During times of uncertainty, investors crave a sure thing. There are times to be “risk-on” and there are times to be “risk-off.” When investors flock to the latter, they often look for companies with no debt.
That doesn’t mean these stocks won’t fluctuate with the overall market. But there is a level of comfort in owning stocks with financial stability.
Look back at how most individual stocks performed in March. The market threw a tantrum and nearly every name was punished. But those that were punished the most are those with the shakiest financials.
Plus, who wants to own a stock with poor financial positioning? There’s a reason people say “cash is king.”
Here are 7 companies with no debt you need to know about:
Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG)
Monster Beverage (NASDAQ:MNST)
Lululemon Athletica (NASDAQ:LULU)
At the end of the day, the companies with the biggest bank accounts have the most flexibility, and can better withstand long economic disruptions. They can lean on M&A, taking investments stakes in other companies and outmuscling their debt-ridden peers.
Companies With No Debt: Intuitive Surgical (ISRG)
Source: Sundry Photography / Shutterstock.com
Rarely do you see a balance sheet like that of Intuitive Surgical, making it a great candidates to kick off our list of stocks with no debt.
The company has $10.1 billion in total assets with just $1.3 billion in total liabilities. A robust balance sheet may boast a five-to-one ratio between total assets and total liabilities, but there aren’t many companies in that category. Intuitive Surgical’s asset-to-liability ratio sits at nearly 10.
Of those assets, almost $4.5 billion is held in cash. Not only does that give the company flexibility in a time of uncertainty, it should also give investors relief knowing that it will not suffer a liquidity event. The downside to Intuitive Surgical is this year’s growth estimates. Analysts expect sales and earnings to decline this year, before snapping back to very strong results in 2021.
Known mostly for its Da Vinci Device, the health field is one that will continue to grow and innovate over time. Admittedly, the novel coronavirus has disrupted the medical industry, but ultimately procedures will go on.
As CEO Gary Guthart said in the most recent earnings report, “We’ve seen hospitals with adequate supplies of staff, PPE and physical resources returned to above 90% of pre-COVID procedure run rates over a few months period.”
Source: Nopparat Khokthong / Shutterstock.com
Pinterest is one of my favorite names on this list. Considered a social media stock, it’s not just the conventional social online platform we’ve come to know.
The company is one of the most efficient at turning ad dollars into revenue, something that makes Pinterest a very lucrative platform for businesses. That’s also helped to fuel its top-line growth. Despite the slowdown from the novel coronavirus, Pinterest still found a way to grow sales last quarter. Analysts are forecasting more than 26% growth for the year despite the economic uncertainty.
But the real beauty lies in the way management handles its finances. Pinterest is expected to swing to profitability this year, from roughly break-even operations in 2019. The company is also free cash flow positive on a trailing basis.
With no debt, $1.7 billion in cash and plenty of long-term growth potential, Pinterest is a stock to own for long-term investors.
Monster Beverage (MNST)
Source: Domagoj Kovacic / Shutterstock.com
Everyone looks to tech when thinking about the biggest long-term winners. Few think of Monster Beverage.
While shares are up modestly over the past few years, this stock has been a beast over the long term. Monster Beverage is up 942% over the last 10 years and an unimaginable 80,000% over the last 20 years.
Obviously we’re not going to get those returns again, but that doesn’t make Monster one to avoid. The stock is forecast to have steady growth in 2020 and 2021. Analysts expect 7% sales growth this year and an acceleration to 10.7% growth next year. For earnings, estimates call for 10.3% and 13.3% growth this year and next year, respectively.
On top of it, the balance sheet is enviable. Monster boasts $5.15 billion in total assets, more than five-fold the $979 million it holds in total liabilities. Of course, it’s a stock with no debt.
Finally, Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) acquired a 16.7% stake in the company in 2015. That stake has climbed to almost 20% thanks to Monster’s buybacks. Perhaps Coca-Cola is content with its stake — but perhaps it will be interested in an eventual takeover too.
Source: Lori Butcher / Shutterstock.com
DraftKings is the youngest public company on the list. The company went public via a SPAC offering earlier this year and it has been on fire ever since.
