The bear market of 2022 has hit growth stocks especially hard. Major indexes like the S&P 500 (currently down about 18% from all-time highs in late December 2021) are masking some serious pain. Some tech stocks are down 50% or more.
Some of these businesses may never recover, but others are high-quality outfits that have been tossed out for no real good reason. Buying now could pave the way to incredible investment returns once this bear market gives way to the next bull. Three Fool.com contributors think Amazon (AMZN -1.77%), AMD (AMD -3.28%), and Sea Limited (SE -7.28%) are stocks that could soar once the clouds begin to clear. Here’s why.
This long-term winner looks tremendously cheap right now
Anders Bylund (Amazon): E-commerce and cloud computing titan Amazon soared in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the stock ran into a brick wall in 2022. Amazon shares are trading more than 30% below their 52-week highs, roughly double the correction seen in the S&P 500 market index.
The brutal discount makes sense at first glance. The first-quarter report in April fell short of Wall Street’s expectations. Amazon’s investment in electric car maker Rivian Automotive has been costly and disappointing so far. Moreover, the company’s guidance for the second quarter pointed to the slowest year-over-year revenue growth in Amazon’s history. So I get it if some investors are getting uncomfortable with Amazon’s $1.3 trillion market cap.
However, the company is putting in the work to rejuvenate its lagging growth trajectory, and some of the slowdown was artificial in the first place.
The Prime Day sales event fell in the second quarter of 2021 but moved to the third quarter this year, making the annualized second-quarter comparison significantly more difficult. On the other hand, the third quarter will benefit from the same calendar shift and Amazon’s next set of guidance targets should look quite bullish.
Furthermore, the calendar is lapping the growing availability of COVID-19 vaccines in the middle of 2021, which inspired many shoppers to visit local stores instead of their favorite e-commerce portals. That effect was never under Amazon’s control.
At the same time, the company continues to deliver robust business results in pretty much any market environment, despite the sliding stock price. As a result, Amazon shares are trading at some of the lowest enterprise value to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) ratios in the past 20 years. The same is true for Amazon’s price-to-earnings ratio.
This company is built to last. Amazon’s growth story should resume in the second half of 2022, as the year-over-year comparisons become less difficult. When the stock market recovers from its current inflationary pressure, Amazon shares look spring-loaded for a strong recovery. And even if the rebound comes in a bit slower, Amazon is the kind of stock you want to own for the long run anyhow. The company’s diverse exposure to cloud computing, digital media, and logistics services can keep the good times rolling even when the e-commerce business is negotiating a few speed bumps.
Long story short, I believe that Amazon stock belongs in nearly every long-term investor’s portfolio, and today’s low stock price should be seen as a buying opportunity.
A transformational merger the market isn’t accounting for
Nicholas Rossolillo (AMD): Former chip design underdog AMD has come a long way in the past decade (shares are up nearly 2,000% in the past 10 years), and it looks better positioned than ever before for the next decade. The company’s processors for data centers and other high-performance computing applications are in high demand (EPYC chip sales were up 88% year over year in Q1 2022). And on the consumer PC front, AMD isn’t an also-ran anymore. It designs some good stuff and has plenty of room to keep “chipping” away at Intel‘s market-share lead.
In a further bet on its leading silicon portfolio, AMD completed its merger with Xilinx early this year — one of the largest-ever mergers and acquisitions deals in the tech sector. Xilinx will help broaden AMD’s exposure to its fastest-growing enterprise computing end markets, as well as help AMD break new ground in arenas like automotive and aerospace and defense.
The best part about Xilinx, though, is it will lift AMD’s profit margins higher. CEO Lisa Su said full-year 2022 growth (including the addition of Xilinx) is expected to increase 60% compared with 2021. Add in fatter profit margins, and that means earnings per share are poised to grow at an even faster rate. However, as many investors have grown wary of a big slowdown in economic growth (or even recession), semiconductor stocks have been punished. AMD is down 46% from its all-time high.
Shares currently trade for 33 times trailing-12-month earnings, but trade for 20 times analyst estimates for full-year 2022 earnings — a valuation that appears to be discounting the possibility AMD’s bottom line grows well above its 60% anticipated revenue run rate. That makes AMD a buy in my book. Once some of the bearish outlook striking most chip stocks this year begins to subside, AMD could take flight again.
Sea Limited should emerge from this downturn on stronger footing
Billy Duberstein (Sea Limited): Considering its leading franchises in mobile games, e-commerce, and fintech, Sea Limited has the ability to go after a large amount of Southeast Asia’s and Latin America’s gross domestic product. Of course, these three diversified segments are all consumer-facing businesses, so they would require the economy to pick up going forward to truly benefit. That’s why Sea Limited would be a beneficiary once we get past the current economic slowdown.
Make no mistake, Sea’s second quarter and 2022 could suffer under a number of headwinds, and I would be cautious heading into the upcoming Q2 earnings report. The post-pandemic gaming hangover has already shown up in its lackluster 2022 gaming revenue guidance, while rising food and oil prices could cause consumers in the region to pull back on discretionary items. That may also slow down Sea’s hypergrowth Shopee e-commerce platform relative to its robust growth rates last year. Meanwhile, a recession could harm SeaMoney, the high-growth fintech platform Sea is building that is nonetheless subject to underwriting risks.
Still, Sea should be able to get through this period. The company was savvy enough to raise $6 billion in September of last year, through the sale of low-rate convertible notes, as well as equity sales when its stock price was $318, more than quadruple the current price. That bolstered Sea’s cash position, giving it the ability to expand without worrying about raising money for the next few years. That’s a big luxury to have, and it should enable it to extend its market-leading position in e-commerce and fintech in both Southeast Asia and Brazil over more cash-strapped competitors.
While Sea lost $580 million on its bottom line last quarter alone, management has promised to achieve positive adjusted EBITDA before headquarter costs in its Southeast Asian e-commerce operations by the end of this year, as well as becoming cash flow break-even in its SeaMoney fintech segment next year. Management also wisely pulled out of highly competitive, money-losing markets such as India and France last year, as those markets had a longer time frame to profitability. All of these indications show management “gets it” and is properly pivoting to profitability after years of hypergrowth.
The current focus on profits is appropriate and should put Sea Limited on firmer footing once we’re through this tough economic period. Once capital markets stabilize and we either get through a recession or the fears of one, Sea’s growth should pick up again, likely from an even better competitive position.
With its tentacles in so many categories and geographies across Asia and Latin America, Sea’s growth potential seems open-ended, as long as the consumer economy in those regions remains strong. That’s why I’m short-term cautious but long-term bullish on this stock, once the new bull market begins.