Since the end of the Great Recession, Wall Street and investors have been focused on growth stocks. Historically low lending rates and ongoing quantitative easing from the Federal Reserve have allowed fast-paced companies to borrow cheaply and accelerate their sales growth.
As you can imagine, a lot of companies are delivering strong double-digit, or even triple-digit, sales growth in 2021 as the U.S. and global economy bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic. But according to consensus estimates from Wall Street, the following trio of popular stocks are set to more than double their sales in 2022.
Novavax: Implied revenue growth of 142% in 2022
One of the fastest-growing stocks on the planet right now is clinical-stage biotech stock Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX). The reason is simple: It’s not expected to be a wholly clinical-stage drug developer for much longer.
Novavax has found itself in the spotlight since the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic began. That’s because it’s a vaccine-focused company that’s developed an intriguing candidate to treat COVID-19, NVX-CoV2373 (these vaccine names just roll off the tongue, don’t they?). In March, the company announced that its vaccine candidate produced a vaccine effectiveness of 89.7% in a large-scale phase 3 trial in the United Kingdom. Then, in mid-June, the company released nearly identical efficacy of 90.4% from a large-scale trial in the United States. Based on trial efficacy and available safety information, it would appear to have a very good shot at obtaining emergency-use authorization (EUA) in the U.S., U.K., and Europe.
The big question marks for Novavax are where and when its vaccine might hit the market. The company delayed its EUA filing to the third quarter from the second quarter, and it’s suggested that it may not be able to ramp up to full production until sometime in the fourth quarter. This has some folks wondering if Novavax is going to miss out on the revenue free-for-all in developed countries in 2021.
But if we’ve learned anything by COVID-19, it’s that the global vaccination campaign in developed and emerging markets is a process that’s going to take a long time. Even if Novavax isn’t a major player in the U.S., there are developed and emerging markets where it can have a major impact. The company is also in the very early stages of developing a combination COVID-19/influenza vaccine that could further differentiate its product down the line.
According to estimates from Wall Street, Novavax is expected to see its full-year sales skyrocket to $5.23 billion in 2022, which would be up from an estimated $2.16 billion this year, and the $475.6 million the company reported in 2020.
Marathon Digital Holdings: Implied revenue growth of 122% in 2022
Another fast-paced company expected to deliver back-to-back years of supercharged growth is cryptocurrency miner Marathon Digital Holdings (NASDAQ:MARA).
Cryptocurrency miners are people or businesses that use high-powered computers to validate groups of transactions, known as a block, on a digital currency’s blockchain. In exchange for validating these transactions as true, mining companies are paid a block reward. Marathon is specifically focused on mining Bitcoin (CRYPTO:BTC), the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market cap. For verifying a block on Bitcoin’s blockchain, it’s paid a reward of 6.25 Bitcoin, which is worth about $203,000, as of late evening on July 8, 2021.
The reason Marathon Digital Holdings is growing so rapidly is the ongoing expansion of its mining farm. As of the end of June, the company’s active mining fleet totaled 19,395 miners. However, Marathon has nearly 84,000 additional miners on order or in transit from Bitmain. The company’s latest update notes that it’ll have in the neighborhood of 30,000 miners operational by sometime in September, with the remaining 73,000 miners (103,120 in total) being installed in a new 300-megawatt facility in Texas by no later than the end of the first quarter of 2022.
On one hand, it’s pretty easy to see why all eyes are on Marathon in the crypto mining space. Its mining fleet should be the largest in North America, which presumably gives it an edge in mining Bitcoin. This is why Wall Street is looking for Marathon’s annual sales to jump from $248.4 million this year to nearly $551 million in 2022.
On the other hand, Marathon is entirely dependent on the price of Bitcoin heading higher, rather than innovation. Bitcoin has lost half of its value over the past three months, and it has a history of protracted bear markets. Couple this with the fact that Bitcoin’s block rewards halve every four years, and this business model looks like more of a fad than anything truly investable or sustainable.
Nikola: Implied revenue growth of 950% in 2022
A third growth stock that’s expected to drive home a serious sales increase in 2022 is electric vehicle (EV) and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle manufacturer Nikola (NASDAQ:NKLA). Building from the ground up, Wall Street is looking for revenue to catapult 950% in 2022 to around $203 million from an estimated $19.3 million in the current year.
The clear and obvious takeaway is that there’s a massive multi-decade opportunity for automakers to take advantage of the consumer and enterprise shift from fossil fuel-powered vehicles to those powered by alternative energy. Even though we’ve already witnessed Tesla Motors capitalize on this transition, it still holds a very small percentage of global auto market share. In other words, there’s room for plenty of innovative EV and hydrogen fuel-cell-powered manufacturers to step and further this worldwide transformation.
But as we’ve witnessed over the past year, building an EV production company from the ground up isn’t easy. Nikola has been under the microscope since exaggerating the technological capabilities of its Nikola One electric semi truck. The company’s image has also been damaged by founder Trevor Milton, who announced his departure from the company in a middle-of-the-night tweet last year. Even the Securities and Exchange Commission opened an investigation into Nikola.
On the plus side, Nikola and Total Transportation Services (TTS) entered into an agreement in May that included a letter-of-intent from TTS to order 100 Nikola Tre battery-electric and hydrogen fuel-cell electric semi trucks. It could mark the beginning of tangible orders and recurring revenue for the company.
However, it’s also crystal clear that Wall Street and investors don’t particularly trust the company Milton built. Nikola looks to have ample cash for the time being, but ongoing losses from research and development, prototyping, and commercial-scale production could eventually challenge the company’s solvency. Even with huge projected sales growth, it’s a stock I’d suggest investors avoid.
This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.
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