[Editor’s note: “The Top 15 Stocks to Buy in 2020” is regularly updated to include the most relevant information available.]
At the beginning of the year, I unveiled a list of the top 15 stocks to buy in 2020.
A lot has happened since then. NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter died in a helicopter crash. A world-changing pandemic (Covid-19) essentially shut down the global economy in March. The U.S. economy plunged into a recession. The world’s longest bull market ended. Video footage of a brutal police killing sparked huge protests and riots across the country, the likes of which we haven’t seen for decades.
Through it all, this portfolio of the top stocks to buy in 2020 hasn’t just held up — it’s shined bright.
Year-to-date, that portfolio is up a whopping 52%.
By comparison, the S&P 500 is down 6% year-to-date.
Why? Because today’s risks facing the markets are temporary. They will pass. And when they do, long-term winning stocks will get back to doing what they do best — win — especially in a market flooded with unlimited liquidity and an economy boosted by unlimited stimulus.
That’s why I doubled down on my list of the top stocks to buy in 2020 during the big stock market rout in March. It’s also why I’m doubling down on this list of top stocks to buy in 2020 today, amid concerns of a “second wave” of Covid-19 and social unrest delaying reopening progress.
Again, these risks are temporary. They will pass. And this portfolio of the top stocks to buy in 2020 will continue to outperform.
With that in mind, the top 15 stocks to buy for 2020 are (with year-to-date performance):
- Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) +7.1%
- Activision (NASDAQ:ATVI) +27.2%
- Shopify (NYSE:SHOP) +130.5%
- Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND) +71.2%
- Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) +37.3%
- Pinterest (NYSE:PINS) +16.7%
- Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC) -22.7%
- Square (NYSE:SQ) +65.3%
- The Trade Desk (NASDAQ:TTD) +56.4%
- Etsy (NASDAQ:ETSY) +130.7%
- Okta (NASDAQ:OKTA) +72.7%
- JD.com (NASDAQ:JD) +68.6%
- Stitch Fix (NASDAQ:SFIX) -4.2%
- Nio (NYSE:NIO) +77.1%
- Snap (NYSE:SNAP) +40.7%
Top Stocks to Buy for 2020: Facebook (FB)
Year-to-Date Performance: +7.1%
The bull thesis on global social media giant Facebook is pretty simple.
While the coronavirus pandemic and recent ad boycotts will absolutely kill Facebook’s revenues in the second quarter of 2020, these headwinds won’t last forever. The economic fallout of Covid-19 is already passing, while history shows that ad boycotts of major online media platforms don’t last long — see YouTube in 2017.
When these headwinds fade, Facebook will get back to firing on all cylinders.
The company owns four social media apps. Each of them have over a billion users. Each of them is very sticky, and quasi-utilities in today’s digital age. In other words, Facebook will maintain a multi-billion user ecosystem for the next several years.
Accordingly, the company will continue to dominate the global digital ad market, which will grow at a steady pace once the economy gets back to normal. Add in potential e-commerce expansion with newly launched Shops, and you’re talking big growth potential here, at high profit margins, too.
Net net, Facebook projects as a 20%-plus revenue and profit grower for a lot longer. That big growth will propel FB stock higher both in 2020 (as the ad market rebounds on the back of resurgent consumer spending) and over the long-haul.
Activision Blizzard (ATVI)
Year-to-Date Performance: +27.2%
Much like Facebook’s bull thesis, the bull thesis for video game publisher Activision Blizzard is very simple.
Consumers love video games. This love for video games won’t die down anytime soon. Consumers will continue to love and play video games for the foreseeable future — and perhaps even more-so over the next few years, as some consumers remain hesitant to interact with people for fear of getting sick.
Activision is one of, if not the, most important player in the console video game market. Supported by blockbuster franchises such as Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, Activision has a video game portfolio robust enough so that, as long as consumers keep playing video games, they will keep playing Activision games. That strong video game portfolio is also “mobilizing”, and Activision is turning into a leading mobile video game publisher, too.
Add on the facts that new consoles are launching later this year for the first time since 2013, and that Activision has huge upside potential in the new eSports world, and the writing is on the wall.
Sure, ATVI stock has fallen some in recent weeks as stay-at-home orders have expired and consumer behavior has normalized. But that’s really just near-term noise. In the long run, video game engagement will trend up, and so will ATVI stock.
So buy the stock on any and all near-term weakness.
Stocks to Buy 2020: Shopify (SHOP)
Year-to-Date Performance: +130.5%
E-commerce solutions provider Shopify is taking over the retail world, and the coronavirus pandemic won’t stop it.
