With the market pulling back, many of the stocks that have seen the biggest sell-offs are ones that had large and sustained growth priced into their valuations, but some of these beaten-down growth stocks could be poised for a major turnaround this year.
With that in mind, we asked four Motley Fool contributors to spotlight a growth stock that could see its value double in 2016.
Brian Stoffel (Twitter): Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) is a strange, strange beast. The platform is an extremely valuable tool to many people. It acts as an immediate source of news and provides an opportunity to interact with high-profile figures you'd never otherwise have the chance to interact with and a chance to see what's trending in the world. And even though Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has tried to replicate those characteristics, Twitter appears to have a solid moat surrounding it.
But there's a problem: Though Twitter has over 300 million users, the company has had a helluva time trying to convince non-tweeters to jump on board. I'm not going to tell you that I know exactly how Twitter is going to fix that problem in 2016 -- though Moments is a nice start, and bumping the character limit from 140 to 10,000 would be transformational.
Instead, I believe that with founder Jack Dorsey back on board as CEO, the company will find a way to make itself relevant again. Employees have already roundly given a thumbs-up to Dorsey's performance on Glassdoor, with a 94% approval rating from around 90 employees -- probably thanks in small measure to his generous donation of his own company stock to the employee equity pool.
For Twitter to double between now and the end of 2016, it would need to reach about $40 per share. I don't think that's too far fetched. It traded for that amount as recently as last April. The company is expected to earn $0.57 per share in 2016, but it has beat analyst expectations for earnings every quarter that it has been public.
Even if we assume the company only hits $0.60 per share, $40 per share would represent a pricey 66 times earnings. But if user growth can reaccelerate, I have no doubt that investors would be willing to pay a premium for a social media company with such a strong brand.
Jeremy Bowman (Shake Shack): After flying out of the gate following its IPO in early 2015, Shake Shack Inc (NYSE:SHAK) has been on a downward spiral since, falling about 60% over the last eight months. After a sell-off like that, there's a good chance the stock could bounce back just as quickly.
Beyond the next few quarters, Shake Shack's long-term prospects look just as strong. More than a few fast-casual IPOs have fizzled out, but Shake Shack is different from the bunch. Its restaurants bring in annual revenue of $5 million on average, nearly double that of any other competitor. That figure's a testament to the company's brand strength, and should ensure new restaurants openings continue to be strong.
Shake Shack plans to open 14 stores this year, increasing its company-owned base by a third, and it plans to add about that many stores annually over the coming years. On a restaurant-operating level, the chain is hugely profitable. That success should trickle to the bottom line and the stock price eventually.
Tamara Walsh (GoPro): Action-camera maker GoPro (NASDAQ:GPRO) finished 2015 in the dumps, falling more than 73%. Ouch. If you were unlucky enough to own the stock during that downturn you're likely hoping for a rebound in the new year. Fortunately, the unusually high short-interest in the stock combined with GoPro's attractive valuation equal the perfect recipe for a double-digit gain in 2016.
In addition to how poorly the stock performed last year, shares of GoPro have since plummeted an additional 40% year-to-date. While seemingly every investor on Wall Street is running toward the exit, I believe this creates an opportunity for patient investors. Sure, GoPro made some mistakes recently. However, this is a young company with plenty of potential left in its DNA.
As of this writing, the stock is trading below $11 a pop. Look at GoPro's price/earnings-to-growth ratio of 0.82 and shares of the mountable-camera maker look even more attractively priced. Not to mention, GoPro's stock now trades at just 9 times earnings, which is one of the lowest P/E ratios in the industry. Not only is GoPro cheap today, but it also has incredibly high short-interest.
With more than 33% of GoPro's outstanding shares currently sold short, a lot of people are betting against the camera maker. This could work in shareholders' favor, as any upbeat news out of the company could trigger a short-squeeze -- meaning those who sold short have to buy shares to cover their position -- and send the stock higher. GoPro has exciting new technology coming out in 2016 including drones and a virtual reality rig. Investors also aren't wrong to anticipate new product refreshes, which if successful, could reboot investor confidence in GoPro stock.
Keith Noonan (Ambarella): Ambarella (NASDAQ:AMBA) stock has taken a beating, but the big sell-offs and a promising product lineup for 2016 give the stock explosive potential. The chip company's share price has dipped more than 35% over the last year, and trades down more than 70% from its 52-week-high of $129, but the small-cap company has a history of volatility, and a forward P/E value of roughly 12 could suggest that the stock is undervalued relative to its growth potential. The stock's price-to-earnings-growth (PEG) ratio sits at just 0.14 -- which is substantially below the PEG value of 1 that is typically used as a marker for pricing fairness.
Disappointing sales for GoPro's HERO4 Session camera have put significant negative pressure on Ambarella's stock, but GoPro will likely launch its HERO5 camera this year, and Ambarella should benefit from its largest customer debuting a major update to its core product line as opposed to the offshoot that was the HERO4 Session. Ambarella is also selling video chips to smart-home players including Alphabet and Comcast, and should see benefits as the smart-home market and Internet of Things integration takes off. Demand for drone and automobile imaging sensors could also be a driver in 2016.
Ambarella stock currently trades in the neighborhood of its 52-week low, and the company has enough potential avenues to out-performance to make doubling its share price in 2016 a realistic outcome.