to an all-time high of $446 in its most recent quarter.
Chewy's data shows that its customers consistently increase their annual spending. First-year customers spend around $200 per year. By a customer's second year, that figure rises to $400. And by their fifth year, it's $700.
With that kind of growth, Chewy is likely to make lots of pets -- and investors -- very happy in the coming years.
My final growth stock to buy and hold forever is Airbnb (ABNB 1.20%). There's a lot to love about Airbnb, but here's something you may not have considered: How do you classify this company? Is it a tech stock? A travel and leisure stock? A real estate stock?
In truth, it's all of them. Airbnb's business model transcends many of the lines between these sectors. Its app relies on cutting-edge technology; its customers are looking for captivating travel experiences; its hosts depend on it to help pay their bills -- and maybe their mortgages.
Airbnb has emerged from the pandemic stronger than ever. The company reported 103 million nights and experiences booked in its most recent quarter, which is its highest quarterly total ever. Moreover, free cash flow surged to $2.9 billion over the last 12 months. The company is now sitting on over $10 billion in cash. Management has decided to return some of that to shareholders in the form of a $2 billion buyback it just announced.
With a price-to-sales (P/S) ratio of 11, Airbnb isn't cheap on an absolute basis. But on a relative basis, it is. Since going public, the company's average P/S ratio is 20.5 -- almost double where it is today. Investors looking for a growth stock with a bright future ahead of it would be wise to consider Airbnb now.