This article was originally published on October 20th, 2015 and was updated on March 9th, 2016 to reflect new information.
Most investors are constantly on the hunt for stocks that could double quickly, as stocks that go up 100% or more in a single year can go a long way toward helping you crush the market. Of course, finding a stock that will double in such a short amount of time is very difficult -- but that doesn't mean it can't happen.
While we Fools tend to prefer a far longer investment horizon, we are always looking for stocks that hold the potential to offer investors with spectacular returns. We asked our team of Motley Fool contributors to share companies that they think could double in price in 2016. Read below to find out the names of the stocks.
Dan Caplinger: One of the hardest-hit areas in the stock market recently has been the casino sector, where a sharp downdraft in gambling activity in the Asian gaming capital of Macau has sent shockwaves throughout the industry. In particular, companies that relied heavily on VIP visitors to bolster results with their large wagers have found themselves vulnerable to China's crackdown on money laundering and other questionable activities. Because Melco Crown (NASDAQ:MLCO) has extensive exposure to Macau, its stock has suffered, falling by more than 60% in just the past couple of years.
Much of the decline has stemmed from concerns about whether Macau will ever truly recover. Yet Melco and other industry peers have shifted their focus to concentrate on appealing to mass-market visitors through entertainment, shopping, and other non-gambling attractions, and the opening of Melco's Studio City resort on the Cotai Strip could be an important step forward in profiting from that changing trend. Given how far its stock has fallen, a double for Melco Crown wouldn't even get the share price back to where it was in early 2014, and avoiding the feared worst-case scenario could push investors back to looking at the casino company's fundamentals and long-term opportunities for growth.
Brian Feroldi: Stocks do not typically double in price in a year, so trying to identify one ahead of time usually involves finding a name that Wall Street currently hates that holds the potential to surprise on the upside. One name that fits that description is Keryx Biopharmaceutical (NASDAQ:KERX). Its stock has been in the dog house since launching its first drug, Auryxia, which helps control serum phosphorous levels in patients on dialysis. Despite big potential, the drug got off to a slow start, causing short sellers to bet against the company's stock and causing shareholders a lot of pain.
However, a few catalysts coming in 2016 might be enough to scare off the bears, causing a short squeeze that could push shares higher in a hurry. The company recently announced that it obtained approval to sell Auryxia in Europe, where it goes under the brand name Fexeric. While the company has yet to announce a go-to-market strategy for the region, the company recently confirmed that it is actively searching for a partner to help it launch the drug in the region. Any news of the company finding a partner should be a positive for the company and could give the stock a boost.
In addition, the company's largest shareholder, The Baupost Group, recently made a $125 million investment in the company via a convertible bond that should give it access to all the capital it needs to ramp up marketing spending on Aurxyia. In fact, the company confirmed that it has completed its sales force expansion and it is also working to reduce its costs. The company believes it has all the capital it needs to eventually become cash flow positive.
While the jury is still out on the success on Aurxyia, if all goes according to plan this stock certainly has the potential to double, or more, in 2016.
Selena Maranjian: One stock that stands a reasonable chance of doubling in 2016 is the Chinese search engine giant Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU). It's down more than 18% over the past year, and both its recent and forward-looking price-to-earnings ratios are below 26, a far cry from its five-year average of 54. That suggests undervaluation. So why is it beaten down, and why is it promising? Let's see.
Critics will point to surging capital expenditures and shrinking profit margins. The company has been investing in many projects, such as online-to-offline ("O2O") initiatives, streaming video, app marketplaces, and travel bookings. Many of these, though, are likely to shrink overall profit margins, as few businesses can sport the fat margins of Baidu's core business of search technology.
What naysayers are missing is that Baidu's many investments today, while putting pressure on near-term profitability, could turbocharge its future performance, as its investments in mobile technology have been paying off in recent years. CEO Robin Li explained the promise of e-commerce for Baidu recently, saying: "The e-commerce market in China, in terms of penetration, is roughly the same as the U.S., but the U.S. is growing 15% a year. China is going like 50% a year."
