With the stock market in nearly nonstop rally mode during the past six years, investors haven't needed to look far to uncover an abundance of growth stocks. But not all growth stocks are created equal: While some could still deliver extraordinary gains from here, others appear considerably overvalued now, and might instead burden investors with hefty losses.
What exactly is a growth stock? Though it's an arbitrary number, I'll define a growth stock as any company forecast to grow profits by 10% or more annually during the next five years. To decide what's "cheap," I'll use the PEG ratio, which compares a company's price-to-earnings ratio to its future growth rate. Any figure around or below one could signal a cheap stock.
Here are three companies that fit the bill.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles(FCAU)
I figured we'd start off this week by going 0-60 in a flash, or at least going off the beaten path, by taking a closer look at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (NYSE: FCAU).
What's been ailing Fiat Chrysler of late? Look no further than economic slowdowns in Latin America and Asia. Weaker growth in Asia, compounded by currency devaluations and growth struggles in countries like Brazil, clearly have some investors concerned that the automaker's growth could be stymied. Also,it's working with a large amount of debt that could hamper its ongoing efforts.
But skeptics may want to consider letting their foot off the brake for a handful of reasons.
To begin with, Jeep sales are hot. Like scorching hot. Sales of the Grand Cherokee have almost quadrupled between 2009 and 2015 in the United States, and the introduction of the Cherokee in China should pack some serious punch for Fiat Chrysler. Further, production of the Renegade is allowing the company to take a serious bite out of the compact SUV market overseas. Fiat Chrysler intends to exploit Jeep's strength to the fullest extent possible.
Along those same lines, its focus on using overseas assembly plants is helping shorten delivery times, allowing the company to take advantage of cheaper labor, and is reducing supply chain costs. It hasn't been a perfect strategy, especially with the economies of China and Brazil slowing, but it should deliver strong returns over the long run.
Lastly, we're seeing a strong response in the U.S. to falling gas prices, which are encouraging consumers to take the plunge on SUVs and trucks (the Dodge Ram, for instance). SUVs and trucks typically have juicier margins than sedans, meaning savings at the pump are benefiting most automakers.
With profits projected to be in the 8.7 billion euro to 9.8 billion euro range by 2018, and a microscopic single-digit forward P/E, Fiat Chrysler is a stock growth and value investors will want to keep their eyes on.
Next up, I have a cheap growth stock that could set your portfolio up for a hole-in-one: ClubCorp (NYSE: MYCC).
ClubCorp, as the name implies, is an owner and operator of membership-based golf clubs and courses, as well as business, country, sports, and alumni-based clubs. In recent months, the company's valuation has taken a nasty tumble as heavy rainfall in Texas has "swamped" its earnings potential, and weakness in oil prices is seen as threatening the pocketbooks of ClubCorp's clientele. While there is some merit to these concerns -- ClubCorp has fallen short of Wall Street's earnings forecast for three straight quarters -- there's also plenty of fairway to be seen if you dig deeper.
There are two particular factors that make ClubCorp stand out: its growth strategy and its clientele.
In terms of growth, ClubCorp has a self-described three-pronged strategy that involves organic growth, reinvention, and acquisitions. Organic growth involves marketing to new members and boosting membership prices to grow its top and bottom lines. Reinvention entails sprucing up its clubs with multimillion-dollar investments to make them more attractive to members and their families. Lastly, acquisitions provide an immediate boost to top-line and bottom-line results. In 2015, based on the company's preliminary full-year results, revenue rose 19.1%, and EBITDA hit a record for the fifth consecutive year. In short, the strategy appears to be working.
The second component is ClubCorp's clientele. Membership-based clubs typically are targeting the affluent, who are likely to be less fazed by a recession or downturn in the U.S. economy. Even though the drop in oil prices may be of concern in to members on Texas, the company's broad portfolio of clubs across more than two dozen states more than negates this worry, in my view.
Sporting a PEG ratio of around one, and projected to grow its full-year EPS from $0.05 in 2015 to $0.57 by 2017, ClubCorp could be a solid investment worth considering.
Dominion Diamond Corp.
Finally, if you want to make your portfolio really sparkle, consider the cheap growth turnaround story of Dominion Diamond (NYSE: DDC).
Dominion Diamond is the operator of the Diavik and Ekati diamond mines in Canada, and as you can tell from its share price, the company has fallen on tough times recently. Its CEO vacated his role last year, and weakness in overseas markets like China has reduced demand for rough diamonds. Dominion has needed to cut its prices in order to move its product, and the result has been a substantial fall off in top-line and bottom-line results.
Yet it could be just a matter of time before Dominion Diamond is sparkling once again. For instance, a number of charges the company has taken recently are one-time in nature, such as the CEO departure, or for foreign currency translation. These charges don't truly reflect the health of Dominion Diamond's business model.
Secondly, diamond prices as a whole have held up well, likely implying that whatever supply issues are being worked through in China will be short term. Diamond Search Engine's Diamond Price Index has been range-bound for three years -- between 210 and 221 -- meaning the downside pricing pressure Dominion Diamond is currently dealing with is likely only temporary.
We're also seeing pressure from activist investors for Dominion to consider a possible sale, or to boost its already impressive shareholder yield. This is a company with a strong cash position that's on track to bring its Misery main pipe in the Ekati mine online next year, and which could, according to Wall Street, deliver more than $2 in EPS by 2019.
This diamond in the rough could be polished once again very soon.