Which investment strategy has stood the test of time? Growth investing. The pros from Wall Street argue that stocks with outsized growth prospects reflect some of the most compelling plays out there. This growth potential extends beyond the near-term, with these names set to deliver handsome returns through 2020 and beyond. That said, finding stocks that fall into this category can be challenging, to say the least. According to the analysts, one strategy is to take a step back and look at the big picture, focusing on the names that stand to see long-term growth on top of their impressive year-to-date gains. Bearing this in mind, we used TipRanks’ database to pinpoint three growth stocks on the receiving end of significant praise from analysts. All three of these tickers have already achieved serious growth in 2020, and are primed to keep climbing higher. Penn National Gaming (PENN) First up we have Penn National Gaming, which owns and operates gaming and racing facilities as well as has video gaming terminal operations throughout the U.S. This name has already soared 146% year-to-date, but some Wall Street analysts believe there’s plenty of fuel left in the tank. PENN recently pre-announced Q3 results that blew estimates out of the water. For the quarter, the company expects margins to expand by over 900 basis points and adjusted EBITDAR to increase by 5% year-over-year, even though revenue was tracking down 10% year-over-year. Weighing in for J.P. Morgan, five-star analyst Joseph Greff told clients, “The regional gaming recovery seen during May/June continued into the Q3, with revenues coming in better than feared; we had previously assumed a slower ramp once pent-up demand normalized and little/no opex creep from post-COVID efficiency gains.” That being said, Greff acknowledges that given the stellar share price performance, some other analysts have “thrown in the towel with downgrades.” However, he still sees “value and catalysts ahead.” The analyst commented, “… there is a tug of war in terms of investor sentiment—which we think is healthy for the stock and almost necessary for the stock to continue to move higher; in our view, traditional gaming equity investors are not completely bulled up, and, in fact, we think there is plenty of investor skepticism related to PENN’s ability to compete with DraftKings, Fanduel, Caesars Entertainment, MGM/GVC, et al., given PENN’s relative balance sheet size to fund early stage sports betting customer acquisition costs, but we believe this risk, to the extent it is meaningful, to compete is now diminished given ~$950 million raised from its recent equity raise.” On top of this, PENN recently launched the Barstool Sports betting app in Pennsylvania. Calling the early launch “encouraging both from a volume and marketing spend perspective,” Greff argues it demonstrates “the potential of its unique approach to share grab.” In addition, momentum is ramping up for Barstool Sportsbook. What’s more, Greff thinks that the current sports betting and iGaming environment resembles the emergence of regional markets in the 1990s, when states with budget deficits turned to new revenue streams like riverboat gaming to help fund budget deficits. Expounding on this, the analyst stated, “We think the states will look to USSB and iGaming in much the same way and PENN will be one of the winners. We like the U.S. Regional land-based gaming/sports betting/iGaming landscape and see upside.” It should come as no surprise, then, that Greff stayed with the bulls. In addition to an Overweight rating, he left an $83 price target on the stock. Investors could be pocketing a gain of 32%, should this target be met in the twelve months ahead. (To watch Greff’s track record, click here) What does the rest of the Street have to say? 9 Buys, 3 Holds and 1 Sell have been issued in the last three months. Therefore, PENN gets a Moderate Buy consensus rating. Based on the $76.77 average price target, shares could rise 22% in the next year. (See Penn National Gaming stock analysis on TipRanks) Redfin (RDFN) Starting out in the map-based search space, Redfin expanded its product offering to make the home tour, listing debut and escrow processes faster and easier. Out on Wall Street, some think that this name is experiencing more than just a COVID demand surge, with its 113% year-to-date gain only the beginning. Although RDFN is coming off of a strong Q3 pre-announcement, investors were somewhat disappointed by the results. BTIG’s Jake Fuller points out that shares likely traded off because “expectations were high and the scale of revenue upside modest at ~2%,” and “momentum investors tend to reward volume-led beats and RDFN actually lagged expectations on that front.” It doesn’t help that RDFN