Growth stocks typically trade at higher valuations because investors are willing to pay a premium for growth. However, fears that the global economy might slow down as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates to fight inflation have weighed on growth stocks over the past few months. That's because many companies might not grow as fast in the future if they can't access the capital they need to expand.
However, that's not an issue for some growth stocks. Companies with ample internal financial flexibility -- free cash flow and cash on their balance sheets -- can continue funding their expansion during these uncertain times. Three of my favorite cash-laden growth stocks are CrowdStrike Holdings (CRWD 0.19%), Clearway Energy (CWEN -1.81%) (CWEN.A -1.62%), and Prologis (PLD -0.17%).
A massive growth opportunity
CrowdStrike Holdings is a global cybersecurity leader with a cloud-based platform. The company's software-as-a-service business model generates lots of recurring revenue and cash flow. Revenue grew 61% in its fiscal first quarter to $487.8 million, pushing its annual recurring revenue (ARR) total to $1.92 billion.
The cybersecurity company does an excellent job converting revenue into cash. Free cash flow was $157.5 million last quarter, up 34% year over year. It's turning every $1 of sales into $0.32 of free cash. This free cash flow pushed the company's cash balance to $2.15 billion against only $740 million of debt.
CrowdStrike's financial resources give it the flexibility to continue expanding. It's investing heavily to develop new tools to capture a larger share of the massive and growing total addressable market (TAM) opportunity for cybersecurity. The company's current product portfolio serves a $58.3 billion TAM, which it sees rising to $71.1 billion by 2024. In the long term, the company sees its TAM reaching $126 billion as the market grows and it continues launching innovative new products. That sets CrowdStrike up to continue growing at a rapid rate in the coming years, with it targetting $5 billion in ARR by its 2026 fiscal year.
The cash to power high-end dividend growth
Clearway Energy is a leading clean power producer with a portfolio of wind, solar, and natural gas power plants. The company generates steady cash flow by selling the power those plants produce under long-term fixed-rate agreements. That allows it to pay a compelling dividend that currently yields 3.9%.
The company expects to grow that dividend toward the high-end of its 5% to 8% target range through 2026. One factor powering that upper-end growth rate is the recent sale of its thermal assets. It received $1.46 billion of net proceeds that it's redeploying into higher returning renewable energy investments.
Clearway has already allocated about 55% of that capital, giving it a clear line of sight on future cash flow growth. Meanwhile, it expects to put the remaining money to work in the coming years into income-producing renewable energy assets. Those deals should enable the company to steadily grow its cash available for distribution from $365 million this year to over $440 million in the future. That will allow it to support a steadily rising dividend. Add in its higher yield, and Clearway could produce market-beating total returns in the coming years.
Prologis is a leading owner of logistics real estate. It leases these properties under long-term contracts, enabling it to generate relatively predictable rental income. That helps support its 2.5%-yielding dividend.
The company paid out $1.2 billion of dividends during the first half of this year against $1.7 billion of adjusted funds from operations. That has it on track to produce about $1 billion of post-dividend free cash flow this year.
Combined with its elite balance sheet, Prologis has ample financial flexibility to continue expanding. The real estate investment trust (REIT) is building additional warehouse capacity worldwide. It also recently agreed to acquire fellow logistics REIT Duke Realty in a $26 billion all-stock deal. That transaction will provide an immediate boost to its earnings and free cash flow on a per-share basis.
Prologis also has enormous embedded growth because of the strong demand for warehouse space. Given the long-term nature of its leases, it's not fully capturing current market rents. Prologis estimates that its net operating income will grow at more than an 8% annual rate without any further growth in market rents. Add up all its growth drivers, and this REIT should be able to continue growing its dividend at a healthy rate while producing attractive total returns.
The fuel to keep growing
Some growth stocks are burning through cash. Their growth engines could run out of fuel if the economy stalls.
However, that will not be an issue with CrowdStrike, Clearway Energy, and Prologis. They have the cash resources to keep expanding during these uncertain times, and they should be able to continue growing their income and shareholder value even if the economy heads in reverse. That ability to grow amid the uncertainty is why they're some of my favorite growth stocks these days.