While we’re not there quite yet, the stock market looks like it’s on the cusp of a bull run. Technology stocks have been leading the way higher. And there are signs that the rally could lift some of the best growth stocks, as well. In fact, investors wanting to give their portfolio a boost should consider taking positions now in several well-known names that have a track record of delivering outsized gains, including:
Best Growth Stocks: Microsoft (MSFT)
Year to date, one of the best growth stocks, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) gained just under 40% since the Jan. opener. However, MSFT is still trailing other large tech concerns, particularly those that are also involved in AI. For example, Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:META) and Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) have seen their stocks more than double since the start of the year. However, I strongly believe Microsoft’s fortunes could change over the next 12 months. All as it rolls out new AI products and integrates ChatGPT and its successor GPT-4 into its Bing search engine. Plus, in the early innings of the AI ballgame, Microsoft has let it be known that it plans to integrate the technology across its various business units, including its Xbox gaming and cloud computing divisions.
Best Growth Stocks: Hershey (HSY)
It seems odd to view Hershey (NYSE:HSY) as a growth stock. After all, the company has been in business since 1894 and does exactly the same thing as it did more than 100 years ago — make chocolate. Yet HSY stock continues to be a powerhouse. The share price has nearly tripled during the last five years and gained 20% over the past 12 months. Hershey today sells nearly $10 billion a year of chocolate, including Hershey’s Kisses and Reese Peanut Butter Cups. And the company employs more than 15,000 people at 19 manufacturing plants.
In addition, the HSY stock continues to be driven higher by strong earnings. For example, Hershey’s quarterly sales grew an annualized 12% to $2.99 billion, as its profit grew 11% to $799.9 million — both beating Wall Street forecasts. The company also raised its earnings per share guidance to the midpoint of its previous range. Even better, Hershey is viewed as a recession-proof stock. Consumers will continue to treat themselves to a relatively inexpensive chocolate bar even during an economic downturn.
Big box grocery retailer and another one of the best growth stocks to consider is Costco (NASDAQ:COST). The company’s earnings remain strong as does its competitive position in the marketplace. Costco’s annual revenue has grown 60% in the last five years, while its operating income has risen 74% in the same period. The company also boasts a membership renewal rate of 91%, which remains the envy of the retail world. In addition, Costco continues to expand outside the U.S., with its international revenue growing 67% between 2017 and 2021. Plus, the company has grown its stock dividend for 18 consecutive years, in addition to paying one-time special dividends to shareholders.
Nike (NYSE:NKE) may have finally hit rock bottom. After falling as low as $103 a share on June 1, NKE appears to have stabilized — and there’s reason to believe the worst may be over. For one, several prominent investors have been buying NKE stock lately, including George Soros.
Two, the company is still reporting strong earnings, helped by rising sales in the U.S. and Canada. The company is next scheduled to issue quarterly earnings on June 26 and expectations are that Nike will announce that its inventory levels have dropped substantially. There’s also hope sales are picking up in China now that the country of 1.4 billion people has ended its Covid-19 lockdown measures.
McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) could also rocket higher. For one, the company’s first-quarter earnings beat Wall Street expectations thanks to both higher prices and increased traffic at its restaurants. The quick service chain reported EPS of $2.63 versus the $2.33 that was forecast among analysts. Revenue came in at $5.9 billion versus the $5.59 billion that was expected, and net income totaled $1.8 billion, up 63% from $1.1 billion a year earlier.
Within the U.S., higher menu prices and increased traffic led to same-store sales growth that beat estimates of 7.9%. Q1 of this year marked the third consecutive quarter in which McDonald’s U.S. traffic rose, showing that the company has incredible pricing power. And McDonald’s is another company that is viewed as being recession-resistant, performing well during times of economic stress. MCD stock is up 8% on the year but could move higher after its next earnings print on July 25.
Shares of electric vehicle maker Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) are never down for long. After a steep downturn last fall, TSLA stock has more than doubled so far in 2023. However, the share price is still 7% below where it was 12 months ago and 45% below an all-time high reached in Nov. 2021. This means that now is an opportune time to take a position in Tesla stock before it ascends to new heights in the coming 12 months and beyond.
Granted, the company has faced some headwinds lately. In fact, with consumer spending slowing on big-ticket items, the automaker reported a 24% year-over-year decline in its net income in its most recent quarter. However, there are several catalysts that should bolster the company’s financial performance. These include a new partnership with the Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F) and the release of its hotly anticipated Cybertruck, which is expected in this year’s second half.
Sentiment towards streaming giant Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) has turned extremely bullish, sending its share price up more than 100% in the past 12 months. Successful investors such as George Soros have been piling into NFLX stock this year as the company executes a turnaround plan that includes cracking down on password sharing, adding higher quality content, and placing advertisements on the platform for the very first time. The results have had an immediate impact on the company’s finances and its share price.
While Netflix’s latest earnings were mixed, with revenue of $8.16 billion beating analysts’ consensus forecasts but profits of $1.31 billion, or $2.88 a share, missing expectations, investors seem to be betting that the growth of ad sales and an end to password sharing will boost the company’s fortunes over the long-term. Netflix added 1.75 million net new subscribers in Q1 of this year, bringing its total worldwide subscriber base to 232.5 million.
On the date of publication, Joel Baglole held long positions in MSFT, NVDA, and GOOGL. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.