Relatively few professional money managers actually outperform the S&P 500, a broad-based index often seen as a benchmark for the entire U.S. stock market. But Jason Kritzer of Eaton Vance Management and William Harnisch of Peconic Partners have both beaten the benchmark index over the past four years. That makes them a great source of inspiration.
For instance, Harnisch more than doubled his position in PayPal Holdings (PYPL) since the beginning of 2022, while Kritzer steadily added to his stake in CrowdStrike Holdings (CRWD). Those purchases are noteworthy because both stocks fell out of favor as storm clouds have gathered over the economy. In fact, PayPal and CrowdStrike each saw their share prices plunge by 78% and 65%, respectively.
However, both stocks are well positioned to rebound during the next bull market, so smart investors like Kritzer and Harnisch see the downturn as a buying opportunity.
1. PayPal: A brand name synonymous with digital payments
PayPal is the most accepted digital wallet in North America and Europe, and it ranked as the most downloaded mobile finance app worldwide during the first half of 2022, according to Apptopia. That success stems from its two-sided network. Most payment providers work only with merchants, but PayPal has established relationships on both sides of the transaction, giving the company a data advantage.
In other words, PayPal has a deeper understanding of consumer spending patterns, which means it can combat fraud more effectively and drive sales for merchants. In addition, because it built trust with buyers and sellers, businesses that offer PayPal at checkout see higher conversion rates and more repeat purchases. In fact, PayPal improves conversion by 34% over other checkout options, according to CEO Dan Schulman.
That advantage translated into solid financial results on a relatively consistent basis, and despite economic headwinds, PayPal recently delivered a solid third-quarter earnings report. Revenue increased 11% to $6.8 billion, and free cash flow climbed 37% to $1.8 billion.
Better yet, new partnerships with Apple and Amazon should help PayPal gain market share in the future, across both physical and digital retail. U.S. consumers can now pay with Venmo on Amazon, and they will be able to add PayPal- and Venmo-branded cards to their Apple Wallets beginning in 2023. Those partnerships could be needle-moving because Amazon dominates U.S. e-commerce, and Apple Pay is the most popular in-store mobile payment option among U.S. consumers.
With that in mind, PayPal puts its total addressable market at $110 trillion, leaving plenty of room for future growth. And with shares trading at 3 times sales — the cheapest valuation since 2015 — now is a great time to buy this growth stock.
2. CrowdStrike: Unparalleled cybersecurity software
CrowdStrike offers 23 different products that address multiple verticals of the cybersecurity industry, unifying endpoint, cloud workload, identity, and data protection on a single platform. Moreover, those products are delivered through a single software agent that can be installed without a device reboot. That unique quality gives CrowdStrike an edge over other vendors, which typically burden devices and complicate workflows with multiple agents and interfaces.
In a nutshell, CrowdStrike reduces cost and complexity by allowing customers to standardize on a single cybersecurity platform, and it simplifies adoption with its single-agent architecture. Better yet, CrowdStrike designed its platform to capture data on an unmatched scale, which makes its artificial intelligence engine uniquely powerful in preventing threats. Not surprisingly, the company consistently caught the attention of industry analysts.
Research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan recently named CrowdStrike a leader in cloud-native application protection and threat intelligence. The firm also said, “CrowdStrike leads the industry with regards to the application of artificial intelligence/machine learning to endpoint security, as well as providing unparalleled prevention of malware and malware-free attacks.”
Not surprisingly, the company is growing quickly. CrowdStrike increased its customer base by 44% to 21,146 in the third quarter, and the average customer increased spending by more than 20% in the past year. Fueled by that compound effect, third-quarter revenue climbed 53% to $581 million and non-GAAP net income soared 135% to $0.40 per diluted share.
CrowdStrike is positioned to maintain that momentum in the coming quarters and years. The company estimates its addressable market at $76 billion in 2023, but its product roadmap could push that figure to $158 billion by 2026. On that note, CrowdStrike consistently showcased a remarkable capacity for innovation. While the company offers 23 software products today, its platform included just 10 software products when it went public in 2019. That should give investors confidence.
Currently, shares trade at 11.6 times sales — the cheapest valuation in the company's history. That creates a great buying opportunity for long-term investors.
Originally published on Fool.com
John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Trevor Jennewine has positions in Amazon.com, CrowdStrike, and PayPal. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Amazon.com, Apple, CrowdStrike, and PayPal. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long March 2023 $120 calls on Apple and short March 2023 $130 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.