Baidu has more than $10 billion in its coffers, giving it a lot of flexibility to ink advantageous deals or buy attractive technologies or companies. It's generating more than $2 billion in free cash flow annually, and its revenue is expected to grow by more than 30% annually over the coming few years.
Cheryl Swanson: When you're looking for a stock that could double, you're swinging for the fences, meaning you need a big appetite for risk. But one stock I've recently taken a small position in is PTC Therapeutics, (NASDAQ:PTCT), a small cap biotech which has spiraled down 90% over the past year on investor skepticism. While I wouldn't go so far as Oppenheimer, who recently predicted the stock could rise by more than 600%, this is a very catalyst-rich company over the next twelve months.
The controversy around PTC Therapeutics centers on its lead drug, ataluren, which is headed for a huge binary event. Ataluren targets nonsense mutations in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), and top-line Phase III data should be available by year's end. If the hoped-for FDA nod in 2016 appears, there could be potential read through into many other diseases, including rare forms of cystic fibrosis also based on "nonsense" mutations.
Sounds great, right? Not so fast. There's a lot of uncertainty here, since the DMD field now includes competitors Sarepta Therapeutics and BioMarin Pharmaceuticals. But PTC is also in a program with Roche Holding AG (NASDAQOTH:RHHBY) for a spinal muscular atrophy drug. On October 4, promising data came out in a mid-term trial. While PTC could certainly grind lower, it could also knock it out of the park in the next twelve months -- it's a stock that bears watching.
Editor's note (March 9, 2016): Showing just how unpredictable investing in biotech can be, since Cheryl's original write-up which was published on Oct. 20, 2015, the FDA issued a Refuse to File letter for altaren, which removed a big catalyst for the stock and caused shares to plunge. However, clinical development of its spinal muscular atrophy program is on-going, and it started a Phase 1 study for its second compound, RG7916, in January 2016.
Sean Williams: To begin with, there is no exact science to picking stocks that could double. In other words, understand that any stocks mentioned here could actually lose value. Nonetheless, if you're looking for a high-risk but potentially high-reward company that could possibly double in 2016, I'd suggest digging deeper into clinical-stage vaccine developer Inovio Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:INO).
Inovio is a bifurcated vaccine developer, meaning that half of its pipeline is devoted to infectious disease vaccine development, such as hepatitis B & C, as well as ebola and influenza, while the remainder of its pipeline is working on the development of cancer immunotherapies, which enhance the body's ability to fight cancer by reducing its immunosuppressant quality. If you're curious about which aspect is most important, Inovio's management is clear that oncology research takes precedence.
I believe the two big catalysts in 2016 could be a combination of collaborative deals and the expectation of potentially positive clinical data.
Inovio's lead drug is VGX-3100, a DNA-based immunotherapy that hit its primary endpoint in cervical dysplasia caused by human papillomavirus types 16 or 18. Aside from kicking off its phase 3 study in 2016, shareholders may get data on INO-1400, a phase 1 study in breast, lung, and pancreatic cancer, INO-3106 for aerodigestive cancer caused by HPV type 6, and interim data from its all-important study of INO-3112 for head and neck cancer as well as cervical cancer. INO-3112 is licensed out to MedImmune, meaning Inovio's advancement of INO-3112 could net the company some much-welcomed cash.
Additionally, Inovio has landed Roche and MedImmune as collaborative partners within the past two years. As Inovio's vaccine development program continues to demonstrate promise, it's possible it could attract more partners. I'm not going to speculate who those partners might be, but the cancer immunotherapy space is so hot right now that companies like Inovio with more than a half-dozen ongoing cancer studies are likely on a lot of larger pharmaceutical companies' radars.
Inovio's stock dropped around 27% in 2015, so I believe the company could be a good candidate for a catalyst-driven rebound in 2016.