It’s always thrilling to find a stock spring-loaded for a quick gain. I can’t promise exactly when, but by golly, this stock is undervalued for all the wrong reasons and ready to run as soon as the market makers realize what they’ve been missing. You know?
But some of these potential jumps may be short-lived. Perhaps that magical growth catalyst is a one-time event, never to be repeated, that won’t leave any lasting benefits for the target company. And it’s not easy to pin down the best time to sell these gadfly rocket ships. Miss the peak by a day or two, and your coveted win may evaporate before you cash in the winning chips. Nailing the top of a temporary spike is pretty much impossible — just ask master investor Warren Buffett.
So what I really want to find on my daily treks through Wall Street is a stock that looks ready to deliver robust price gains — with staying power for the long haul. I don’t even care if the next big jump is coming next week or two years from now, as long as I can be reasonably sure that the shares should gain value over time.
In my view, the perfect stock belongs to a company in the early days of an unstoppable growth story, and the price-setting market makers insist that it’s not going to work. As a result, the stock under my microscope in this case would deserve a much higher price as the growth story plays out.
If you bought Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) stock in the low-price paradise of the Qwikster debacle in 2011, you’re speaking my language. The Netflix shares I added in October that year have posted a 3,850% gain so far, and I never doubted the long-term outcome. Switching the business focus from DVD mailers to digital video streams was the right idea, even if the shift was executed with the grace of a newborn moose on black ice.
I didn’t dare — and would never recommend — betting the whole farm on Netflix back then, but it was a no-brainer move to add some more shares of the entertainment pioneer to a diversified portfolio.
So let me show you two of the absolute best buys in today’s market, based on that analysis of undervalued growth stocks offering tremendous long-term value for shareholders. Like Netflix in 2011, they strike me as future juggernauts with low stock prices today. Buy them now, hold them forever, and watch your wealth grow over time. That’s the idea.
The first name on my list of essentially eternal growth stories is Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN). The e-commerce and cloud computing colossus needs no introduction. I’m sure you already heard that management always wants to run the company as if it’s “day one” with a brand new start-up.
That attitude shows in Amazon’s business results. Sales added up to a massive $281 billion in fiscal year 2019. Why stop there? Today, Amazon’s revenues over the last four quarters work out to $554 billion. That’s a 97% increase in less than four years.
And just like a hungry little start-up, Amazon is happy to invest in growth-boosting ideas even if it results in soft or negative profits in the short term. Unadjusted earnings and free cash flows were printed in red ink last year as Amazon invested billions of dollars in its one-day shipping network and the Amazon Web Services cloud computing platform. Just another year in the history of a company that always puts the customer experience first, at any cost.
“We realize that we exist to make customers’ lives better and easier every day, and relentlessly want to do so,” CEO Andy Jassy said in last year’s fourth-quarter earnings call. “And being maniacally focused on the customer experiences is always going to be a top priority for us.”
That’s exactly what I want to hear from the leaders of a trillion-dollar company. Push that pedal to the metal until you have exhausted the opportunity for further growth. Even then, I’d rather see the company taking a sharp left turn into a greater long-term opportunity than settle down for slow growth and generous dividends. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Netflix did exactly that in 2011.
And of course, that forward-looking plan isn’t always popular with Wall Street’s market makers. Amazon’s shares have posted a solid 79% gain year-to-date but the stock still sits 21% below the all-time highs in the summer of 2021. If you pick up some Amazon shares at this comfortable price point, I expect that investment to serve you well for decades to come.
Alongside the giant Amazon, there’s Toast (NYSE: TOST), a disruptive challenger in the restaurant tech space.
Currently trading at 2.5 times sales and down 6.6% year-to-date, Toast’s market value belies its potential. It’s not just a blip on the radar. Toast is transforming how restaurants operate, from point-of-sale to payroll.
And the company isn’t afraid to try some unique tactics. For example, Toast recently infused some artificial intelligence (AI) smarts into its services by adding a voice-controlled assistant. The AI-powered tool from SoundHound (NASDAQ: SOUN) can take orders over the phone or the drive-through window, help the restaurant staff manage their tables and tickets, and answer customer questions about the menu.
Toast is a disruptor at heart. Its point-of-sales hardware is sold at a loss in order to inspire stronger sales and unbreakable customer loyalty. Adding some AI brains to the system is a natural move and it sets this company apart from larger and wealthier rivals like Block (NYSE: SQ). The stock might be down now, but its innovative platform suggests it’s a long-term play waiting to be recognized.
That makes Toast another great growth stock to buy now and hold forever.
Should you invest $1,000 in Toast right now?
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John Mackey, former CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Anders Bylund has positions in Amazon and Netflix. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Amazon, Block, and Netflix. The Motley Fool recommends Toast. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
2 Growth Stocks To Buy and Hold Forever was originally published by The Motley Fool