By Philip van Doorn
There are many broad approaches to the stock market for selecting individual companies or groups for investments. Momentum investing — trying to ride the wave of other investors’ sentiment — is popular for day-traders, especially during the current meme-stock craze. But it can also work over the long term.
Below is a list of momentum stocks of companies expected to show the strongest sales growth over the next two years.
To begin with a large group of momentum stocks, we can look at the iShares MSCI USA Momentum Factor ETF /zigman2/quotes/201303785/composite MTUM +0.39% . This is the largest U.S. ETF that follows a momentum strategy, according to Mark Hulbert . The fund has $14.5 billion in assets and holds 125 large- and mid-cap stocks, weighted by six-month and 12-month risk-adjusted (for volatility) performance relative to its benchmark, the S&P 500 Growth Index.
For example, the largest holding of the ETF is Tesla Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203558040/composite TSLA +3.24% , which “has experienced strong risk-adjusted performance related to the market over the past 12 months,” according to iShares (a subsidiary of BlackRock Inc. /zigman2/quotes/207946232/composite BLK +0.62% ). But shares of Merck & Co. Inc. /zigman2/quotes/209956077/composite MRK -0.37% are excluded from MTUM because even though iShares considered its 12-month return “attractive,” the stock’s six-month risk-adjusted return underperformed the benchmark.
So keeping in mind the weighting by price performance relative to the index, tempered by volatility (going back as much as three years), here are the top 10 holdings of the iShares MSCI USA Momentum Factor ETF:
|Company||Ticker||Share of MTUM|
|Tesla Inc.||/zigman2/quotes/203558040/composite TSLA||5.00%|
|JPMorgan Chase & Co.||/zigman2/quotes/205971034/composite JPM||4.76%|
|Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Class B||/zigman2/quotes/200060694/composite BRK.B||4.58%|
|Walt Disney Co.||/zigman2/quotes/203410047/composite DIS||4.48%|
|Bank of America Corp.||/zigman2/quotes/200894270/composite BAC||4.29%|
|PayPal Holdings Inc.||/zigman2/quotes/208054269/composite PYPL||3.66%|
|Wells Fargo & Co.||/zigman2/quotes/203790192/composite WFC||3.11%|
|Applied Materials Inc.||/zigman2/quotes/209393259/composite AMAT||3.00%|
|Alphabet Inc. Class C||/zigman2/quotes/205453964/composite GOOG||2.67%|
|Alphabet Inc. Class A||/zigman2/quotes/202490156/composite GOOGL||2.45%|
|Goldman Sachs Group Inc.||/zigman2/quotes/209237603/composite GS||2.30%|
Actually, there are 11 stocks listed, as MTUM holds both share classes of Alphabet Inc. Banks and insurers make up half the list, which makes sense because financials have been the second-best performing sector in the S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.18% , after the materials sector.
Momentum stock screen — expected sales growth
Thinking again about financials, they have had plenty of momentum as investors have gained confidence the U.S. economy will continue roaring back from the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
But revenue growth can be an important driver, especially for individual stock prices over the long term. From here, the financials might not be the best place to look for rapidly rising revenue over the next two years.
Starting with the 125 momentum stocks held by MTUM, here are the 15 companies expected by analysts polled by FactSet to increase revenue the most over the next two calendar years, with 2021 as the baseline. The figures are in millions of dollars:
Those are stellar sales-growth numbers — if the analysts are close to being correct. Many of the stocks are also expensive relative to the expected 2023 sales numbers. In comparison, the iShares S&P 500 Growth ETF /zigman2/quotes/208542267/composite IVW +0.13% (which tracks the entire S&P 500 Growth Index) trades for 4.2 times estimated 2023 sales.
Plug Power Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205453512/composite PLUG -0.32% tops the list, with analysts expecting sales to increase to $1.1 billion in 2023. The company said on June 10 it would build a hydrogen-production plant in Camden County, Ga.
Snap Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205087158/composite SNAP -0.29% CEO Evan Spiegal said recently the company had grown to 500 million active daily users and that almost half of U.S. smartphone users were using Snapchat.
Novavax Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202614340/composite NVAX -2.71% expects to apply for FDA approval of its coronavirus vaccine during the third quarter.
Carvana Co. /zigman2/quotes/206651606/composite CVNA -0.42% has been on a tear, with used-car demand spiking in the wake of component shortages for automobile production. The company’s sales by units increased 76% in the first quarter from a year earlier.
Uber Technologies Inc. /zigman2/quotes/211348248/composite UBER -1.29% and Lyft Inc /zigman2/quotes/208999293/composite LYFT -1.51% are also expected to ride the economic recovery wave, although analysts expect Lyft to take longer to exceed its pre-pandemic revenue level .
Palantir Technologies Inc. /zigman2/quotes/221054928/composite PLTR +0.87% rounds out the list. The developer of software used by government defense and intelligence agencies was included in this analysis of meme stocks .
Some of these companies are still in relatively early growth stages, and aren’t expected to achieve full-year profitability until 2023. Here are consensus earnings-per-share estimates for three years:
Those are very high price-to-earnings ratios based on current stock prices and consensus estimates for 2023. But for rapidly growing companies, earnings typically aren’t a priority, which explains why Amazon.com Inc. /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN +1.21% always trades at a high P/E. In comparison, the the iShares S&P 500 Growth ETF trades for 23.3 times its weighted aggregate consensus earnings estimate for 2023.
Wall Street’s opinion
Here’s a summary of opinion about the 15 companies held by MTUM that analysts expect to grow their revenue the most over the next two years:
The 12-month price targets may not be useful — for traders, this is an eternity; it may be a short period for long-term investors looking to profit for years as sales (and hopefully earnings, eventually) compound. It is important to do your own research and form your own opinion about a company’s financial health and its ability to remain competitive.