Investors turn to high-growth stocks in the hopes of scoring huge gains over the long haul. Along the way, most high-growth stocks suffer volatile share-price movements in both directions. But while ups and downs are part of the game in fast-growing businesses, you want a company you can count on to take advantage of tough situations and thrive in good times -- without having to constantly check to make sure it's doing right by you.
To help identify some low-maintenance stocks with high growth potential, we turned to three Motley Fool contributors to come up with picks for your perusal. Take a look and see whether you agree with their analysis.
Andrés Cardenal (Google): Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is the undisputed leader in online search, to the extent that the Google brand is even a synonym for searching -- as in the term "googling" for information. Based on data from StatCounter, Google owns a massive 75% of the U.S. online search market.
In addition, Google is arguably the most ubiquitous company when it comes to the Internet. Services and applications such as Chrome, YouTube, Google Maps, Gmail, and its Android mobile operating system are just a few noteworthy examples showing how Google is an omnipresent force in the online world.
This means the company is a position of strength to capitalize on its opportunities for growth in online advertising for decades to come. High-growth social media companies such as Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) will probably gain some market share in the future, but from a much smaller base.
The mobile computing revolution is negatively affecting ad prices. While paid clicks increased 14% year over year in the last quarter, the average cost per click declined 3%. However, Google still delivered a vigorous increase in revenues of 15% during the quarter, reaching $18.1 billion.
When it comes to investing in growth stocks, Google's gargantuan market position and rock-solid competitive strengths make it a particularly solid bet.
Dan Caplinger (Priceline Group): One area that is poised to see an explosive phase of growth is the travel industry, with the soaring U.S. dollar giving tourists a chance to explore Europe and Asia more cheaply than ever. Priceline Group (NASDAQ:BKNG) stands to gain immensely from the resulting rise in travel demand, especially because among U.S. travel portals, it was one of the first to recognize the importance of building up its international presence and offering worldwide expertise to its customers.
Priceline shares ran into some resistance recently, as the stock's high valuation leaves it vulnerable to short-term hiccups. Yet the company's most recent earnings report reaffirmed the upward trajectory for its business, and despite increasingly aggressive moves from some of its competitors to try to stake their own claims in the industry, Priceline has retained its competitive advantage for now. Moreover, smart strategic moves like its acquisitions of aggregator Kayak, reservations giant OpenTable, and most recently, booking website Rocketmiles have given Priceline broader scope and greater loyalty among its customers.
With a four-digit share price, Priceline's stock moves can be a bit daunting to those who are used to more normally priced shares. From a business standpoint, though, Priceline has a lot going for it and should be able to weather any financial storms that come its way.
Tim Brugger (Facebook): There are a few considerations when investigating long-term, high-growth investment opportunities that won't require constant monitoring. First and foremost is finding a stock with a clear path for future growth. Sure, analyzing past and current financial results are important, but where will growth come from next year, and into the next decade?
What makes Facebook an ideal example of a long-term buy is that it's sitting on a gold mine of revenue opportunities. After much testing, Facebook took the wraps off video advertising across its site. Video has outstanding potential, as evidenced by the $1 million a day marketers lucky enough to participate in the testing phase shelled out. And video spots are just the tip of the iceberg.
Instagram -- the "little" photo-sharing site Facebook acquired for $1 billion about three years ago -- is worth $35 billion as a standalone property, according to one estimate. Facebook is actively testing ads on Instagram, and with its unmatched data-collection and analysis tools, once it goes live, the revenue opportunities are almost limitless. Already, Instagram has grown 10-fold, from its 30 million monthly average users, or MAUs, in 2012, to over 300 million today.
And there's more. Facebook-owned WhatsApp now boasts over 700 million MAUs, and Facebook Messenger over 500 million, and neither has been tapped as a revenue generator -- yet. Now, toss in the Oculus Rift virtual reality solution nearly ready for mass release, along with CEO Mark Zuckerberg's Internet.org initiative to bring connectivity to the world's under-served masses -- boosting MAUs along the way -- and Facebook is poised for growth well into the future.
Andrés Cardenal owns shares of Apple, Google (C shares), and Priceline Group. Dan Caplinger owns shares of Apple, Google (C shares), and Priceline Group. Tim Brugger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Facebook, Google (C shares), Priceline Group, and Twitter. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Facebook, Google (C shares), Priceline Group, and Twitter. 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.