The story here is pretty simple. Shopping is pivoting online. As it does, physical storefronts are becoming increasingly irrelevant. Online websites are becoming more relevant. So, whereas every retailer needed a physical storefront back in 2005, every retailer needs a digital storefront (or website) today.
Shopify builds those websites. And they do a better job of building those websites and giving retailers the tools they need to succeed online, than anyone else out there.
The coronavirus pandemic won’t derail this trend. If anything, it will accelerate the pivot towards online shopping, thereby accelerating long-term demand for Shopify’s e-commerce solutions.
Investors are already noticing this. After briefly dropping by 50% on coronavirus concerns, SHOP stock has rallied to new all time highs.
I wouldn’t chase this rally here and now. The stock is too hot. But, on the next dip, I’d be a buyer with both hands.
Beyond Meat (BYND)
Year-to-Date Performance: +71.2%
My bullishness on plant-based meat maker Beyond Meat in 2020 can be boiled down to something Bill Gates once said: People tend to overestimate what can be done in a year and underestimate what can be done in a decade.
In 2019, investors overestimated what Beyond Meat stock could do in a year. Heading into 2020, investors were underestimating the magnitude and significance of the plant-based meat megatrend, and how big Beyond Meat could be in a decade because of an underlying shift in consumer behavior towards buying products and services which are environmentally and socially positive.
Sure, the coronavirus headwind has thrown a wrench in this thesis. With restaurants closed across the world, Beyond Meat’s fast-growing food service business will inevitably slow.
But, this headwind is already passing. Restaurants are already reopening. They will continue to reopen and get busier over the next few months.
As they do, the Beyond Meat growth narrative will regain momentum, supported by a continued consumption shift towards plant-based meat, several quick-casual chains rolling out plant-based meat options, and increased consumer awareness surrounding plant-based meat’s environmental benefits.
As the company regains robust operational momentum, the stock will get get back on a long-term winning trajectory.
Stocks to Buy 2020: Netflix (NFLX)
Year-to-Date Performance: +37.3%
Streaming giant Netflix had a tough 2019 thanks to escalating competition concerns. But, going into 2020, I was bullish on NFLX stock because I believed the company was going to report a series of quarters which proved that those competition concerns were overstated.
Two quarters in, two quarters down. Netflix has reported back-to-back record quarters with superb subscriber growth that didn’t show any competitive headwinds. Sure, some of this is because of Covid-19, with consumers swarming to streaming services amid stay-at-home orders. But some of it also has to do with Netflix’s strong content allowing it to sustain leadership in this growth market.
In response to those strong quarters, Netflix stock has soared to all time highs.
This rally will persist. Netflix’s earnings reports going forward should be quite good. You will get big subscriber growth numbers, both because of Covid-19, and because the company continues to separate itself in terms of original content quality and streaming technology.
Big sub growth numbers is all investors care about. Consequently, as those big user growth quarters roll in, Netflix stock will keep going higher.
Year-to-Date Performance: +16.7%
The long-term bull thesis on Pinterest is pretty compelling.
This company has built a visual search platform which has a unique and enduring product and service discovery value prop in today’s crowded digital ecosystem. Consequently, the platform will not just sustain its 300 million global user base. The platform will grow that user base, too.
At the same time, Pinterest has built a digital advertising platform which offers marketers a compelling and unique value prop, both because it is visual-first and because Pinterest’s users are intent-driven (that is, they aren’t aimlessly scrolling through Pinterest feeds; they are there to actively discover something).
Because of this, Pinterest should have no problem rapidly scaling its digital ad business over the next several years. This rapid scaling will power huge revenue and profit growth, the likes of which will push PINS stock way higher.
Yes, the company will get whacked in the second quarter as the coronavirus pandemic kills digital ad spending trends. But, looking past the noise, growth should normalize by the back-half of 2020, and the stock should get back to a winning path.
Stocks to Buy 2020: Canopy Growth (CGC)
Year-to-Date Performance: -22.7%
Canadian cannabis producer Canopy Growth has been hit hard amid the coronavirus slump. After all, if the economy comes to a screeching halt, who will be buying weed? It also doesn’t help that the company reported disappointing quarterly results recently.
But, the economy is normalizing, and normalization paves a path for a massive rebound for Canopy Growth stock, for five big reasons.
First, demand trends in the legal Canadian market will improve, thanks to new products like edibles, drinks, and vapes, as well as significant retail store expansion in Ontario. Second, profit margins at Canopy will also improve, thanks to curbed production expansion and cost-cutting initiatives.
