Your expectations can use a refresh button.
The best thing about growth stocks is that they often grow into their seemingly outlandish valuations. As long as earnings continue to grow, good things will typically follow.
Things get even more interesting when bottom-line growth outpaces gains in share price. Over time, that's a winning recipe for any investor.
The term "next year's earnings" now refers to 2012, and you may be amazed at how quickly some of the market's seemingly overpriced players are growing. Loftier profit targets translate into lower forward P/E multiples.
This Year P/E
Next Year P/E
Central Europe Distribution
Source: Yahoo! Finance.
Valuation is only a number
Many of these multiples -- even those clocking in for next year -- are chunky. You don't often hear something along the lines of "this stock is so cheap that it's trading for a mere 26 times next year's projected profitability."
Then again, there is more to this basket of presumably pricey stocks than meets the cynical eye.
Linn Energy is an oil and gas master limited partnership. If its chunky 7% yield doesn't win you over, its earnings multiple in the low teens may do the trick.
Travelzoo shares have come down sharply since poking into the triple digits two months ago. You know what has gone up for the travel deals publisher, though? Wall Street's expectations. Three months ago the pros figured that Travelzoo would earn $1.09 a share this year and $1.48 a share come 2012. Now those same analysts see a profit of $1.63 a share in 2011 and $2.34 a share next year. Travelzoo's success in adapting the Groupon prepaid voucher model to its travel-related specialty is fueling expectations, but the company hasn't had a problem surpassing them lately.
AgFeed Industries is trying to adapt Western-style hog production standards in China. It's easy to see why, given that China consumes half of the world's pork and it's an industry that's currently exempt from income taxes in the world's most populous nation. The rub here is that AgFeed's stateside business was profitable in its latest quarter, but not its Chinese operations. The lone major analyst putting out estimates had to scale back bottom-line targets after its latest poorly received quarter, but the stock is still priced at an unreal three times next year's income estimate.
Ancestry.com is the leading subscription-based genealogy website. Who would pay to virtually explore their family trees? There were more than 1.6 million Ancestry.com members by the end of March, 33% ahead of where the count was a year earlier. Who would stick around after fleshing out their lineages in a few weeks? Ancestry's losing just 3.7% of its users in any given month.
Finally, we have Central European Distribution. The spirited spirits maker cranks out 700 different products, though it's best known for its vodka. Its balance sheet has been sobering up, and its cash flow generation is improving. Despite toiling away in a seemingly recession-resistant industry, shares of Central European Distribution are fetching a forward earnings multiple in the single digits.
Adding it up
None of these stocks are immune to a market meltdown. If you're looking for bulwarks, you'll have to find them somewhere else.
These investments are largely high-beta growth stocks, and will likely remain that way for several more years. The key here, though, is that they aren't as expensive as pundits make them out to be.
It's the opportunity that you didn't know that you were waiting for.
Interested in reading more about any of these stocks? Add them to My Watchlist to find all of our Foolish analysis. And if you like these five stocks, check out the six stocks that Tom and David Gardner think you should be watching in a free special report.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz also believes that expensive stocks can get even more expensive, too. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. He is part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.