Given the recent employment report that was released earlier this morning, it looks like the U.S. economy is just getting started.
But it isn’t just the 313,000 new jobs in February that made this report so impressive. It was also the fact that wages continue to rise. They’re not rising as fast as they were in January (2.9% year over year) but they’re still moving up — 2.6% for last month.
While traditional blue-chip stocks are good choices for the volatility in the market, another good strategy is to grab some blue-chip growth stocks to take advantage of the upside move.
I look for strong momentum, rising sales and earnings, and a good chunk of free cash flow. And these 10 bulletproof blue-chip growth stocks check every one of those boxes.
Bear in mind, these are small- to mid-cap stocks, so don’t chase them. But these are the kind of stocks that do really well when the economy is in its initial build-up stages, but they can be volatile.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on March 13, 2018. It has been updated to reflect changes in the market.
Blue-Chip Growth Stocks: Lumentum (LITE)
Lumentum Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:LITE) is one of the biggest-cap stocks in this list, with a $4 billion market cap. And that puts it at the lower end of the official mid cap range.
This means LITE is small enough to take advantage of smaller opportunities than a bigger firm would — it can take business that would be impractical for a big-cap to snap up.
And given the fact that it focuses like a laser beam on, well, commercial laser beams and photonics equipment, it’s in a great spot. Optical networks, cloud computing and commercial scanning technologies all fall in LITE’s wheelhouse.
It’s already up nearly 40% year to date and that’s just the start.
Blue-Chip Growth Stocks: Kronos Worldwide (KRO)
Kronos Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:KRO) is just over the mid-cap line, sporting a market cap of $2.7 billion.
Its sole focus is titanium dioxide (TiO2), which is a whitener and brightener for paints, laminates, plastics and paper.
While this may not exactly seem like a huge growth market, given the fact that its fundamental in so may businesses, a growing economy means growing demand.
Look around your office or your home. See a lot of brightly colored and white objects? That’s TiO2 at work. And KRO has been in this business for 102 years, so it knows what its market.
It sold off in February but the expanding economy means you can get in at a good price and enjoy its nearly 3% dividend until it pops.
Blue-Chip Growth Stocks: Rayonier Advanced Materials (RYAM)
Rayonier Advanced Materials Inc (NASDAQ:RYAM) is up 11% in the last month, but off 4% year to date. Such is the fate of a $1 billion market cap company. Over the short term, the ride can be bumpy.
But the good news is that in the last month, Rayonier reported its fiscal year earnings and RYAM stock is up on the news.
A producer of cellulose products and pulp paper, it sells into markets as varied as paperboard, pharmaceuticals, tires and food products. That means when consumers are consuming, RYAM is making money.
Its 1.4% dividend yield is a nice kicker, since it show that the company is shareholder friendly.
Blue-Chip Growth Stocks: Commercial Vehicle Group (CVGI)
Commercial Vehicle Group Inc (NASDAQ:CVGI) makes components — seats, sleep cabs, seats, trim, etc — for trucks busses and heavy machinery. It is a pick and shovel company in the transportation and construction sectors.
As you may well know, transports pick up when the economy grows since more things are being bought and sold and trucks get this products to market. Also, a growing economy means construction expands.
All this works in CVGI stock’s favor.
With a $330 million market cap, it won’t take a whole lot of growth to get this stock in gear. Up 3% in the past month, and 2% year to date, the rest of this year should do wonders for CVGI stock.
Blue-Chip Growth Stocks: Sinovac Biotech (SVA)
Sinovac Biotech Ltd. (NASDAQ:SVA) is a Chinese biotech firm that focuses on vaccines.
It has two pieces of a compelling growth story. First, as a native Chinese biotech, it will be encouraged to grow and develop by the government because China is very focused on building a native healthcare system that doesn’t depend on Western companies.
Second, vaccines are a great place to start that growth process. They are the fundamental building blocks for a developed nation. Eradicating and controlling some of the most common diseases helps the greatest number of people be their best.
