Looking for hot stocks to buy during market turbulence? Many investors have gotten excited about stock splits announced by Amazon ( AMZN -2.46% ) and Alphabet ( GOOGL -2.44% )( GOOG -2.33% ). A number of other companies have joined them in announcing a divvying up of shares. To be sure, a split does nothing to change the fundamental value of a stock, but many investors are excited about it anyways.
Though a stock split isn’t really a game changer for investors, that doesn’t mean these companies aren’t a fantastic buy right now. Three Fool.com contributors think Amazon ( AMZN -2.46% ), Shopify ( SHOP -4.18% ), and Restoration Hardware ( RH -5.29% ) are worthy of your attention, stock split or not. Here’s why.
Amazon’s a winner in two global growth markets
Anders Bylund (Amazon): E-commerce and cloud-computing giant Amazon.com has announced a 20-for-1 stock split, set to take effect on May 25. The stock price will drop from roughly $3,100 to $155 per share, and the value of your Amazon investment will not change at all. The upcoming stock split has no effect on my investment thesis in Amazon, apart from the fact that Amazon’s board of directors clearly expects share prices to continue rising. Stock splits are purely mathematical exercises, much like cutting a pizza into a large number of smaller slices. It still adds up to the same delicious tomato pie.
That being said, Amazon’s pizza really does look delicious. I see this stock as a no-brainer buy today, with or without the stock split.
Business is booming. Amazon’s 2021 revenues added up to $470 billion, just a hair short of half-a-trillion dollars. If Amazon were a country, its economic heft would be comparable to major economies like those of Sweden or Thailand. The company’s sales rose 27.6% last year, faster than any country’s gross national product growth in the same period.
At the same time, Amazon’s stock has stalled out. Share prices are down 8% year over year and 18% below last summer’s all-time highs. So you’re getting a world-class business with a unique combination of massive scale and rampant growth but without the nosebleed-inducing price premiums that usually come with high-octane growth stocks.
Like I said, Amazon is a fantastic long-term buy before the stock split, and it would have been just as great without that administrative exercise.
Very early into a 100 year-long mission
Nicholas Rossolillo (Shopify): Shopify is a giant in the e-commerce space, but it doesn’t sell anything directly to consumers. Rather, it specializes in software and related services to help aspiring entrepreneurs and small businesses build their brands for the digital era.
This e-commerce technologist has been an epic investment since its initial public offering (IPO) in 2015, obliterating market returns with a 2,160% run in just seven years (which includes a recent 60% decline from all-time highs). As of late, Shopify has been in the headlines because of a proposed 10-for-1 stock split (shareholders will vote on this proposal on June 7). The action is meant to modernize Shopify’s governance structure. Among other items related to the stock split, co-founder and CEO Tobi Lütke will be granted a “founder share” that will concentrate 40% of all voting power with Lütke.
Giving one person so much control over a business might make some investors uncomfortable. If this type of organizational structure doesn’t sit well with you, give Shopify a pass. However, Lütke has been a fantastic visionary leader thus far and not just because of the incredible stock returns since the company’s IPO in 2015. At that time, Lütke wrote a letter broadly outlining Shopify’s 100 year-long mission to “make commerce better for everyone.” Since then, hundreds of thousands of merchants from all over the globe have chosen to use Shopify services to help manage their online and digitally enhanced business journey.
Shopify isn’t finished yet. It’s still building new infrastructure to help its user base thrive (like the Shopify Fulfillment Network, for example). This is no tech start-up anymore. Shopify generated $454 million in free cash flow in 2021. That means it generates plenty of cash it can use to invest in products that align with the best interests of its small business users. In other words, Shopify has a head of steam propelling it forward. I believe Shopify will remain a high-growth company for many years to come under Tobi Lütke’s guidance, and as my nod of approval, I plan to keep adding to my position in Shopify.
RH is a little-discussed Buffett stock whose brand can withstand a slowdown
Billy Duberstein (Restoration Hardware): There is a lot of fear over a possible recession next year, which may or may not happen. No one knows. The current environment is reminding me a lot of late 2018 when the Fed raised rates in the midst of the U.S.-China trade war. The market plunged, and everyone thought it was the end of the world. Turns out, that period was a great buying opportunity.
Right now, the market fears higher oil and food prices will crush consumer discretionary spending. One of the best such stocks in the market, luxury furniture and design house RH (formerly Restoration Hardware), has rapidly lost over half its value in the past half-year and now trades at a below-market multiple of just 13.5 times this year’s earnings estimates.
Why is RH so compelling? Management, under visionary CEO Gary Friedman, is in the midst of transforming RH from a mass-affluent brand to a true luxury brand — essentially selling more expensive stuff to fewer people but at higher prices and higher margins. The strategy has been working, with revenue growing strongly over the past two years and operating margins doubling from the low-teens to the mid-20s in that short period of time. Friedman sees that trend continuing over time, believing RH can achieve the 30%-plus operating margins seen by the most prominent luxury brands in the world. Affluent people tend to spend in good economic times and bad, so luxury brands also usually command higher multiples, too.
I emphasize the words over time. 2022 is going to be a tough year for RH as the pandemic-era housing boom fades, consumers pull back on discretionary purchases because of inflation, and input costs rise. In March, management only guided to 5% to 7% growth in 2022, down from 32% last year, citing a demand slowdown that happened in conjunction with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway ( BRK.A -0.65% ) ( BRK.B -0.55% ) has owned RH stock since 2019, and one of Warren Buffett’s favorite investing styles is to invest in great companies when they get in temporary trouble.
Though the economy may slow, RH’s brand is on the rise. Management is now looking to expand RH’s brand beyond furniture to hotels, restaurants, chartered luxury planes and yachts, and even luxury homes. If that brand extension proves successful, RH’s addressable market will grow by leaps and bounds.
While the short term is admittedly uncertain, the long-term picture for RH looks bright. That’s usually a recipe for market-trouncing returns over the long term, making RH a compelling buy today ahead of its stock split.
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.