Disruptive Growth Investing Down, Not Out

Equities with the disruptive growth label are sagging this year, disappointing investors who flocked to the nascent investment style as it was flourishing.

Predictably, next-generation growth stocks are drawing sour tones and bearish commentary from analysts. That happens when stocks falter. However, disruptive growth as a style is itself enduring ample criticism, some of it directed toward exchange traded funds such as the ARK Innovation ETF (NYSEArca: ARKK).

ARKK critics are out in force this year, far outnumbering the chorus that praised the actively managed ETF when it was soaring in 2020. It’s easy to kick a fund when it’s down, and ARKK’s concentration is a point of contention, but that strategy could reward investors when innovative growth stocks rebound.

“Historically and according to our research, this concentration of our portfolios during corrections has led to significant, absolute performance and relative outperformance as the market rebounds,” says ARK Invest CEO and CIO Cathie Wood in a recent report. “According to our current estimates, our more concentrated flagship strategy today could deliver a 40% compound annual rate of return during the next five years. Only one other time in ARK’s history, at the end of 2018, has the five-year return projection been that high.”

Some market participants are souring on ARKK components, such as DocuSign (NASDAQ:DOCU), Teladoc (NYSE:TDOC), and Zoom (NASDAQ:ZM) on the basis that those are stay-at-home plays and the allure of those companies’ products and services diminishes as the response to the coronavirus pandemic fizzes.

However, many ARKK components were growing prior to the pandemic and are showing signs that they can continue doing so without the assistance of shelter-in-place directives. However, some disruptive growth stocks are now trading at prices not seen since the worst early days of the global health crisis.

“For example, since its peak on October 19, 2020, Zoom’s stock price has dropped roughly 68% to a level not seen since June 1, 2020,” adds Wood. “Yet, since its fiscal quarter ended July 2020, Zoom’s revenue and EBITDA have increased 58% and 53%, respectively. Last quarter, on a year-over-year basis, against a 367% gain during the depths of the coronavirus crisis, Zoom’s revenue increased 35% and its EBITDA, 52%.”

Another factor could augur well for ARKK in 2022 and, more importantly beyond. Talk of a growth stock bubble is arguably overstated, according to some experts. Interestingly, bubble concerns could actually work in favor of ARKK components over the long haul.

“In our view, the wall of worry built on the back of high multiple stocks bodes well for equities in the innovation space,” concludes Wood. “The strongest bull markets do climb a wall of worry, a fact that those making comparisons to the tech and telecom bubble seem to forget. No wall of worry existed or tested the equity market in 1999. This time around, the wall of worry has scaled to enormous heights.”

For more news, information, and strategy, visit the Disruptive Technology Channel.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.

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