As a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers research team, few readers will confuse me for a deep-value investor. I prefer turnover to turnarounds. I define the "C" in DCF as "catalysts." I find more investing ideas in lists of heavily shorted stocks than among the fresh 52-week lows.

Despite all this, I'm no spendthrift. I'm passionately cheap -- and I see great prices in growth stocks.

Value investors may have been jumping all over real estate developers last summer, when they seemed to be trading at single-digit P/E multiples. But earnings crashed, multiples contracted, and homebuilder stocks fell even further.

I prefer to hitch my portfolio's wagon to stocks that are actually growing. You can try your luck at nailing the top and bottom of cyclical stocks, but I won't. Why should I, when there are just way too many bargains out there from stocks that have consistently delivered the goods?

Five for the road
Now that we're done with 2008, we're starting to get a handle on forward estimates for fiscal 2009. Let me run a few names past you. Tell me whether you thought they were trading for higher forward multiples than they actually are:


Recent Price

Next Year EPS

Forward P/E

Bare Escentuals (NASDAQ:BARE)




Hansen Natural (NASDAQ:HANS)




Axsys Tech (NASDAQ:AXYS)




j2 Global (NASDAQ:JCOM)




Adobe Systems (NASDAQ:ADBE)




Data from Yahoo! Finance.

Finding growth stocks with 2009 profit multiples running in the teens -- and even single digits -- isn't necessarily cheap in of itself. But dig a little deeper, and you may start to appreciate what some of these companies are doing.

Bare Escentuals is a minerals-based cosmetics company. This may not be the best time for prestige makeup, but it remains squarely profitable. Hansen keeps making inroads in the energy-drink market with its Monster beverages. Axsys is a niche leader in high-end surveillance cameras. j2 offers messaging and communication services for enterprises. Adobe is the runaway leader in desktop publishing software.

All five companies may not be projected to grow their bottom lines this year, but analysts see healthy advances beyond that. If you're looking for bigger names, online marketplace titan eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) is now fetching just nine times this year's earnings. The world's largest video game company -- Actvision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) -- is now trading at just 16 times next year's projected bottom line, and less than 14 times next year's profit target.    

These are growth stocks, yet they are fetching multiples that seem a better fit with sleepy utility stocks. So how can these not be the cheapest stocks that you know, too?

Buying the right kind of growth stock
The companies that I consider -- heck, demand to consider -- cheap are growing at incredible rates, yet they're priced as if they were only modestly above average. They also have a history of blowing past analyst profit targets, so the forward-looking estimates have a pretty good chance of being revised higher in the coming quarters.

That's where I want to be. Yes, Rule Breakers is a growth-stock newsletter service. Dig deep into the scorecard, and you'll find:

  • One of China's fastest-growing Internet companies, with ridiculously wide profit margins, trading for less than 11 times next year's projected earnings.
  • A luxurious pampering-services specialist fetching just 10 times forward profitability.
  • Two of the five stocks I mentioned earlier -- Bare Escentuals and Hansen Natural -- that actually do look cheap, at least in my book.

Growth stocks are the greatest value stocks I know. Remember when Google went public at $85 in the summer of 2004? Did you think it was overpriced at the time? If so, you weren't alone. But no one knew that the company was positioning itself to earn $20.95 per share come 2009. Those who got into Google early snapped up a stake in the paid-search giant for just four times next year's profits.

Getting in early on the right growth stocks is the key. Just your luck -- the growth-stock kissing booth doesn't have much of a line these days. Pucker up, my friend.

This article was originally published Feb. 15, 2007. It has been updated.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. eBay is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Bare Escentuals and Hansen Natural are Rule Breakers picks. Axsys, Activision Blizzard, and eBay are Stock Advisor picks. The Fool has a disclosure policy.