If you’ve got $5,000 you can afford to invest for at least a few years, there are a couple of beaten-down growth stocks you should consider buying right now. Align Technology (NASDAQ: ALGN) and Meta Platforms (NASDAQ: META) are down big this year, and while both companies are facing adversity right now, investors shouldn’t count them out. Both stocks could be great buys at their current prices. Here’s why.
1. Align Technology
Medical device company Align Technology makes the popular Invisalign clear teeth aligners. Last year, the company experienced terrific growth with sales rising an impressive 60% year over year nearly $4 billion. But a slowdown in the economy, rising inflation, and too much exposure to foreign exchange rates have negatively weighed down Align’s growth this year.
In its most recent quarter for the period ending Sept. 30, net revenue declined 12% year over year to $890.3 million. The company says foreign exchange had a negative impact of $57.4 million when compared to the prior-year period, in what the company says was “one of the largest quarterly foreign exchange impacts in our history.” More than half (55%) of the company’s revenue comes from outside the U.S. market.
ALGN Revenue (Quarterly YoY Growth) data by YCharts
A slowing growth rate has unsurprisingly made this an unenviable stock to own lately; the shares are down 68% in 2022. Although it has rallied in recent weeks, the last time Align was trading at a lower price was during the March 2020 market crash.
At 32 times earnings, Align isn’t a dirt-cheap stock but it could still be a good buy. In the past, investors have paid more than 40 times earnings for the stock. Align’s growth days are not over by any stretch as consumers are likely putting off major purchases amid inflation concerns. Once inflation stabilizes and the economy is in a stronger place, Align should benefit from stronger growth numbers. While that may not be for a while, this could be a terrific time to consider Align’s stock if you’re willing to buy and hold.
2. Meta Platforms
Meta Platforms can be a polarizing stock. While it has billions of active users every day using its social media sites and apps, the tech company is also spending billions on a questionable metaverse environment that many people are skeptical about at present.
The stock’s 66% crash this year has been epic as Meta’s valuation hasn’t been this low since 2016. At 11 times earnings, the stock looks incredibly cheap. However, investors are also budgeting for a worsening bottom line due to the company’s expenditures on the metaverse.
During just the three-month period ended Sept. 30, Meta incurred a $3.7 billion operating loss on its Reality Labs division, which includes the metaverse. The company still posted an overall operating profit of $5.7 billion thanks to its core family of apps (including Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp); still, those earnings were down 28% as advertisers have scaled back spending amid a poor outlook for the economy.
I’m not bullish on the metaverse, but one of the reasons I’m optimistic about Meta is that this is still a business that makes huge profits; its family of apps reported an operating margin of 34% last quarter. And with billions of users, the business could find ways to grow — perhaps via subscriptions like rival Twitter and its Twitter Blue service. That’s just one example — but when a company has billions of users on its platform, that is incredibly valuable and can help lead to significant opportunities, which is why investors shouldn’t give up on Meta just yet.
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett has previously said that he likes to buy a company when it “gets into temporary trouble. We want to buy them when they’re on the operating table.” One thing I’m confident about is that the metaverse will prove to be a temporary problem for Meta; I don’t believe CEO Mark Zuckerberg will be willing to destroy his business for the sake of a vision, especially if it proves to be a failure.
Taking the contrarian position in Meta could be a great move for investors to make, because at its core this is still an incredibly profitable business that has billions of eyeballs on its apps and websites every day.
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Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. David Jagielski has positions in Meta Platforms, Inc. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Align Technology and Meta Platforms, Inc. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.