Since March 2009, the S&P 500 has returned an astounding 240%, including dividends. That leaves many -- especially those more than a decade from retirement -- wondering what 2015's best stocks for growth investors are, assuming there are any at all.
Recently, three of our analysts offered up their take on that topic. Rest assured -- they still believe there are great growth stocks out there for long-term, buy-to-hold investors. Read below to find out why Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG), Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA), and LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD.DL) are their favorite growth stocks heading into 2015.
Andrés Cardenal (Chipotle Mexican Grill): Chipotle Mexican Grill is a truly exceptional player in the restaurant business. The company's food with integrity approach to Mexican cuisine is a booming success among customers. A Consumer Reports survey of more than 32,000 fast-food consumers in the month of July ranked Chipotle at the top of the list among 65 chains when it comes to the taste and quality of the food. Importantly, young consumers and millennials, a crucial demographic segment in the industry, are particularly inclined to choose Chipotle over traditional fast food players.
Chipotle has an innovative corporate culture which is quite unusual among restaurant chains. The company pays better than most competitors, and it also offers superior benefits and opportunities for professional development. This allows Chipotle to attract and retain the best talent in the industry, a crucial advantage when it comes to operational efficiency and service quality.
The business is clearly firing on all cylinders; sales jumped 31.1% to $1.08 billion during the last quarter, fueled by a jaw-dropping increase of 19.8% in comparable restaurant sales.
Management estimates that it can increase the restaurant base from nearly 1,700 locations currently to approximately 4,000 units in the U.S., and international markets are still practically untapped. Considering the strong demand for what Chipotle is cooking up, and the company's track record of success, everything seems to be indicating that Chipotle will continue delivering mouthwatering growth in 2015 and beyond.
Tamara Walsh (Tesla Motors): The electric-car maker is already a proven winner in the growth stock arena. In just three years, Tesla Motors has gone from the most shorted stock on the Nasdaq to one of the top performing companies in the U.S. stock market. In fact, shares are up more than 700% over that time, compared to a mere 45% gain in the S&P 500.
Source: TSLA data by YCharts
However, if you're worried you missed the rally, don't be. Tesla is still in the early stages of its growth story, and 2015 is shaping up to be a big year for the California-based start-up.
One of the catalysts in the year ahead is the much-anticipated release of Tesla's Model X crossover EV. The company's CEO, Elon Musk, expects to reach volume production of the Model X in the second quarter of 2015. Tesla also has other promising products barreling down the pipeline -- including its newly unveiled dual electric motor Model S car, which promises to further boost margins for the company. Together, these things should significantly bolster sales for Tesla going forward.
Like most promising growth stocks, Tesla Motors isn't without risk. The company faces execution risks heading into the New Year in regards to the build out of its massive battery factory. Tesla broke ground on its Gigafactory earlier this year, which will enable the EV maker to produce enough lithium-ion cells by 2020 to power 500,000 electric cars. Nevertheless, the rewards (think Supercharger Network, disruptive battery technology and visionary CEO) outweigh the risks for long-term investors.
Brian Stoffel (LinkedIn): Much like Tesla, LinkedIn was once thought to be an over-hyped technology company that would never gain real traction with consumers. Of course, those detractors failed to realize that LinkedIn is much less a social media play, and much more of a disruptive force in the human resources field altogether.
As it is, the company has three different revenue streams: Talent Solutions (helping companies find the right employees), Marketing Solutions (advertising on LinkedIn's platform), and Premium Subscriptions of individual users. The revenue growth the company has shown over the past four years -- in all three divisions -- is nothing short of impressive.
Taken together, this translates to revenue growth of an astounding 64% per year!
Of course, the company won't be able to sustain that pace forever, but it also has only captured a small part of the overall business-to-business market. The United States currently accounts for about 60% of revenue, but Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Asia Pacific regions have shown growth of over 40% during the first nine months of 2014.
In the end, management believes that the total addressable market for LinkedIn is $27 billion. Over the last year, it pulled in just over $2 billion. That gives you an idea for how much growth could lie ahead, and why I think LinkedIn will be one of 2015's great growth stocks to own.
Andrés Cardenal owns shares of LinkedIn. Brian Stoffel owns shares of LinkedIn. Tamara Rutter owns shares of Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool recommends Chipotle Mexican Grill, LinkedIn, and Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill, LinkedIn, and Tesla Motors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.