November is here, nudging us ever further from summer and closer to winter.
A lot of people manage their finances at the start of each new month, and that includes taking a good, hard look at their investment portfolio. So I understand if you're hungry for fresh, timely investment ideas right about now.
To that end, a panel of Motley Fool contributors put their heads together and compiled their thoughts on the best consumer goods investments available now. This is what they found.
You'll see great businesses such as Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Coach (NYSE:COH) trading at temporary discounts. Under Armor (NYSE:UAA) may not look cheap right now, but the sporting goods giant's cash-generating powers should reward investors for decades to come. And for some Latin flavor, we went south of the border to pick up MercadoLibre (NASDAQ:MELI), the leading e-commerce platform in Latin America.
That's just the five-second elevator pitch. Dive in for more detail right here:
Anders Bylund (Netflix): Yes, Netflix shares have just about doubled over the past year in big, deep gulps. That's what a combination of grand ambitions and crisp execution can do for a fast-growing business on a global stage.
But the stock has also dropped 18% from the all-time highs it set in August and is back to price levels fondly remembered from early July. Like so many times before, Netflix shares are taking a breather on a bed of competition fears, content catalog quality worries, and negative summer seasonality.
And many a pundit will tell you -- with a straight face -- that Netflix should stop trying to grow its market so quickly and start collecting larger profits instead. Those other issues I just pointed out provide a ton of fuel to spread this misguided idea.
Misguided, it is. Wait, profits will.
Right now, Netflix is investing nearly every available penny in either original shows and movies or an ambitious international expansion effort. Sure, CEO Reed Hastings could hit the brakes on one or both of these cash sinks, creating an instant profit machine instead. But what's the point of that?
Until the hypergrowth phase is finished, Netflix's cash should be put to work and not rot away in some Swiss bank valve. Today's growth sets the stage for tomorrow's profits, and slowing down will only shrink the very foundation on which the company's golden age will rest.
Oh, you thought Netflix already entered its golden age, or maybe even passed it? Think again. Those days are still ahead, and Netflix shares still have a ton of value creation to do.
So why not take advantage of this lull in Netflix's share-price increases? I mean, the stock could drop again later in November, but it could also just get back to rising and never look back.
Andres Cardenal (MercadoLibre): MercadoLibre means "free market" in Spanish, and the company is the leading player in the e-commerce industry in Latin America. MercadoLibre is the biggest player in all of its main markets, and management calculates that 28% of all Internet users in Latin America access the platform on a monthly basis.
MercadoLibre is in the business of matching buyers and sellers of all kinds of products, including not only electronics and apparel, but also cars and real estate. The company owns its own digital payments system, MercadoPago, which accounts for nearly 57% of all payment transactions on the platform. In addition, MercadoLibre is building its MercadoEnvios shipping platform to consolidate its competitive leadership and provide a more uniform experience to customers.
Currency fluctuations in Latin America have been hurting MercadoLibre's performance lately, but the company is proving that it has what it takes to continue thriving under challenging economic conditions. Net revenues excluding Venezuela -- where the company notes "currency distortions and hyperinflation" -- grew 28.9% in U.S. dollars and 61.1% in local currencies during the second quarter, and the company retained 22.4% of revenue as operating profit.
E-commerce currently accounts for nearly 2.1% of retail transactions in Latin America, while 7.4% of retail purchases in the U.S. are happening online. The industry offers plenty of room for growth, and MercadoLibre is in a position of strength to profit from booming e-commerce growth in Latin America for years to come.
Steve Symington (Coach): I'll readily admit that Coach's latest quarterly results don't look fashionable on the surface. Net sales dropped 1% year over year to $1.03 billion, comparable-store sales fell 9.5%, and adjusted net income per share decreased 22.6% to $0.41.
But looks can be deceiving. Analysts, on average, were expecting Coach to report slightly higher revenue of $1.04 billion, but also lower earnings of $0.40 per share. And keeping in mind that Coach is still implementing a multi-year business transformation that began just over a year ago, these results represented a significant deceleration in the rate at which Coach is losing ground -- exactly what patient investors should hope to see at this point in its turnaround.
For perspective, only three months ago Coach investors also cheered when the company said revenue in the previous quarter fell 12%, while adjusted net income dropped an even steeper 48%.
As it stands, Coach effectively demonstrated continued sequential improvement in its core North American retail locations and is enjoying double-digit growth in Europe and China, and management believes this positive momentum -- however slight it might seem -- should continue into the crucial holiday season.
As long as Coach shows steady improvement with each passing quarter, and keeping in mind Coach also offers a solid dividend yielding around 4.4% annually at today's prices, I think patient investors who pick up Coach stock today will be more than pleased with their decision over the long term.
Joe Tenebruso (Under Armour): I like to invest in compounding machines -- companies that can reinvest their cash flows at high rates of return for years on end, generating enormous profits for their investors along the way.
Few businesses have compounded their shareholders' wealth as much as Under Armour in recent years, as the athletic-apparel maker's stock has surged more than 700% in the past half-decade -- nearly 10 times the return of the S&P 500 index during that same time period.
More important for today's investors, however, is that further gains look likely in the decade ahead. At Under Armour's September investor presentation, management stated the goal of doubling the size of the business by 2018 as the company embarks on an aggressive international expansion plan. Consistent with the company's culture, it's a bold strategy and will require a 25% compounded growth rate to achieve.
That would be impossible for most businesses, but for Under Armour, with its incredibly consistent track record of strong execution -- the company has delivered 22 consecutive quarters of at least 20% revenue growth -- the goal seems not only achievable, but also likely to be surpassed. As such, investors who buy Under Armour's stock today should be well-rewarded in the years ahead.
Anders Bylund owns shares of Netflix. Andrés Cardenal owns shares of MercadoLibre and Netflix. Joe Tenebruso has no position in any stocks mentioned. Steve Symington owns shares of Coach and Under Armour.
The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Coach, MercadoLibre, Netflix, and Under Armour. 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.