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Got $5,000? These Are 2 of the Best Growth Stocks to Buy Right Now

Motley Fool - Sun Dec 3, 2023

How much money do you need to get started investing? Not very much. That said, the more you start out with, the more you can make over the long run. I typically initiate new positions with around $5,000 with the possibility of adding to them over time. That's not a magic amount, but it's enough to be a significant investment.

Of course, the more important thing to consider is where to invest. If you've got $5,000 (or less, for that matter), these are two of the best growth stocks to buy right now, in my opinion.

1. PayPal Holdings

You might take one look at PayPal Holdings' (NASDAQ: PYPL) performance over the last 18 months and seriously question why it would be a growth stock to buy now. The fintech stock has plunged more than 80% below its high set in mid-2021.

PayPal has faced several challenges. The loss of former parent eBay's business a few years ago hurt. There are also plenty of new rivals on the scene, notably including Apple Pay. PayPal's profits have fallen. The company has also had turnover in its executive ranks.

But I think that PayPal is stronger than its stock performance indicates. The digital payment company's net revenue in the third quarter of 2023 rose 8% year over year to $7.4 billion. Total payment volume jumped 15% to $387.7 billion.

To be sure, PayPal's active accounts declined to 428 million from 432 million in the prior-year period. However, that's largely a result of the company flushing out less profitable customers in Latin America and Southeast Asia.

I like this emphasis on profitable growth. New CEO Alex Chriss stressed in PayPal's Q3 earnings call, "I can tell you right now, what I care about most is high-quality customer growth and profitable revenue growth. Going forward, PayPal will be focused on generating real profit for the company."

Most importantly, though, I think that PayPal is dirt cheap. Its shares trade at a forward earnings multiple of only 10.2x. If the company returns to solid earnings growth as I expect, I predict that more investors will recognize just how attractively valued PayPal is.

2. Vertex Pharmaceuticals

It's a much different story for Vertex Pharmaceuticals(NASDAQ: VRTX). The biotech stock continues to deliver solid gains in 2023, just as it did last year. Vertex's revenue and earnings have increased steadily. I believe, though, that the best is yet to come for this successful company.

Vertex remains the sole provider of approved therapies that treat the underlying cause of rare genetic disease cystic fibrosis (CF). It could soon add a new CF drug that's even more powerful than its current products. The company expects to report results from late-stage testing of its vanzacaftor triple-drug combo in early 2024. To add icing to the cake, Vertex will have to pay much lower royalties for the combo than it does for its other CF drugs.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is scheduled to announce its approval decision for exa-cel in treating sickle cell disease by Dec. 8, 2023. The agency should make its decision on the gene-editing therapy in treating transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia by March 30, 2024. Vertex and its partner, CRISPR Therapeutics, have already won approvals in the U.K. for both indications.

Vertex also has high hopes for its non-opioid pain drug VX-548. It expects to announce results in early 2024 from phase 3 studies in treating acute pain. The company is also evaluating VX-548 in phase 2 studies targeting peripheral neuropathic pain.

The vanzacaftor combo, exa-cel, and VX-548, along with securing additional regulatory approvals and reimbursement agreements for its already approved CF therapies, should enable Vertex to grow over the next few years. The company could have other growth drivers on the way, too.

Vertex is evaluating inaxaplin in a pivotal clinical trial targeting APOL1-mediated kidney disease (AMKD). This could be a CF-like opportunity for the company. There aren't any other approved therapies that treat the underlying cause of AMKD.

Finally, Vertex is advancing three programs in clinical testing that hold the potential to cure type 1 diabetes. It's still early, but if the company succeeds it could open up a new market that's much bigger than anything it's gone after so far.

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Keith Speights has positions in Apple, PayPal, and Vertex Pharmaceuticals. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Apple, CRISPR Therapeutics, PayPal, and Vertex Pharmaceuticals. The Motley Fool recommends eBay and recommends the following options: short December 2023 $67.50 puts on PayPal and short January 2024 $45 calls on eBay. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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