Third, improving demand trends on top of improving profit margins will turn widening losses in 2019, into narrowing losses in 2020. Fourth, progress will be made on legalizing cannabis in the U.S. through the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act.
Fifth, and perhaps most importantly, CGC stock is priced for failure. Thus, shares are optimally positioned to rip higher in the second-half of 2020 on good news.
Year-to-Date Performance: +65.3%
At the beginning of the year, I said that payments processor Square was ready to rip higher over the next 12 months as the company’s revenue growth trajectory meaningfully improved.
For the first two months of the year, everything was going smoothly. It was becoming increasingly obvious through various partnerships and fee structure changes that Square’s revenue growth trajectory was set to improve in a big way. In anticipation of that big improvement, Square stock roared an impressive 30%-plus higher in 2020 through mid-February.
Coronavirus fears paused the rally, because Square has broad exposure to small retail businesses, many of whom took a huge sales hit amid the coronavirus pandemic, and some of whom are at risk of insolvency.
But, the U.S. government’s multi-trillion stimulus bill has helped those small businesses weather this downturn. Further, Square just reported earnings which underscore that, through its various digital services like Cash App and Square Online, the company is weathering this downturn with impressive resilience. Perhaps more importantly, the U.S. economy is gradually re-opening, and Square’s growth trends should only improve going forward.
That’s why SQ stock is now up an impressive 67% year-to-date.
This rally isn’t over. Square is increasingly morphing into the technology payments backbone for small and medium sized merchants and retailers all across the world. The company’s revenues and profits will continue to march significantly higher over the next several years. As they do, SQ sock will stay on a winning path.
Stocks to Buy 2020: The Trade Desk (TTD)
Year-to-Date Performance: +56.4%
Programmatic advertising leader The Trade Desk has posted huge returns over the past several years. At the start of this year, I believed that 2020 wouldn’t break this cycle of big returns.
So far, it hasn’t. TTD stock is up 56% year-to-date, despite the coronavirus pandemic killing consumer spending and brand advertising.
The resilience in TTD stock speaks to the strength of the underlying data-driven advertising growth narrative.
In essence, data-driven advertising is the future of advertising. That future is being accelerated amid the coronavirus pandemic, because data-driven advertising offers enhanced ad campaign measurability and optimizes ad spend (at a time when ad budgets are tight). So, while the whole ad industry is down, programmatic advertising is down a lot less, because of huge share-of-ad-budget gains.
Those huge share gains won’t go away. Data-driven advertising will keep increasing its presence across the ad world over the next several years.
As it does, The Trade Desk — widely considered the buy-side leader in data-driven advertising — will sustain robust revenue and profit growth, the likes of which will power TTD stock higher.
Year-to-Date Performance: +130.7%
Slowing revenue growth rates and compressing profit margins caused specialty e-commerce platform Etsy to have a disappointing showing in 2019. But the exact opposite has happened in 2020.
So far this year, Etsy has reported accelerating volume and revenue growth rates, and expanding take rates, amid a broad rush towards online shopping thanks to Covid-19.
Sure, the Covid-19 tailwind won’t last forever. But, Etsy won’t give back all of its share gains when the economy returns to normal, either. Many shoppers will like what they have found on the Etsy platform over the past few months. When stores re-open, they’ll go back to those stores, yes, but they’ll also keep shopping on Etsy, too.
In other words, Etsy has seen permanent market share expansion in the retail world thanks to Covid-19. This permanent share expansion means Etsy’s growth narrative is due for long-term growth acceleration as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Etsy will continue to ride secular e-commerce tailwinds to the tune of 20%-plus revenue and profit growth over the next several years. Such big growth will keep ETSY stock on a winning path.
Stocks to Buy 2020: Okta (OKTA)
Year-to-Date Performance: +72.7%
Cloud security company Okta is a long-term winner for one very simple reason: the company is pioneering a new, better, and more relevant security solution that will gain widespread adoption over the next several years.
Specifically, the company is turning identity into the security perimeter, on the idea that if each identity in an ecosystem is secure, so is the whole ecosystem. It’s a genius breakthrough which optimizes for employee mobility and enterprise flexibility (both of which are increasingly important) while not compromising on security.
Sure, enterprise IT spending trends will be depressed for the foreseeable future thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. But the pandemic also lends itself to long-term tailwinds.
With telework on the rise — and many companies saying that even after the pandemic passes, they will continue to deploy some form of remote work — companies need security solutions adapted to the mobile and flexible telework environment. Okta’s Identity Cloud solution was made for that, securing every individual in the corporation, all the time, regardless of where they are.
As such, Okta’s growth trends will only get better over the next few years. As they do, OKTA stock will keep making new all time highs.
