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All Contents © 2019The Kiplinger Washington Editors
By James Brumley
| January 4, 2017
Do you think Amazon.com (AMZN) is a growth machine like no other?
It's a beast to be sure, with the most recently-reported quarterly top line up a healthy 22%... a pace that's pretty much been the norm for a while now. Profits are growing nicely as well, as its AWS (Amazon Web Services) division—the company's fastest-growing segment—produces high-margin revenue.
Amazon.com certainly isn't the only growth name worth owning, however. There are several other companies with even better sales growth, better earnings growth or both. It's just a matter of going out there and finding them.
Just to help you move down that path a little faster, here's a closer look at the best stocks to buy if you're looking for a little more kick (or a little more value) than Amazon can offer.
Some are familiar, while some aren't. But all of them merit consideration.
Prices and data are from the original InvestorPlace story published on Dec. 28. Click on ticker-symbol links in each slide for current prices and more.
Biotech stocks are a tricky bunch to bother with, and Exelixis (EXEL) is no exception.
It's arguably worth the trouble, though.
Exelixis has been bearing revenue for several years, but it didn't fan its revenue flames in earnest until the middle of 2016. That's when its renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer) drug Cabometyx was approved.
Its sales force hit the ground running too. The drug generated $44.7 million in revenue during the fourth quarter of last year, accounting for more than half of the company's total revenue for Q4—revenue that was up nearly 700% on a year-over-year basis (Exelixis had some other things fall into place as well).
EXEL is not one of those stocks to buy for traders that can't stomach volatility. Shares stumbled more than 30% in September following bad news about a different cancer drug trial. But Exelixis has more than recovered in the meantime.
Calling a spade a spade, online review and rating site/directory Yelp (YELP) hasn't been fun or easy to own since early 2014. That's when it peaked, and even with a 186% rally off of its early 2016 lows, YELP shares are still down nearly 70% from their peak price hit three years ago.
And yet, there it is. Yelp mustered a 30% improvement in last year's top line and—oh yeah—swung to a profit three quarters ago. That profit has been widening ever since. Analysts are looking for similar growth going forward, projecting next year's profit per share to ramp up from this year's 8 cents to 37 cents.
Looks like the once-questionable premise is a viable business model after all.
Just for the record, Tableau Software (DATA) isn't growing quite as quickly as Amazon.com is. DATA still is one of a handful of hot growth stocks to buy, however, because the pace of its bottom-line growth is leaving Amazon's profit growth in the dust.
The name might ring a bell. Tableau Software has been rumored to be a buyout candidate off and on for some time now, with the most recent big suitor pegged as none other than Salesforce.com (CRM).
No such deal has been consummated yet, but it's not tough to see why a potential buyer would be interested in the data-analytics outfit. Last quarter's top line was up 23%, and the company's earnings are on a trajectory to turn positive this year.
There's no way to deny that Facebook (FB) will eventually hit a growth headwind as its total addressable market becomes increasingly saturated and the company runs out of effective ways to extract more and more revenue from each of its users.
However, that day is plenty far down the road.
For the foreseeable time being, you have to respect the organization's growth trajectory. The raw numbers? Last year's top line was up 54%, and per-share profits more than doubled. This year, analysts are projecting earnings growth of 15% on revenue growth of 37%. And bear in mind that Facebook has a knack for topping estimates more often than not.
It is what it is.
What better alternative to Amazon.com than one of the Chinese copycats of the popular e-commerce giant—JD.com (JD)?
Yes, Alibaba (BABA) is the bigger and arguably better established player on the landscape of China's e-commerce industry, but it has become a bit unwieldy with its size. JD.com is smaller and therefore more nimble, and the company is using that to its advantage.
Don't worry about the lack of income, or even the lack of clarity regarding its profitability. Like Amazon.com in its early days, JD is mostly just focused on spreading its footprint, which it's doing quite well. The top line grew 47% for the fourth quarter of last year, and JD.com has been driving that kind of growth for quite some time now.
Not unlike the United States' online travel agent market, China's OTA space started out with many players, but has been whittled down to just a few, and just one dominant name that effectively controls the market.
That's Ctrip.Com International (CTRP), which has either acquired its competition or crushed it.
Either way, the company is taking advantage of its dominance. Its top line grew 48% in 2015, and 2016's numbers were just as impressive.
Better yet, the company's management expects to see revenue growth of between 40% and 45% for the foreseeable future.
The reason CTRP has earned a spot on a list of the best stocks to buy for growth fans is now that the company has plenty of scale, it's looking for its profit margins to rise to a range of 20% to 30%. And yet, nobody's really looking.
This list of top stocks to buy for big growth is packed with some recognizable heavy hitters. Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBGI) isn't one of them.
That doesn't make the $14 billion company any less impressive, however, particularly in light of its long string of revenue and earnings growth.
Sinclair Broadcast Group does a little of everything in the world of television. Not only does it create some of its own content for syndication, it owns a handful of stations, and provides services to several others. Its most compelling feature is its ability to assimilate other media players, and when appropriate, leverage its properties into other mediums. For example, it's the owner of the Tennis Channel, and soon will be the owner of tennis.com and Tennis Magazine.
The proof of the premise is in the numbers. Sinclair has logged an average revenue growth rate of 23% over the course of the past three years, and income has grown at a similarly impressive rate.
Finally, put Abiomed (ABMD) on your list of hot growth stocks to buy sooner than later.
Abiomed is self-described as a "leading provider of medical devices that provide circulatory support." Its products enable the heart to rest by improving blood flow and/or performing the pumping of the heart.
The description doesn't quite do the company justice, however. Its Impella is the world's smallest heart pump, and as of last month, more than 50,000 of them had been implanted in the U.S. market.
Those who know the Abiomed story well, however, will know the Impella is nothing new. What's new is a couple of approvals for the Impella 2.5 and Impella 5.0, for expanded use in the United States (as of December), and for use in Japan (as of September).
Even with just the approval in Japan, we saw a strong acceleration of revenue. Q4's top line was up 33%, and it still has yet to reach full penetration with the previous approved uses and markets. The device was only given its first FDA green light in early 2015, which makes it an infant by biomedical device standards.
This article is from James Brumley of InvestorPlace. As of this writing, Brumley did not personally hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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