Editor’s note: This story was previously published in February 2019. It was rewritten with new information and republished.
There’s no denying Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is a steamroller of a company, maintaining a growth pace that was once thought impossible. Not only was its top-line growth an impressive 17% last quarter, the e-commerce giant has finally found long-elusive profits. Over the course of the past four quarters, Amazon has generated $12 billion worth of net income.
That’s not necessarily the strongest growth being driven by publicly traded companies, however. Even stripping out the sales surges of new drug launches and fortuitous accounting quirks, a handful of names are actually making even more impressive forward progress. As such, their stocks may offer even more upside than AMZN stock does at this point.
Here’s a rundown of those names, in no particular order. Even if they’re not the ideal stocks to buy right now for your particular portfolio, their back-stories are worth exploring.
Stocks Growing Faster Than Amazon: Neurocrine Biosciences (NBIX)
Don’t jump to the wrong conclusion. Neurocrine Biosciences (NASDAQ:NBIX) did recently win a key drug approval, but that was in the second quarter of 2017. It did see its top line pop in a big way then. But the biopharma’s revenue has continued to grow at a brisk clip in the meantime. Last quarter’s sales were up 95% year-over-year, boosted by a couple more FDA approvals in the meantime.
Neurocrine Biosciences’ breadwinner is a drug called Ingrezza, which was initially approved as a means of combating tardive dyskinesia, or uncontrolled facial movements sometimes caused by schizophrenia medications.
Neurocrine Biosciences is hardly a one-trick pony though. The company has got six more clinical trials underway, and its Orilissa, for the treatment of endometriosis, was approved by the FDA in July 2018.
[Editor’s note: This entry has been edited from previous versions to correct inaccurate information.]
It’s not a name that needs an introduction. Square (NYSE:SQ) made a name for itself by disrupting the card-acceptance industry. Initially intended to let the smallest of retailers and proprietors take credit card payments by turning a smartphone into a card-reading machine, Square has since melded point-of-sale systems, customer relationship management tools and inventory management offerings with a way of accepting credit card payments.
It has been slow going. As of last year, only 22% of its volume came from sellers doing more than $500,000 worth of annual sales. That’s up from 15% just a couple of years earlier though, and it added more small sellers in the meantime. The end result is double-digit revenue growth and a persistent march toward profitability.
American Homes 4 Rent (AMH)
It’s not often a real estate investment trust is able outperform Amazon, but American Homes 4 Rent (NYSE:AMH) isn’t your usual REIT. It operates in that narrow sliver of the real estate market that, as its moniker suggests, rents single-unit dwellings to families that for whatever reason aren’t looking to outright purchase a home.
The concept is one that’s proving to be ideal in the current environment, where jobs are plentiful and paychecks are strong, but home prices have raced out of reach for would-be purchasers. That’s particularly true in more metropolitan areas, where incomes have moved ahead the most.
American Homes 4 Rent meets a need by finding affordable, existing homes rather than building a new one that won’t be affordable. This year’s revenue will only grow 6%, and the same is expected for next year. That should drive per-share earnings from last year’s eight cents to 24 cents next year though, making this REIT one of the best stocks to buy for Amazon-like growth.
Palo Alto Networks (PANW)
It has been a while since anyone’s heard about a major computer network being hacked. The last noteworthy, well-publicized one was the Equifax (NYSE:EFX) data breach, but that was from 2017. Don’t think for a minute that they’ve suddenly stopped though, or even slowed to a crawl. This year has seen dozens of huge digital data leaks. They’ve gone unnoticed and mostly uncovered because people as well as the media have become desensitized to them.
Corporations and government enterprises have certainly taken notice though, and they’re leaning on cybersecurity providers in a big way. Palo Alto Networks (NYSE:PANW) is one of their favorites, if the numbers are any indication. Last quarter’s sales were up 28%, marking the 26th consecutive quarter of sequential revenue growth.
A swing to profits is also coming into view.
Axon Enterprise (AAXN)
You know the company, even if you don’t know you know it. Axon Enterprise (NASDAQ:AAXN) is the company that used to be Taser, maker of the official Taser-branded gun that offers a non-lethal alternative to the firearms that have historically been carried by law enforcement personnel. Axon was created in 2017 by the union of Taser, Dextro and the machine-vision technology arm of Fossil Group.
The marketability of all of its wares has never been stronger. In a socially heated and culturally charged environment that has put police officers and other front-line law enforcement officials under a microscope, non-lethal options and video evidence of altercations prevent a lot of complicated, potentially explosive problems.
The proof? Axon hasn’t failed to sequentially grow its top line in any quarter since early 2012, with last quarter’s revenue growing nearly 15%. Income is still choppy, though making bigger-picture forward progress as well.
Say what you want about how carelessly, and perhaps even callously, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has handled its users’ private data. Though its members may often complain, they keep coming back for more. Last quarter’s revenue was up 26%.
Net income fell for the first time since early 2015 last quarter, but analysts don’t expect that weakness to last. Though the social networking giant has some rebuilding and rethinking to do this year, the projected profit of $7.10 per share is expected to swell to a record-breaking $9.33 per share next year.
And, despite all the company’s gaffes, FB stock has also been one of the market’s top stocks to buy for a long, long time. It’s nearly tripled in value over the course of the past five years, and is with reach of its record high of $218.62 hit in July of last year.
Tandem Diabetes Care (TNDM)
Tandem Diabetes Care (NASDAQ:TNDM) makes the t:slim X2 insulin pump, but it doesn’t stop there. It makes the software and apps that help diabetics fully, proactively manage their condition using the technologically advanced device.
The need has never been greater. Between poor diets and changing lifestyles, the diabetes epidemic is growing at an alarming rate … particularly in the United States. By 2030, an estimated 39.7 million Americans, or 13.9% of the projected population, will suffer from diabetes, up from 22.3 million in 2014. By 2060, that figure is expected to reach 60.6 million, or 17.9% of the United States’ population.
That trend, already underway, is a key part of the reason Tandem’s top line has not only been growing, but accelerating. Better yet, Tandem Diabetes Care is on pace to swing to a profit by 2021.
The market has been rewarding that progress in the meantime.
Finally, and perhaps ironically, one of the names that’s growing even faster than Amazon.com is a name that’s going head-to-head with one of its ventures. That’s Etsy (NASDAQ:ETSY). Despite the advent of Amazon’s “Handmade” venue in late 2017 that was meant to compete with Etsy’s hand-crafted fare, Etsy has proven unstoppable. Last quarter’s top line was up almost 40% year-over-year, and it’s not an unusual growth pace for the organization. The company is also now turning a regular profit, with next year’s earnings expected to soar to the tune of 45%.
The smaller outfit isn’t resting on its laurels or past results though. In another attempt to keep Amazon’s Handmade machine in check, Etsy is now offering free shipping on select, qualified purchases.