With the New Year now under way, investors are looking for stocks that can deliver multi-bagger returns in 2015 and beyond. To help you get started on the right foot, three Motley Fool contributors explain below why J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP), Bitauto Holdings (NYSE:BITA), and GoPro (NASDAQ:GPRO) are three stocks that could double in value in the year ahead.
Rich Duprey (J.C. Penney): Wall Street isn't holding out much hope for J.C. Penney. Last year was such a big year for the department store's turnaround that as it now heads into periods where it will be overlapping those strong gains, analysts foresee it coming up short, particularly with big store closings on the way.
But last month the retailer reported preliminary holiday sales for November to December showing a 3.7% increase in same-store sales, better than its 3.1% gain last year and well ahead of the 2.7% forecasts analysts were predicting. J.C. Penney's stock jumped 20% on the news.
And over the first nine months of 2014, revenues were 3.6% higher than they were in 2013 while costs were lower, leading to a 22% gain in gross margins -- all of which had Wall Street exclaiming they were shocked -- shocked! -- by its performance.
Analysts anticipate revenues rising by another 3% or so in 2015 and losses narrowing from their full year consensus forecast of $2.53 per share to $1.35 per share when it reports later this month. And in addition to J.C. Penney's improving financial picture, it just relaunched its famous catalog (albeit in slimmed down form).
Combined, these indicators suggest the department store operator is on the path to future gains, which sets it up for another opportunity to surprise Wall Street -- an event which could potentially catapult the stock and witness it double in value over the remainder of 2015.
Brian Stoffel (Bitauto Holdings): The most important disclaimer that goes with trying to find a stock that has a shot at doubling over the next 12 months is that there's just as good a chance that the stock's price gets cut in half.
Having said that, in the past, I've tried to increase the probability of finding such a stock by using a screen based on Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner's six signs of a Rule Breaker. It has yielded some huge winners like 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD), lululemon athletica (NASDAQ:LULU), and athenahealth (NASDAQ:ATHN). Since singling these stocks out, they have returned an average of 119% -- beating the S&P 500 by an average of 50 percentage points (without dividends).
By using this method, which focuses on stocks with hefty price appreciation, expensive valuations, and an out-of-favor sentiment in our CAPS community -- I think I may have found the next big winner: Bitauto Holdings.
This company serves China's booming auto-industry by providing an electronic platform to disperse pricing and listing information for millions of Chinese consumers that are -- for the first time -- considering a purchase of an automobile.
As you might expect with such a huge addressable market, growth has been heady. Earnings have jumped 85% per year over the past two years, while revenue has ticked up 47% per year. The company is founder-led -- by 40 year old William Bin Li -- and is the first-mover in this market, which can make a big difference in occupying crucial mental space in the minds of China's new generation of drivers.
Tamara Walsh (GoPro): The mountable camera maker might not seem like the obvious choice for stocks that could double your money. The stock has been getting hammered lately, with shares down nearly 45% in the past quarter. The sudden departure of GoPro's chief operating officer, combined with management's weak forecast for the current quarter and the upcoming expiration of its lock-up period later this month, are all weighing on the stock. However, these near-term weaknesses should have little or no bearing on where the stock is headed in 2015.
With shares of GoPro now trading around $45 a pop, which is closer to the lower end of the stock's 52-week range, I believe this creates a favorable entry point for long-term investors. If the pullback in the stock was related to falling sales or questionable profitability, it would be a different story. But that isn't the case. In fact, the company delivered record fourth-quarter results last week, which were underscored by 2.4 million camera shipments in the three-month period.
The company's revenue soared 75% to $634 million in Q4, blowing out Wall Street's estimates for revenue of roughly $580 million in the period. Ultimately, the more cameras GoPro sells, the more user-generated content it collects. This is becoming increasingly important for the brand as it attempts to monetize this media by licensing the content users upload to its site. Additionally, GoPro's strategic partnerships with the NHL, ESPN, and Vislink position the company to capitalize on both professional sports and live broadcasting opportunities in the quarters ahead.
These catalysts should help GoPro be a top performing stock in the year ahead, despite the recent pullback.
Brian Stoffel owns shares of 3D Systems and Lululemon Athletica. Rich Duprey owns shares of J.C. Penney Company, Inc. Tamara Rutter owns shares of Lululemon Athletica. The Motley Fool recommends 3D Systems, Athenahealth, GoPro, and Lululemon Athletica. The Motley Fool owns shares of 3D Systems. 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.