Fearing high inflation, many investors have tried to recession-proof their portfolios by ditching risky assets like growth stocks. Even so, the S&P 500 Growth Index is still up 82% over the past five years, easily beating the 59% return of the broader S&P 500.
Better yet, the current bear market means that many high-quality growth stocks are trading at a discount to their historical valuations. That creates a buying opportunity for patient investors.
Here are two growth stocks with monster potential.
1. Free Market
Free market (MELI 5.23%) has revolutionized commerce and payments in Latin America. The company operates the largest online marketplace in the region as measured by unique visitors and page views, and it has reinforced its leadership position with an ecosystem of value-added services.
Most notably, a large portion of the Latin American population lacks access to a bank account or debit card, but MercadoLibre has helped democratize digital payments in the region with its fintech platform Mercado Pago.
The company also provides solutions for financing, advertising, and logistics, and each of those services makes its marketplace a more compelling option for merchants. In turn, MercadoLibre wields a certain degree of pricing power. Its commerce take rate (commerce revenue as a percentage of gross merchandise volume) hit 16.7% in the last quarter, up from 15% in the prior year. Similarly, its fintech take rate hit 3.8% the last quarter, up from 3.2% in the previous year.
Financially, MercadoLibre is growing rapidly despite high inflation in Latin America. Revenue soared 69% to $7.9 billion in the past year, and the company posted a GAAP profit of $3.67 per diluted share, up from a loss of $0.31 per diluted share in the prior year.
MercadoLibre is well positioned to maintain that momentum. Forecasts from Statista suggest that e-commerce sales across the markets MercadoLibre operates in will total $260 billion by 2025. Similarly, digital payment volume across these markets will total $470 billion by 2026. That gives the company a massive market opportunity, and with shares trading at 4.1 times sales — near their cheapest valuation in the last decade — this monster growth stock is a screaming buy now.
2. CrowdStrike Holdings
Cybercriminals are getting more creative. A recent survey suggests that 45% of organizations experienced at least one software supply chain attack last year, up from 32% in 2018. A software supply chain attack is a type of cyberattack that targets upstream software suppliers as a means of infecting downstream customers.
The SolarWinds breach is a perfect example. By injecting malicious code into SolarWinds’ Orion Platform software, hackers were able to infect 18,000 different customers. In the wake of that event (and many others), effective cybersecurity has become a priority for many organizations.
On that note, CrowdStrike (CRWD 2.98%) is the gold standard in endpoint device security. The company led the industry with 14.2% market share last year, up from 7.9% in 2019. Those market share gains have translated into strong financial results, but the company’s leadership status is a key advantage for two other reasons as well.
First, it means CrowdStrike handles lots of data — about 1 trillion security signals each day — which theoretically makes its artificial intelligence models uniquely effective in identifying and preventing threats. Second, it means CrowdStrike is well positioned to attract new customers and expand its relationship with existing ones, with its significant brand authority. Better yet, the company is executing on that opportunity.
CrowdStrike offers 22 different software modules that span several verticals of the cybersecurity industry, and momentum is building in areas like cloud workload protection, identity protection, and managed services. To that end, its customer count jumped 57% in the past year, and 71% of those customers now use at least four software modules, up from 64% in the prior year. In turn, revenue skyrocketed 64% to $1.6 billion and free cash flow climbed 49% to $481 million.
Shareholders have good reason to be bullish. Management puts its opportunity at $71 billion by 2024, meaning CrowdStrike has only realized a small fraction of its addressable market. And the company believes its product roadmap and future initiatives could increase that figure to $126 billion by 2025. That gives this growth stock monster potential.
Currently, shares trade at 24.5 times sales — not cheap, but much cheaper cheaper than the three-year average of 37.9. For that reason, investors should consider buying a few shares now.
Trevor Jennewine has positions in CrowdStrike Holdings, Inc. and MercadoLibre. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends CrowdStrike Holdings, Inc. and MercadoLibre. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.