Ireland, the fastest growing economy of the European Union, has gone from strength to strength in the past few years. The Irish labor market remains tight currently as its unemployment is near a 10-year low. Also, the EU has been upbeat about the growth prospects of the Irish economy in the years to come.
Finally, business conditions have kept improving and Irish wages have been boosted by tight labor conditions. Such favorable conditions call for investing in stocks from Ireland.
For the first time in as many as 10 years, the overall jobless rate in Ireland swooned to below 6% in April. Per the latest report from the Central Statistics Office on May 1, the unemployment rate fell to 5.9%. The metric was last around this level in 2008, just before Ireland’s economic crisis.
The jobless rate has been on a steady decline since the country’s finance department projected in April that by the next year, the Irish economy would witness the unemployment rate falling to as low as 5.3%. The body also stated that after this, joblessness would hold steady at that level till 2020, while the economy makes its way to full employment.
Coming to the statistics, the seasonally adjusted rate for the current level of unemployment fell even below the revised rate of 6% in the month before and 6.8% in April last year. The total number of persons who were left unemployed within Ireland stood at 140,300, lower than 143,500 persons in the month earlier. Also, in the past 12 months, 16,700 persons got jobs.
Top 10 Bank Stocks To Own Right Now: Micron Technology, Inc.(MU)
One of the hottest chip stocks over the past 12 months has been Micron Technology, Inc.(NASDAQ:MU). Due to huge demand converging with constrained supply in the memory market, MU has seen its profits soar over the past several quarters. Concurrently, MU stock has risen around 70%.
Micron stock, though, is roughly 20% off its recent highs. That is largely due to weak high-end smartphone demand (thanks, iPhone X). The entire bear thesis is predicated upon the fact that the semiconductor industry in notoriously cyclical, and that MU’s profits are likewise notoriously cyclical. Thus, any weakening of demand is seen as a huge red flag for this business as it could lead to a massive erosion in underlying profits.
But I don’t think that is the case here and now with MU stock.
Yes, high-end smartphone demand is weak right now. But that is just one part of Micron’s underlying growth narrative, and an increasingly small part at that. The hyper-growth demand segments are cloud data-centers, IoT, automation, and artificial intelligence. Judging by recent sky-high growth rates from the big players in this space like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd(NYSE:BABA), Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU), demand in these markets remains as robust as ever.
Moreover, just because Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) isn’t selling a ton of smartphones, that doesn’t mean that Apple isn’t selling a whole lot of other smart devices, like smartwatches and tablets.
Overall, then, end-demand for MU’s suite of products remains robust and will remain robust into the foreseeable future. Thus, so long as supply remains checked, MU stock should be able to keep grinding higher.
Top 10 Bank Stocks To Own Right Now: QIWI plc(QIWI)
Qiwi PLC (NASDAQ:QIWI) is a high-risk, high-reward play – for obvious reasons. 74% of the payment company’s revenue comes from Russia. That obviously makes it extremely reliant on that country’s economy – and vulnerable to political shocks both in the country and without (such as U.S.- imposed sanctions).
But there’s an intriguing case to make QIWI a part of a high-risk or emerging markets portion of an investor’s portfolio. The company has about $5 per share in cash against a share price around $18. The dividend is choppy, but the past four quarterly payments provide a 4%-plus yield. There’s even a potential play on blockchain here.
And QIWI is pricing in an awful lot of its risks, trading at just 11x forward EPS estimates. Obviously, that alone doesn’t make QIWI stock cheap. But it makes it cheap enough to be interesting, at least.
Top 10 Bank Stocks To Own Right Now: Proofpoint, Inc.(PFPT)
What cybersecurity infant Proofpoint Inc (NASDAQ:PFPT) lacks in size, it makes up for in growth.
Proofpoint isn’t like the Palo Alto Networks of today. It isn’t big, nor does it operate at 20% operating margins, nor is it the poster-child for the entire cybersecurity space.
But Proofpoint is like the Palo Alto Networks of yesterday. The smaller version that was growing at 50% per year and expanding margins from 7% to 20%.
Last quarter, Proofpoint reported revenue growth of 40%. That is a big number. It is also bigger than the revenue growth the company reported the quarter before that (36%).
This year, Proofpoint expects revenues to grow by 37%. That is the same growth rate as last year. It is also the same growth rate the company has maintained for the past five years.
In other words, this massive 30-40% revenue growth story isn’t slowing down at all. That is a sure-fire sign that demand for PFPT’s products is ramping alongside growing demand in the entire cybersecurity market. Further, that implies that PFPT is a secular winner in a secular growth market.
Meanwhile, operating margins are also ramping higher, and are expected to reach 14% by 2020.
In totality, PFPT has PANW written all over it. PANW stock has gone from $40 to $200 over the past 5 years. A similar rally could be in store for PFPT stock over the next 5 years.
Top 10 Bank Stocks To Own Right Now: Caterpillar, Inc.(CAT)
This play on the global infrastructure boom shares is sitting directly on their 50-day SMA, creating an ideal entry point for long-term investors.
Shares were knocked off their January highs to below support and have just broken above, painting a bullish picture for the stock.
U.S. tax reform, Trump’s massive infrastructure spending plan, and robust 2017 revenues make the CAT a no-brainer buy at the current levels.
Top 10 Bank Stocks To Own Right Now: Supernus Pharmaceuticals, Inc.(SUPN)
Most small-cap biotechs are still in the money-losing stage of their lifecycle, which makes them extremely speculative investments. However, there are a handful of exceptions. One of them is Supernus Pharmaceuticals, a commercial-stage biotech that is focused on diseases of the central nervous system. This company has been cranking out fast-growing profits since 2015, which is a big reason why its stock has crushed the S&P 500 over the last few years.
Supernus’ profit growth is driven by the success of two drugs that are used to treat epilepsy: Oxtellar XR and Trokendi XR. Last year sales of these two drugs climbed 40% and allowed Supernus to pull in more than $302 million in total revenue. Better yet, the soaring top line allowed the company’s adjusted net income to grow by 90% to $67 million. With management calling for peak sales of Oxtellar XR and Trokendi XR to reach $800 million, the odds look good that this fast growth will continue for the foreseeable future.
Supernus’ pipeline also should provide investors with reasons for optimism. The company boasts two compounds in phase 3 development that, if approved, could also turn into top sellers. The first is SPN-810, a potential treatment for impulsive aggression. The second is SPN-812, which is being studied as a treatment for attention hyperactivity disorder. Late-stage data readouts are expected for both drugs by the first quarter of 2019.
In a nutshell, Supernus is a winning stock that offers investors fast profit growth in the near term and the potential for massive upside if SPN-810 or SPN-812 pan out. That’s a combination that any biotech investor should find appealing.