Is MercadoLibre (MELI) a Solid Growth Stock? 3 Reasons to Think "Yes"
Growth investors focus on stocks that are seeing above-average financial growth, as this feature helps these securities garner the market's attention and deliver solid returns. But finding a great growth stock is not easy at all.
In addition to volatility, these stocks carry above-average risk by their very nature. Also, one could end up losing from a stock whose growth story is actually over or nearing its end.
However, it's pretty easy to find cutting-edge growth stocks with the help of the Zacks Growth Style Score (part of the Zacks Style Scores system), which looks beyond the traditional growth attributes to analyze a company's real growth prospects.
Our proprietary system currently recommends MercadoLibre (MELI) as one such stock. This company not only has a favorable Growth Score, but also carries a top Zacks Rank.
Studies have shown that stocks with the best growth features consistently outperform the market. And returns are even better for stocks that possess the combination of a Growth Score of A or B and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy).
While there are numerous reasons why the stock of this operator of an online marketplace and payments system in Latin America is a great growth pick right now, we have highlighted three of the most important factors below:
Arguably nothing is more important than earnings growth, as surging profit levels is what most investors are after. For growth investors, double-digit earnings growth is highly preferable, as it is often perceived as an indication of strong prospects (and stock price gains) for the company under consideration.
While the historical EPS growth rate for MercadoLibre is 44.2%, investors should actually focus on the projected growth. The company's EPS is expected to grow 80.6% this year, crushing the industry average, which calls for EPS growth of 23.9%.
Cash Flow Growth
Cash is the lifeblood of any business, but higher-than-average cash flow growth is more beneficial and important for growth-oriented companies than for mature companies. That's because, high cash accumulation enables these companies to undertake new projects without raising expensive outside funds.
Right now, year-over-year cash flow growth for MercadoLibre is 222.7%, which is higher than many of its peers. In fact, the rate compares to the industry average of 15.7%.
While investors should actually consider the current cash flow growth, it's worth taking a look at the historical rate too for putting the current reading into proper perspective. The company's annualized cash flow growth rate has been 13% over the past 3-5 years versus the industry average of 8.1%.
Promising Earnings Estimate Revisions
Beyond the metrics outlined above, investors should consider the trend in earnings estimate revisions. A positive trend is a plus here. Empirical research shows that there is a strong correlation between trends in earnings estimate revisions and near-term stock price movements.
The current-year earnings estimates for MercadoLibre have been revising upward. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has surged 4.4% over the past month.
While the overall earnings estimate revisions have made MercadoLibre a Zacks Rank #1 stock, it has earned itself a Growth Score of A based on a number of factors, including the ones discussed above.
You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
This combination positions MercadoLibre well for outperformance, so growth investors may want to bet on it.
Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
MercadoLibre, Inc. (MELI) : Free Stock Analysis Report
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.