is not a focus name for many, suggesting that investors might not have looked past the revenue disclosure, according to Fuller. However, he argues the Street could be missing key pieces of the puzzle. The five-star analyst mentioned, “What might be getting overlooked here is that RDFN has stepped up commission rates with no obvious impact to conversion, and that should translate into a significantly stronger gross profit outlook for RDFN.” To this end, he bumped up his 2021 gross profit estimate by 47%. Looking at the details of the quarter, RDFN experienced robust demand, with Real Estate Services revenue increasing 36% year-over-year. Site traffic and transactions were also up on a quarter-over-quarter basis. However, it should be noted that the upside was driven by revenue per transaction. “That is important because it suggests that anticipated commission rate increases are finally contributing,” Fuller said. “By our tally, Real Estate Services revenue went from 1.68% of GTV in Q3 2019 and 1.78% in Q2 2020 to an estimated 1.85% in Q3 2020. A four-point beat on gross margin suggests high flow through on that. While difficult to assess the durability of demand, pricing gains and a better margin profile should be sustainable,” Fuller commented. In line with his optimistic approach, Fuller sides with the bulls, reiterating a Buy rating and $65 price target. This target conveys his confidence in RDFN’s ability to climb 45% higher in the next year. (To watch Fuller’s track record, click here) Turning to the rest of the Street, opinions are more varied. With 6 Buys, 5 Holds and 1 Sell assigned in the last three months, the word on the Street is that RDFN is a Moderate Buy. At $50, the average price target implies 11% upside potential. (See Redfin stock analysis on TipRanks) Vertiv Holdings (VRT) As one of the leading global providers of hardware, software and services, Vertiv Holdings helps facilitate an interconnected marketplace of digital systems where large amounts of indispensable data needs to be transmitted, analyzed, processed and stored. Up 71% year-to-date, more gains could be on the horizon, so says Wall Street. Even with the major share price appreciation, Wolfe Research analyst Nigel Coe sees a favorable risk/reward profile. “We believe that Vertiv is a rare breed that can appeal to a broad cross section of investors: a mid-cap growth company that can deliver attractive margin expansion at a discounted valuation
, captained by a top-class executive team,” he explained. When it comes to VRT’s runway for growth, its key customer end markets are data center and telecommunications. These spaces are areas where Coe expects to see growth in 2020 and 2021, as well as long-term secular tailwinds from increasing data intensity and 5G upgrades. Additionally, management has outlined a pathway to 500 basis points of margin expansion, driven by efforts to keep fixed costs constant via a variety of operational upgrades and a reduction in organizational complexity. “This is the playbook deployed by Executive Chairman David Cote so successfully under his tenure at Honeywell, and this gives us conviction that a similar playbook can be deployed at Vertiv,” Coe said. It should be noted that VRT exited Q2 2020 with net debt of roughly $2.1 billion, and net debt/EBITDA landing at 4.2x. Even though this is at the high end of the range, Coe argues the balance sheet could rapidly de-leverage. To this end, he calculates surplus capital of $1 billion by 2023, assuming a net debt/EBITDA ratio of 2x. “We don’t currently view Vertiv as a clear capital deployment story, but this could come to the fore over the 2022/23 time frame – we could certainly see acquisitions that bolster its capability in power distribution and perhaps at the DCIM layer. Other potential options include the settlement of warrants for cash (these are currently reflected in our diluted share count calculation) and the institution of a dividend that would widen the potential for institutional ownership. We also cannot ignore the scope for strategic partnerships with many larger electrical equipment market participants that are not significant players in the data center,” Coe commented. Everything that VRT has going for it convinced Coe to reiterate an Outperform rating. Along with the call, he set a $23 price target, suggesting 22% upside potential. (To watch Coe’s track record, click here) Are other analysts in agreement? They are. Only Buy ratings, 4 to be exact, have been published in the last three months. Therefore, the message is clear: VRT is a Strong Buy. Given the $20.75 average price target, shares could surge 10% in the next year. (See Vertiv Holdings stock analysis on TipRanks) Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.