5 Growth Stocks Looking For A Turnaround

by: Bill Maurer

The second quarter has been less than impressive for global markets. A variety of poor economic data and financial troubles in Europe have led to a 5.2% decline in the S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) in this quarter. As the quarter closes, there are a number of beaten down looks looking to turn things around in the third quarter. Today, I'll look at five high profile growth names that had a bad second quarter. These are five of the most popular growth, or momentum names, that have been battleground stocks between long and short investors. Which way are they going next? Let's first examine where they've been.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NASDAQ:GMCR):

Green Mountain got clobbered after a terrible second quarter earnings report and terrible guidance. Not only did the company widely miss revenues for the second time in three quarters, but the company issued much lower than expected guidance, and took down estimates for the fiscal year. It got even worse when founder and chairman Robert Stiller was forced to sell 5 million shares to cover a margin call. Stiller and another director were subsequently forced to resign from the board.

Green Mountain's problems stem from slowing demand for their products, but also management's inability to see the whole picture. After the prior quarter, management said it was in the process of reworking how they predict future sales and earnings. Part of the issue has to do with some of their patents expiring this year, which is allowing several large supermarkets, Safeway (NYSE:SWY) and Kroger (NYSE:KR) are two examples, to start producing their own k-cup equivalents. Bears are quick to point out that this is the beginning of the end for the company.

Can Green Mountain rebound? It is certainly possible, especially if they maintain a strong relationship with companies like Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX). Coffee prices are also falling, which should help margins over the next few quarters. But it all starts with demand, and if it is not there, shares will continue to fall when the company disappoints again.

Deckers Outdoor (NASDAQ:DECK):

Deckers became the latest high growth stock to collapse, after it issued guidance that was below expectations for the second straight quarter. Deckers reported revenues that were up about 20% over the prior year period, but about 80% of that increase was due to the Sanuk acquisition. The core UGG and Teva brands did not do well. Deckers faced two main problems. First, there was a very mild winter, and second, sheepskin costs were extremely high. But the company also has been known for having very high selling and administrative costs, which have kept operating margins under pressure.

Expectations have certainly come down for Deckers, but this stock is also down 50% since the end of February. When 2012 started, expectations were for about 20% in revenue growth and 15% in earnings growth. Now, expectations are for about 13% revenue growth and a decline of 10% in earnings per share. Deckers will post a loss in this quarter (it's a seasonal business), but the more important issue will be the second half of the year, which is when Deckers makes a majority of its revenues and earnings. If Deckers can either maintain or raise their guidance for the year, this stock will start to recover some of the losses. But if the company is downbeat again and forced to take down numbers again, this stock will head for the $30s, and quickly.

First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR):

First Solar has lead the solar industry in its decline, especially after posting another huge loss in the first quarter. While the company did lose a ton on its restructuring plan, the adjusted earnings per share also fell way short of estimates. Revenues were a huge miss, but it appears that some of those revenues may be made up in the next few quarters. For that reason, the company actually increased full year earnings guidance, a strange move given how much they missed first quarter estimates by.

It has been an amazing fall for a former darling of Wall Street. Shares are down about 90% in the past 14 months. Yes, in early 2011, this name was over $160. Just three weeks ago this name was barely holding onto $11, but has rebounded nicely since. A number of analysts have come out supporting solar stocks at these levels, although we saw that happen in December when First Solar was in the high $30s.

Despite the average price target of $24, implying more than 50% upside currently, the average consensus out there is that First Solar is a hold currently. Despite signs that the industry may be improving, First Solar has widely missed earnings expectations in the past four quarters. Even with revenues expected to grow by 26% this year, earnings per share are forecast to fall by about 30%. Next year, revenues are expected to be flat for the year. The solar industry still has a lot of problems remaining, but one might think that this stock has been crushed just way too much. That might provide a buying opportunity, but this is a name that is up 39% in just 3 plus weeks. It might be a little too late to buy for now.

Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX):

Netflix shares started falling this quarter after its earnings report. Despite in-line revenues and a much smaller than expected loss, the company's tepid guidance for subscriber growth left many scratching their heads. Netflix management said that this was a usual seasonal occurrence, but investors did not agree. That led to revenue guidance being below expectations, but earnings guidance was ahead of forecasts. The company seems to be working on improving their cost structure, something critics continually harp on.

Shares have continued to drift lower as analysts cut their views of the name during May, and the company's announcement to roll out its own content delivery network has not thrilled shareholders. It also does not help that more cable networks are continuing to enter the space, and Netflix's competition increases by the week. We already know that many of the major cable networks are launching similar type services, and some have even formed partnerships, like Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and Coinstar (NASDAQ:CSTR).

Even though it doesn't look like Netflix will have as bad a year as some may have originally thought, this is still a company moving towards a lower margin business currently. Revenues are only expected to grow by 13% this year and 15% next year, down from the 20%, 30%, 40% growth rates we saw in the past. Also, the company is only expected to post earnings of roughly $2.12 in 2013, down about 50% from 2011. That means that the company still is trading at a forward P/E of 32, very high for a company with little profits, rising costs, slowing growth, and increasing competition.

Molycorp (MCP):

Molycorp has been troubled so far this year by two revenue misses, and plagued by higher production costs. Molycorp has had a hard time meeting growth expectations, which has continually knocked down the stock. The company announced a huge acquisition of Neo Material Technologies, and that has forced them to take out about $650 million in debt, which equals about one third of the current market cap.

Analysts see the Neo acquisition as bold, but if it works, will provide Molycorp with plenty of future growth. It has forced analysts to reduce their profit forecasts for the rest of this year, but 2013 estimates call for revenues and earnings per share to more than double. However, every time the company reports earnings that disappoint, analyst take down their forecasts, so what actually happens this year and next may be far off from what is expected now.

Shares are just a few dollars off their 52-week low, but that is common with most of the companies in the industry. 5 of 7 analysts currently rate it a hold, with the other two having buy recommendations. The average price target currently is $36.60, implying a ton of upside. The stock was at those levels earlier in the quarter, but the bad earnings report and Neo acquisition knocked it down. I've continually stated that Molycorp's stock can do very well, but only if the company hits its marks, and that has been troublesome in the past year.

Performance / Conclusion:

The following table shows the losses that these names have suffered so far this quarter.

Symbol Start Current Change
NFLX $115.04 $67.86 -41.01%
GMCR $46.84 $20.31 -56.64%
FSLR $25.05 $15.88 -36.61%
DECK $63.05 $45.00 -28.63%
MCP $33.83 $21.82 -35.50%
Click to enlarge

You know it is not pretty when the best of the five is down nearly 29%. But on the bright side, any of these names could easily be up that much in the next quarter. One good earnings report could do that. But any more bad reports and I could be telling the same story in 3 months. Many of these names have fallen quite dramatically since last year, but there is still plenty of room to fall. Which will rebound and which will lay dead? I'm curious to hear your thoughts on these names.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, but may initiate a long position in DECK over the next 72 hours.