While newness doesn’t automatically equate to riskiness, investors have to size up everything about DraftKings.
Its positives include the secular trend toward legalizing online gaming and sports gambling. It has surprisingly solid growth given the massive disruption we’ve seen in the world this year.
DraftKings is also a play on the economy reopening and a return to sports. The latter catalyst is also a risk, though. Should sports leagues postpone again and/or should the economy begin to lock down, DraftKings could find itself on the wrong side of the bet.
Further, as of the most recent quarter, the company was not cash flow positive, nor is profitable yet. That said, some of those concerns are alleviated when considering the current circumstances. That includes realizing that the prior quarter came off the one of the quietest sporting periods in decades.
Further, one must realize that DraftKings can bide its time through the unrest. With minimal cash burn, $1.2 billion in cash and no debt, there’s no need to worry about a liquidity situation.
Lululemon Athletica (LULU)
Source: Richard Frazier / Shutterstock.com
Lululemon Athletica probably isn’t a name many investors expected on this list.
Years ago, the retailer had trouble finding the sweet spot. However, that’s all changed as Lululemon is now a premiere retailer on Wall Street. The company has strong growth, in-demand products and, naturally, a robust balance sheet.
The company’s deep liquidity will allow it to restart its buyback plan, a move the retailer announced on September 22. Further, that liquidity allowed Lululemon to scoop up Mirror for $500 million earlier this year. The startup is an in-home fitness company and should help Lululemon expand into a new growth avenue.
While that deal may slightly add to company debt, it’s not something investors will need to worry about. At a time where retailers are dropping like flies and under severe pressure due to the coronavirus, Lululemon continues to thrive. Aside from its balance sheet strength, it continues to boast strong growth.
Lululemon also continues to see direct-to-consumer (DTC) strength. DTC sales were up 157% year-over-year last quarter, representing more than 60% of all revenue.
A rarely discussed name, Progyny may be a stock investors want to keep on their radar.
The company focuses its work on infertility, a trend that has been growing for quite some time now. That has translated to frustrated couples who have difficulty conceiving. That’s where Progyny comes in to help — and it’s also where it has found solid growth.
Coronavirus-related costs have weighed on Progyny this year, which is expected to earn just 12 cents per share this year. That’s only up a penny from 11 cents per share in 2019. However, estimates call for a big-time acceleration in 2021, with more than 230% earnings growth to 40 cents per share.
Further, revenue growth is no joke. Estimates call for almost 50% growth this year followed by 60% growth in 2021. Progyny is free-cash flow positive over the trailing 12 months, is profitable and has no debt.
This stock has had its ups and downs, falling almost 60% from its February high to the March low. However, the dip gives investors an opportunity to take a closer look at this name.
Source: Pavel Kapysh / Shutterstock.com
Let me preface this by saying that Fastly does technically have some debt. However it’s very minute compared with its market cap and cash position.
Fastly, a recent Wall Street darling, has $5.2 million in current debt and long-term debt of just $20.1 million. $25.3 million in combined debt vs. $385 million in cash and a market cap pushing $10 billion is nothing.
Detractors will say that Fastly is just an edge-computing company in a commoditized market. Bulls would argue that it offers a superior product compared to its peers. Thanks to its superb management, Fastly is carving out a dominant position in an area that’s rapidly becoming important in our Covid-19 world.
As traffic grows and as data demand increases, more and more companies are moving to the edge. With the company’s latest acquisition of Signal Science, it’s also making a push into cybersecurity. This should open up another growth avenue for the company, driving long-term value. The cash and stock deal should also prevent a notable strain on the balance sheet.
While Fastly stock may be a bit pricey due to its monstrous run, shares should still be primed for more upside in the future. The recent demand from increased internet and cloud use isn’t going to subside overnight — or in some bulls’ estimates, at all.
On the date of publication, Bret Kenwell held long positions in PINS and FSLY.
Bret Kenwell is the manager and author of Future Blue Chips and is on Twitter @BretKenwell.
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