With the stock market trading at one of the highest multiples in years, investors looking to stay long stocks need to find companies that are showing significant top line growth. The reason is simple, revenue growth can drive bottom line results, which in the end can help overall price-to-earnings multiples. Sure margins remain critical, but the companies with increasing top line growth will have a much better chance to deliver overall earnings growth.
In a new research note, Jefferies reviewed the 12-month change in revenue growth for the largest 30 companies in the S&P 500. We screened those for the five stocks with the largest top line growth.
Walt Disney Co.‘s (NYSE: DIS) revenue gain was 8.37% over the past 12 months. With growth here and abroad, the stock continues to make good sense. The entertainment giant’s investors are paid a 1.1% divided. The Thomson/First Call consensus price target is $105.88. Shares closed higher on Tuesday at $104.89. Disney has already been amping up Star Wars before the next movie is released.
Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) has been on fire for the past year, and the social media behemoth doesn’t look to be slowing down. The revenue change over the past year was an astounding 54.69%. The consensus price target for the stock continues to climb and now sits at $92.43. Shares closed Tuesday at $82.21. As a reminder, Facebook’s valuation is challenging Wal-Mart.
Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) is a top biotech stock that saw revenue change over the past 12 months of a very solid 16.2%. With a host of top-selling drugs and an incredible pipeline, the company is poised for an outstanding 2015 and beyond. The consensus price target is $119.08. The stock closed Tuesday at $98.13. A rival call from Deutsche Bank recently indicated that investors should buy Gilead on pullbacks.
Google Inc.‘s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) stock price has lagged and may be a solid tech value buy for 2015. The search giant saw revenue gain over the past 12 months a huge 19.56%. The consensus price target is a sky-high $624.37. The stock closed at $554.70. Is Google that much closer to paying a dividend now?
Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) remains a top software stock to buy, and it saw revenue change a very solid 11.69% over the past 12 months. Microsoft shareholders are paid an outstanding 3% dividend. The consensus price target is posted at $46.97. Shares closed Tuesday at $40.65. Microsoft was recently shown as one of several DJIA stocks close to 52-week lows.
With market volatility creeping higher, it makes good sense to buy stocks with solid revenue growth. Gains in the market over the coming years may be nowhere as easy as in the last six years.