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2 Growth Stocks Down 53% and 65% to Buy for the Next Bull Market

By Jamie Louko – Sep 23, 2022 at 5:15AM

Key Points

  • Both of these industry leaders are down substantially from all-time highs.
  • However, MercadoLibre and Semrush continued to expand and execute.
  • It seems wise to buy these two stocks at these prices.

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Now could be the time to own these two pacesetters for the long haul.

Over the past century, the U.S. stock market has recovered from every bear market. Even after the Great Depression in the 1930s, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 75% from its previous highs, it managed to bounce back.

There's a high chance this will continue and the current bear market will end. Therefore, long-term investors should look for discounted stocks to carry ahead of the bulls' return. Here's why it might be wise to get a few shares of MercadoLibre (MELI -1.13%) and Semrush Holdings (SEMR 0.53%) before the next bull market kicks in.

1. MercadoLibre

Shares of the leading Latin American e-commerce company are down 53% from their all-time highs. This happened while MercadoLibre continued to expand its top line, so its valuation has fallen to an incredibly low multiple. Shares trade at only 5.3 times sales. There has only been one other time since coming public in 2007 that shares have traded at a lower multiple, which was in 2009. So these prices are certainly appealing. 

Global e-commerce players like Shopify and Etsy have struggled, yet MercadoLibre saw revenue jump 56.5% year over year to $2.6 billion in the second quarter. Additionally, e-commerce continued to boom in Latin America. MercadoLibre saw gross merchandise volume soar 26% year over year in the second quarter to $8.5 billion, and it sold 275 million products over the same period.

Not only is MercadoLibre one of the leaders in Latin American e-commerce, but it also dominates the emerging fintech industry. The company's digital wallet and financial services platform, Mercado Pago, now has more than 38 million active users generating $30.2 billion in total payment volume.

MercdoLibre has only scratched the surface of its full potential in the region. The company has 84 million active users across all of its platforms, yet there are over 650 million citizens across Latin America. This leaves substantial room to capture market share and increase the digitalization of finance and commerce in the region. With over $1 billion in trailing-12-month free cash flow and its current leadership status, MercadoLibre can invest to capture most of this opportunity.

The stars seem to be aligning for MercadoLibre. Shares are at their cheapest multiple in years, yet the company continues to take market share in a lucrative industry and see incredible growth. You might want to take advantage of this extraordinary situation to capitalize on the next bull market.

2. Semrush

It certainly isn't as big as MercadoLibre, but Semrush is still a leader in the marketing technology space. Semrush provides tools to help businesses optimize their marketing campaigns, including short-term strategies like social media marketing and long-term efforts like search engine optimization.

Semrush is the dominant player with 91,000 paying customers at the end of second quarter. Some of its customers are big names, too: HubSpot, Salesforce, and Meta Platforms' Facebook all use Semrush.

One of the main concerns investors had with Semrush was that it wasn't a need-to-have service. As business budgets tighten because of inflation and a possible recession, businesses can cut software that isn't crucial to their operations.

Many investors thought that Semrush would be one of those platforms. However, the second quarter demonstrated that this company is viewed as a necessity after the demand for its services barely flinched. Revenue jumped 39% year over year to $63 million during the period, and its net retention rate remained healthy at 125%.

This was likely due to Semrush's wide-reaching product suite. The company has more than 50 tools for marketing teams, making it an all-encompassing platform that businesses need to have on hand. By comparison, its rivals only specialize in a few categories, making them more dispensable in a challenging economy.

Semrush is not profitable and barely generating cash. The company lost $15 million and generated only $8 million in free cash flow over the trailing 12 months. However, that's for the best. The company has been spending heavily this year to relocate its employees who lived in Russia. Over 60% of its workforce lived in Russia before the invasion of Ukraine, and this relocation endeavor has been successful. As of the second quarter, almost all of its full-time employees had left Russia.

This spending depressed profitability, but it's a long-term investment in its people. With continued business execution and shares 65% off their all-time highs, you can buy this high-quality business at a bargain price today.

Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Jamie Louko has positions in Etsy, MercadoLibre, Semrush Holdings, Inc., and Shopify. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Etsy, HubSpot, MercadoLibre, Meta Platforms, Inc., Salesforce, Inc., and Shopify. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long January 2023 $1,140 calls on Shopify and short January 2023 $1,160 calls on Shopify. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

MercadoLibre Stock Quote
$951.57 (-1.13%) $-10.86
SEMrush Holdings, Inc. Stock Quote
SEMrush Holdings, Inc.
$9.57 (0.53%) $0.05

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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