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All Contents © 2019The Kiplinger Washington Editors
By James Brumley
| January 8, 2018
There's no getting around it—Amazon.com (AMZN) is a growth machine. Thanks to its foray into new business ventures and the ongoing expansion of different ones, sales are projected to have grown a little more than 30% last year, and are projected to swell at almost the same pace for the new year that just got underway. Few other companies can keep up with Amazon's pace.
Even more impressive is that the e-commerce giant is able to put up those kinds of numbers despite its already-expansive size. When you're already the biggest player in your respective markets, what would be a significant improvement for a competitor isn't exactly gangbusters progress for you. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, however, is continually able to find new ways of beefing up the top and bottom lines in a big way.
If you think no other companies are outpacing Amazon.com though, think again. For a variety of reasons—be it their relatively small size, a savvy business idea, or both—these eight names are growing faster than Amazon is, and should be able to keep doing so for the foreseeable future. In no certain order...
Prices and data are from the original InvestorPlace story published on Jan. 2. Click on ticker-symbol links in each slide for current prices and more.
Tronox (TROX) is anything but a top-of-mind name, sporting a market cap of only $2.5 billion and revenue of a mere $2.4 billion for the past four reported quarters. Still, the minerals miner and processor provides some of the world's most unusual and most necessary elements to all sorts of industries, making it indispensable on many fronts. It plays a particularly important role in the development of next-generation aircraft and electric vehicles.
Its importance is starting to show up in terms of fiscal performance too. The pros are calling for a 35.5% improvement in sales for 2018, which should be enough to spark a swing from a two-cent per share loss in 2017 to a profit of $1.10 per share this year. And we've only scratched the surface of building the kinds of aircraft and the number of electric automobiles that need what Tronox is selling.
The internet is anything but new. It became a relatively well-used information super highway back in the 1990's, and there are now more than one billion websites to peruse.
And yet, for a small business looking to establish a presence on the web, building a website isn't necessarily easy. Self-service websites are out there, but haven't exactly been smashing successes.
Enter Wix.Com (WIX), which makes it easy for anyone to build their site. Better still, for whatever reason, Wix is one of the website-building platforms that has clicked with smaller organizations. The proof is in the numbers. Revenue is believed to have grown 46% last year, and is projected to grow 31% this year.
Better still, Wix is expected to swing from a loss of one cent per share in 2017 to a profit of 52 cents per share this year.
Calling a spade a spade, Cheniere Energy (LNG) is a turnaround story. It's a turnaround story that has been unfurling at an amazing speed though, for the time being (and the foreseeable future) moving forward at a pace faster than Amazon is capable of moving.
Still, growth is growth regardless of the circumstances, and the pros are looking for more growth from this once-beleaguered gas and oil player. Though this year's top line is only expected to expand by 14%, that modest growth should be enough to turn 2017's projected loss of 94 cents per share into a profit of 94 cents per share in 2018.
Investors are starting to believe in the turnaround too, with LNG stock racing higher by 28% just since August's low. Throw in the fact that natural gas prices are projected to be at least a little higher in 2018 than they were in 2017, and Cheniere becomes even more interesting.
Ionis Pharmaceuticals (IONS) isn't exactly a household name, and perhaps for good reason. With a market cap of only $6.2 billion and trailing-12-month revenue of less than $500 million, it just doesn't command a whole lot of press coverage or analyst interest.
All results are relative though, and relative to 2016's top line, 2017's expected revenue of $442.6 million is up almost 28%. Sales growth is expected to be just a little better than half that pace in 2018, though this year is also expected to mark the pivot into full-year profitability thanks to Spinraza.
Sales of the spinal muscular atrophy drug were up 33% last quarter, and while its comparative revenue growth will surely slow down in the future, the prospective growth of drug candidates inotersen and volanesorsen will certainly offset any lull from its current portfolio.
For the record, cybersecurity outfit FireEye (FEYE) isn't profitable. The pros don't think it will work its way into the black this year either. And, while sales are growing, 2017's revenue growth of only 4% and 2018's projected top-line growth of just under 8% isn't exactly breathtaking.
So how, pray tell, does FireEye qualify as a name that's moving faster than Amazon is? Because the bottom line is improving at breakneck speed.
FireEye spent the last several years—and hundreds of millions of dollars—building a platform that would become a one-stop cybersecurity solution. It was a brilliant idea, but not an inexpensive one, and a model that requires tremendous scale.
All the pieces are in place now though, and the needed scale has been achieved. After losing 99 cents per share in 2016 and on pace to lose 18 cents per share for 2017, the pros only expect a loss of two cents per share this year... more than an 80% improvement in the bottom line for two years in a row. The trajectory sets the stage for a surprise move to profitability in 2019.
Don't sweat it if you haven't heard of XPO Logistics (XPO)—plenty of investors haven't. It's a logistics (read "shipping and delivery") company, but pales in comparison to FedEx (FDX) and United Parcel Service (UPS) in terms of market cap and market share.
Still, XPO Logistics is managing to rise the fast-growing need for logistics services... at least when it comes to earnings. With its scale reaching critical mass, the company is expected to report a near-doubling in its per-share income for 2017, and the pros are calling for a 49% increase in its bottom line for 2018.
Let's put it like this: XPO is hot enough that it's been pegged as a buyout candidate from not one but two big players. One of them is Home Depot (HD), and the other is Amazon.com.
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN) shares are down 27% since their late-July peak, mostly in response to failed drug trials of its flagship eye therapy Eylea, and tepid sales of eczema drug Dupixent.
Don't let the stock's meltdown fool you though. The company is doing fine. More than fine, actually. Sales are expected to have grown nearly 19% for 2017, with 2017's full-year earnings forecasts up 38% year-over-year.
And things are apt to keep moving forward at that pace. On the strength of its pipeline, Argus analyst Jasper Hellweg recently noted, "We believe that the company's financial results will benefit from potential new indications for Eylea and Praluent, as well as from increased sales of Praluent, Dupixent and Kevzara."
Regeneron has the marketing and commercial ability to roll out drugs quickly, as seen in its recent product launches."
Last but not least, add ServiceNow (NOW) to your list of names growing even faster than Amazon is.
ServiceNow provides a variety of IT and cloud-based services to organizations that don't want to build their own technology backbone from scratch. The need for what it provides is exploding, as evidenced by last year's projected sales growth of 38%, and this year's projected revenue growth of 31%. Non-GAAP earnings are improving at an even faster pace.
It's not a reason in and of itself to step into NOW stock (especially in light of the 52% gain it's dished out over the course of the past twelve months), but things are going well enough for ServiceNow that Microsoft (MSFT) has been pegged as a potential suitor.
This article is from James Brumley of InvestorPlace. As of this writing, Brumley did not personally hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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