Year-to-Date Performance: +68.6%
At the beginning of 2020, it looked like China was in major rebound mode, and that this rebound would power e-commerce giant JD.com to new highs.
The coronavirus outbreak has put this Chinese economic rebound on hold. But, it hasn’t put the rally on JD stock on hold. Year-to-date, shares are up about 65%.
Because, while the coronavirus has hit China’s economy hard, the negative impacts won’t last long. Within the next few months, coronavirus fears will fade, and China’s economy will bounce back, supported by a ton of fiscal stimulus from the People’s Bank of China.
When it does, JD.Com’s revenue growth rates will improve. The company’s margins will, too, as a consequence of margin expansion and cost saving initiatives that were already in place pre-Covid-19. It also helps that JD.Com is an e-commerce juggernaut, and consumers are increasingly moving into the online channel.
Against that backdrop, JD stock will continue to work and move higher.
Stocks to Buy 2020: Stitch Fix (SFIX)
Year-to-Date Performance: -4.2%
Shares of online personalized styling service Stitch Fix have been hit so far in 2020. But the drubbing of SFIX stock looks like a golden buying opportunity.
There is concern that coronavirus anxiety will kill consumer spending in the U.S. In particular, there is concern that it will kill consumer spending on leisure items, like clothes.
In early March, Stitch Fix confirmed those fears with a downbeat revenue guide for next quarter. Stitch Fix stock has since fallen off a cliff.
But, this is a temporary depression.
As stated before, coronavirus anxieties are calming down. As they have, the economy has reopened, and consumers have re-accelerated their discretionary spending.
This rebound in leisure consumer spend will only accelerate, and provide a huge boost for Stitch Fix’s numbers over the next few months, mostly because Stitch Fix’s data-driven, curated approach to shopping is simply a better, faster and easier way to shop that will gain incredible traction over the next few quarters and years.
That big boost will converge on what is now a hugely discounted valuation. That convergence will cause a big pop in SFIX stock from here into the end of the year, and will be followed by several years of gains, as curated online shopping services like Stitch Fix become more normal and widely used.
Year-to-Date Performance: +77.1%
One of my favorite high-risk, high-reward small-capitalization stocks over the past few months has been Chinese premium electric vehicle maker Nio.
There are two parts to the bull thesis on NIO stock.
First, the company’s delivery and revenue trends — which were depressed throughout most of 2019 — improved in a big way in late 2019. Excluding a short-term coronavirus hit, they’re set to improve even further in 2020 behind a rebound in China’s EV market from significant fiscal stimulus, a pause in electric vehicle subsidy cuts, and a new Nio vehicle launch. As those delivery and revenue trends rebound, NIO stock should rebound, too.
Second, the balance sheet is now “safe”. That is, Nio’s cash-light balance sheet was at risk of running out of money. Emphasis on the “was”. Nio just scored huge financing from Hefei’s city government, shoring up the company’s balance sheet and easing going liquidity concerns.
With funding secured and improving demand trends on the horizon, NIO stock looks ready to explode higher in the back-half of 2020.
Stocks to Buy 2020: Snap (SNAP)
Year-to-Date Performance: +40.7%
Although social media platform Snap didn’t start 2020 off on the best foot — the company reported disappointing fourth quarter numbers in early February — the bull thesis on this stock remains alive and well.
That bull thesis boils down to three tailwinds.
First, Snap is attractively positioned to benefit from long-term digital ad market tailwinds, thanks to its strong choke-hold on the malleable teen demographic. Second, continued product innovation and geographic expansion lay the groundwork for sustained user growth in 2020. Third, and perhaps most importantly, SNAP stock is undervalued given the company’s robust growth prospects both in 2020 and into 2025.
It also helps that the company just reported blockbuster first quarter numbers that more than overshadow the bad fourth quarter numbers, and illustrate that the long-term growth narrative here is on track.
So long as that long-term growth narrative remains on track, SNAP stock will keep going higher.
Luke Lango is a Markets Analyst for InvestorPlace. He has been professionally analyzing stocks for several years, previously working at various hedge funds and currently running his own investment fund in San Diego. A Caltech graduate, Luke has consistently been rated one of the world’s top stock pickers by various other analysts and platforms, and has developed a reputation for leveraging his technology background to identify growth stocks that deliver outstanding returns. Luke is also the founder of Fantastic, a social discovery company backed by an LA-based internet venture firm. As of this writing, he was long FB, SHOP, BYND, NFLX, PINS, CGC, SQ, TTD, OKTA, JD, SFIX, NIO, and SNAP.