Since the beginning of 1950, the broad-based S&P 500 has endured 39 separate double-digit-percentage declines. That works out to one every 1.85 years — and this is most certainly one of those years. Through the first six months of 2022, the S&P 500 delivered its worst return in more than a half century.
And yet, things have been even worse for the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC), which was largely responsible for lifting the broader market to record highs in 2021. On a peak-to-trough basis, the Nasdaq has plunged as much as 38% since hitting its record high one year ago.
But therein lies the opportunity for investors. Even though stock market corrections, and even bear markets, are a normal part of investing, so is the fact that the major indexes recoup their losses (and then some) over the long run. Eventually, the Nasdaq bear market will be nothing more than a memory.
It’s a particularly good time for opportunistic investors to pounce on innovative growth stocks that have been beaten down by poor market sentiment. What follows are five jaw-dropping growth stocks you’ll regret not buying on the Nasdaq bear market dip.
The first surefire stock you’ll regret not buying as the Nasdaq plummets is Alphabet (GOOGL 1.52%) (GOOG 1.57%), the parent of streaming platform YouTube and internet search engine Google. Even with ad revenue taking a hit as the likelihood of a U.S. recession grows, Alphabet’s competitive advantages stand out like a beacon for opportunistic investors.
The key for Alphabet has long been its utter dominance in internet search. Based on data provided by GlobalStats, Google has accounted for 91% to 93% of worldwide search for more than two years. This virtual monopoly leads to substantial ad-pricing power and a mountain of operating cash flow that the company can use to reinvest in other high-growth initiatives.
One of these initiatives is YouTube. Easily one of the best acquisitions in history — Google acquired YouTube in 2006 for $1.65 billion — YouTube is the second-most-visited social media platform on the planet. With Alphabet looking at ways to further monetize YouTube Shorts, the ad revenue needle for YouTube should point significantly higher over the long term.
There’s also Google Cloud, which is the world’s third-leading cloud infrastructure service provider. Cloud spending is still, arguably, in its early stages, and Alphabet should be able to sustain a close-to-40% annual growth rate as businesses shift data online and into the cloud.
Historically speaking, Alphabet has never been cheaper.
A second remarkable growth stock that’s begging to be bought during the Nasdaq bear market decline is dog-focused products and services company Bark (BARK -6.18%). Despite Bark continuing to lose money, the company’s innovation, coupled with industry advantages, should allow this small-cap stock to shine.
The first factor working in Bark’s favor is that U.S. pet expenditures are practically recession-proof. It’s been more than a quarter of a century since year-over-year spending on pets declined in the United States. Whether it’s pet food, veterinary care, or other services, such as pet insurance, owners are willing to open up their wallets a bit wider each year to ensure the health and happiness of their furry, gilled, feathered, or scaled family member(s).
Bark’s not-so-subtle secret that should allow it to outperform most pet retail stocks is that its operating model is primarily driven by direct-to-consumer sales. Although retail order timing can fluctuate a bit (as happened during its most recent quarter), traditional commerce sales that occur in brick-and-mortar stores usually make up only 10% to 15% of total revenue. That means the bulk of sales are coming from lower-overhead subscription services designed to generate predictable cash flow and gross margin of around 60%.
On the innovation front, Bark has had plenty of add-on sales success since introducing Bark Bright for canine dental needs, and should see similar success from the ramp up of Bark Eats, which tailors dry-food diets for select dog breeds. These add-on sale opportunities can really bolster gross margin.
The third jaw-dropping growth stock you’ll regret not scooping up during the Nasdaq bear market dip is cybersecurity stock Okta (OKTA -0.66%). Although Okta’s integration of Auth0 has hit a few near-term speed bumps and led to larger quarterly losses, the future is increasingly bright for this identity verification provider.
Similar to Bark, Okta is leaning on macro trends that are very much to its benefit. Just because Wall Street or the U.S. economy hits a rough patch, it doesn’t mean robots and hackers take time off from trying to access or steal sensitive information. As time passes and businesses move their data into the cloud, the onus of protecting this information is increasingly falling to third parties like Okta.
As I’ve alluded previously, Okta’s cloud-native identity verification security platform is a big advantage. Okta’s reliance on artificial intelligence allows its solutions to grow more efficient at identifying and responding to potential threats over time. Since cybersecurity has evolved into a basic necessity service, double-digit sales growth should be the expectation for many years to come.
Eventually, Okta will benefit from the Auth0 buyout as well. In spite of higher near-term integration costs, Auth0 provides a means for Okta to enter the European market. International expansion is a necessary step that should help Okta sustain a double-digit growth rate.
Green Thumb Industries
A fourth amazing growth stock you’ll regret not buying as the Nasdaq falls is U.S. cannabis multi-state operator (MSO) Green Thumb Industries (GTBIF 0.70%). Even though federal cannabis reforms continue to fall flat, marijuana legalizations at the state level are providing more than enough catalysts for MSOs like Green Thumb to succeed.
As of the end of September, Green Thumb had 77 operating dispensaries spanning 15 states. While some of these states are high-dollar markets, such as California, Colorado, and Florida, what’s been particularly interesting about Green Thumb’s expansion is its push into limited-license markets like Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. States where license issuance is purposely limited helps to ensure that new entrants have a fair chance to establish their brands and build a following.
What’s helped to really separate Green Thumb Industries from other MSOs is its revenue mix and operating performance. In terms of the former, more than half of the company’s sales are generated from derivatives, such as vapes, edibles, beverages, pre-rolled joints, dabs, and beauty products. Derivative pot products are pricier than dried cannabis flower, and more importantly have much better margins.
That leads to the other key point: Green Thumb’s bottom line. Whereas most U.S. MSOs are still looking for their first profitable quarter, this company has produced nine consecutive quarterly profits, based on generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). No matter what happens on Capitol Hill, Green Thumb is only growing stronger.
The fifth jaw-dropping growth stock you’ll regret not buying hand over fist during the Nasdaq bear market dip is Singapore-based conglomerate Sea Limited (SE -1.00%). In spite of hefty losses in 2022 and likely 2023, Sea is building a unique trio of business segments that could power shares significantly higher over the long run.
First up is Garena, the company’s digital entertainment segment that’s powered by hit mobile game Free Fire. Even though quarterly active users retraced in the June-ended quarter to 619.3 million from 725.2 million in the year-ago period, the most important thing to note is that 9.1% of these 619.3 million users were paying to play. This is considerably higher than the pay-to-play ratio for the mobile gaming industry as a whole.
Second, Sea’s relatively nascent digital financial services segment is growing by leaps and bounds. Quarterly active users jumped 53% to 52.7 million, as of the end of June 2022. With Sea operating in a number of underbanked/emerging market regions, providing access to digital wallets could be a sustainable high-growth opportunity.
Third, there’s e-commerce segment Shopee. Although online retail sales aren’t known for supporting sizable margins, Shopee has been Sea’s eye-popping growth segment. Based on the company’s second-quarter results, it’s pacing $76 billion in annual run-rate gross merchandise value (GMV) traversing its platform. In all of 2018, Sea recognized just $10 billion in GMV. With growing adoption in Brazil and Southeastern Asia, Shopee could be Sea’s ticket to a considerably higher valuation.