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3 Top Growth Stocks to Buy in November

Motley Fool - Sun Nov 6, 2022

What do Uber Technologies(NYSE: UBER), Confluent(NASDAQ: CFLT), and Airbnb(NASDAQ: ABNB) have in common? They each delivered strong earnings reports for the recent third quarter.

Finding growth opportunities isn't easy at the moment given the Nasdaq-100 technology index is trading down 34.6% year to date, placing it firmly in bear market territory. Therefore, when companies crush investors' expectations, it's worth paying attention.

Three Motley Fool contributors offer some insight into why November might be a great time to buy these three top growth stocks.

Society is open, and mobility is back

Anthony Di Pizio (Uber): Uber's business struggled under lockdowns and social restrictions during 2020 and 2021. The company thrives on active, vibrant cities with people constantly on the move, but that all ground to a halt during the pandemic. Uber kept its business afloat by focusing on other segments like food delivery, and its Uber Eats platform was certainly a massive hit with consumers. But thanks to widespread vaccinations, most COVID-19 restrictions were lifted and society is buzzing once again.

As a result, Uber's mobility business roared back to life. Revenue in that segment grew by a whopping 73% year over year during the third quarter, and it generated more than its delivery segment for the first time since before the pandemic. With that said, it appears the convenience of food delivery stuck with consumers because Uber still managed to grow that piece of its business by 24% year over year in Q3.

But there's an explosive opportunity forming in Uber's freight segment, which remains its smallest. It generated $1.8 billion in revenue for the quarter, which was a whopping 336% jump compared to the same period last year. Uber is applying the convenience of its flagship platforms to build a global delivery network, and that resonated with its roughly 200,000 users so far, managing $17 billion in freight.

Overall, the size of Uber's customer base rocketed to an all-time high of 124 million monthly active users, and they generated $29.1 billion in total bookings, which was also a quarterly record for the company. But perhaps most importantly, Uber is making a conscious effort to move toward profitability. It was cash-flow positive in the second quarter for the first time ever, and it also hit the mark in the third quarter. It has some work to do to clean up its bottom line to generate consistent earnings, but it's headed in the right direction.

There's no shortage of stocks down by more than half this year. But given Uber's results, the fact its stock remains at a 52% loss from its all-time high potentially signals a fantastic long-term opportunity for investors who buy now.

The benefits of being a mission-critical platform

Jamie Louko (Confluent): The tech industry is in turmoil this year. This isn't just because valuations soared to egregious levels in the year prior. Inflation and other worsening macroeconomic factors also contributed to losses for many stocks. Even big tech stocks like Alphabet saw strains on their financials as demand for some tech services waned.

Confluent, however, isn't in this bunch. The company's real-time data processing service is still in high demand, likely because there is never a time when a business can stop processing data. If a business relies on Confluent for real-time data processing and analytics, the chances of it turning that service off are slim -- even during a shaky economic period.

Confluent's financials remain elevated while other tech names have slumped. The company's third-quarter earnings (reported on Nov. 2) -- were highlighted by 48% year-over-year revenue growth to $152 million. This was driven by Confluent Cloud revenue which skyrocketed 112% year over year to $57 million.

Confluent is continuing to attract large enterprises during this environment, demonstrating the company's criticality and product quality. Confluent had 113 customers spending over $1 million annually in Q3 2022, which is six more than it had in Q2 2022 and 39 more than in Q3 2021.

The primary risk with Confluent is that it is nowhere near profitability. Year to date, Confluent has a net loss of $347 million, compared to just $417 million in revenue. However, the company's loss margin is steadily improving. In Q3, Confluent's net loss margin improved to 76.5% -- a stark improvement from the year-ago period, when it was 93%. As long as the company continues to improve its loss margin over the coming years, this might not be as concerning as meets the eye.

With Confluent trading at 12.5 times sales, it is far cheaper than other data analytics stocks like Snowflake. Given Confluent's impressive execution during this challenging time, improving loss margin, and relatively low valuation, it looks like a great time to add Confluent to a diversified portfolio.

Disrupting one of the world's largest industries

Trevor Jennewine (Airbnb): Airbnb disrupted the travel industry with its asset-light business model. Its marketplace crowdsources more than 6 million rental properties from 4 million hosts, allowing guests to discover unique homes and plan getaways in tens of thousands of cities around the world. In a nutshell, Airbnb is a hospitality company that doesn't own any real estate, and that makes its business very cost-efficient and flexible.

Hotel operators spend millions of dollars to build new properties, and those projects take months to complete. But Airbnb can onboard new hosts in minutes, with very little expense, and it can focus host acquisition marketing on high-demand destinations, generating inventory where it needs supply. That means Airbnb can adapt quickly when consumer travel preferences shift, and the company can afford to operate in places that wouldn't be profitable for hotels.

Building on that, Airbnb also offers a greater range of lodging options, both in terms of the type and location. Guests can book stays at budget motels, suburban homes, or luxury estates located anywhere from small towns to big cities. The platform also works as an inspiration tool, leaning on artificial intelligence to suggest travel destinations.

Collectively, those disruptive qualities have Airbnb growing quickly. Nights and experiences booked jumped 25% year over year in the third quarter, reflecting strong demand in spite of economic headwinds. In turn, quarterly revenue rose 29% year over year to $2.9 billion and free cash flow soared 81% to $960 million.

Going forward, investors have good reason to be confident that momentum will continue. Travel and tourism is one of the largest industries in the world -- it accounted for more than 10% of the global economy prior to the pandemic -- and Airbnb puts its addressable market at $3.4 trillion. That means this disruptive company has plenty of room to grow.

With that in mind, shares currently trade at 8.2 times sales, an absolute bargain compared to its average of 19.2 times sales as a public company. That's why this growth stock is a buy in November.

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Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Anthony Di Pizio has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Jamie Louko has positions in Airbnb, Inc., Confluent, Inc., and Snowflake Inc. Trevor Jennewine has positions in Airbnb, Inc. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Airbnb, Inc., Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Confluent, Inc., and Snowflake Inc. The Motley Fool recommends Uber Technologies. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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