Up 4% year to date, SVA, with a market cap just under $470 million, has big prospects.
Blue-Chip Growth Stocks: LGI Homes (LGHI)
LGI Homes Inc (NASDAQ:LGIH) is a Texas-based home builder and real estate developer that has developments across the South, Southwest, Rockies and Northwest.
With a $1.3 billion market cap, it’s not a major builder, but it does focus its affordable houses in communities around major cities like Greensboro, NC; Orlando, FL; Austin, TX; Nashville, TN; and Tacoma, WA.
Since it also has a financing arm to it home building business, this allows LGIH to be more flexible in how it manages the rise in interest rates. For example, it can give upgrade features in a home or community to add value for a higher mortgage rate.
And its size helps it manage some of the challenges in the current real estate market. Off 18% year to date, this is a direct play for first time home buyers and empty nesters.
Blue-Chip Growth Stocks:McGrath RentCorp (MGRC)
McGrath RentCorp (NASDAQ:MGRC) specializes in mobile modular offices and portable storage units as well as electronic testing equipment.
Right now, this $1.3 billion market cap firm’s mobile modular business is most compelling.
As growth returns, that means operations are expanding. To house the new workers, sometimes it makes more sense to bring in modular offices until a business can get a sense of how much more space it might need.
The same goes for schools, as more families move into a community following the jobs that are being created there. MGRC can help on all counts. And with locations across the country, it can take advantage of opportunities regardless where they arise.
Up 13% in the past month, MGRC has also raised its dividend every year for the past 25 years.
Blue-Chip Growth Stocks: KB Homes (KBH)
KB Home (NYSE:KBH) is a mid-cap homebuilder specializing in first-time home buyers. It has a $2.5 billion market cap.
This is a great strategic market because millennials are getting to that age where they are looking to settle down and start a family. They have also been out in the workforce long enough that they have paid down some of their student loan debt and can finally think about a place of their own.
With communities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina and Texas, it is in the fastest growth areas in the country.
KBH stock is off almost 10% year to date, but management is finding ways to make more off of each sale without dampening sales, which is a good step in the right direction as the market gets hotter.
Blue-Chip Growth Stocks: Almost Family (AFAM)
Almost Family Inc (NASDAQ:AFAM) is a home healthcare provider, which includes services like nursing, rehabilitation and personal care. It has more than 340 locations in 26 states.
This is a growing field, as baby boomers start to age and look for better alternatives than moving into an assisted care facility or in with their children. The boomers were the first modern generation to get squeezed by taking care of their parents on one end and their children on the other.
As they get older, they are committed to keeping their own sense of individual freedom. AFAM is one of the nation’s leaders in helping that happen.
This is a major trend, and AFAM has plenty of growth ahead and may just be a takeover target with a big premium in coming years.
Blue-Chip Growth Stocks: Sorl Auto Parts (SORL)
Sorl Auto Parts Inc (NASDAQ:SORL) is one of the leading original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for brakes and other safety equipment in China. Half of its business comes from these sales, with another 30% from aftermarket distributors in China and about 20% in international sales.
Even in a slow economy, China is growing about 6.5% a year, which is massive given its size. The U.S. is hoping to get to 3% this year.
What’s more, the car boom has only relatively recently taken off. Add to that the trucks and busses and SORL has huge growth potential just meeting expanding demand in China.
And now, China is starting to make inroads into export markets for its cars and trucks. This could be another huge source of demand for SORL.
Up 15% in the past month, SORL has a lot of potential moving forward.
Louis Navellier is a renowned growth investor. He is the editor of five investing newsletters: Blue Chip Growth, Emerging Growth, Ultimate Growth, Family Trust and Platinum Growth. His most popular service, Blue Chip Growth, has a track record of beating the market 3:1 over the last 14 years. He uses a combination of quantitative and fundamental analysis to identify market-beating stocks. Mr. Navellier has made his proven formula accessible to investors via his free, online stock rating tool, PortfolioGrader.com. Louis Navellier may hold some of the aforementioned securities in one or more of his newsletters.