Can these 2 growth shares continue higher in 2016?

2016 hasn’t started the way many investors would have hoped for with the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX:XJO) already down by more than 10%.

As would be expected, the list of shares reaching new 52-week highs is slim and unsurprisingly dominated by gold miners.

While it would be tempting to buy gold companies right now following the recent surge in the gold price, investors need to remember gold miners have no control of where the gold price will be next week, let alone in a couple of years from now.

Gold companies could continue to surge higher if global markets remain volatile, but investors in the sector are more likely to be speculating and hedging their positions for the short term rather than investing for the long term.

For investors looking for longer-term growth options, there have been a number of shares that have performed surprisingly well and generally been spared from the brutal sell-off.

One of these stocks is IDP Education Pty Ltd (ASX: IEL). IDP Education operates in the growing international and domestic education sector and focuses on student recruitment and English language testing and teaching.

50% of the company was previously owned by SEEK Limited (ASX: SEK), before it floated its share of the business back in November 2015. The remaining 50% of the company is still owned by 38 Australian universities through a group known as Education Australia Limited.

Investors have shown a great level of interest in the stock with the share price increasing by more than 21% since the start of 2016. Only last week, IDP Education released its maiden earnings result as a public company and the numbers did not disappoint.

The company delivered record half year revenue and earnings with double-digit revenue growth in each of the company’s core product categories. Total revenue grew by 24.6% to $181.6 million and net profit after tax (NPAT) increased by 23.2% to $20.3 million. Operating cash flows were strong and the balance sheet remains robust with only $7 million in debt outstanding.

Pleasingly for shareholders, IDP Education re-affirmed its full year forecasts and remains on track to deliver NPAT of $35.5 million for FY16.

Following the recent surge in the share price however, the shares are now trading on a forecast FY16 price-to-earnings multiple of around 29. Accordingly, the shares appear fully valued in the short term, but the strong underlying fundamentals of the education sector means the long-term outlook remains very positive for IDP Education in my opinion.

Another company that has performed remarkably well has been Catapult Group International Ltd (ASX: CAT). Shares of the global sports analytics company have surged more than 250% over the past 12 months and have been largely unaffected by the recent market sell-off.

Catapult provides hardware and software technology such as GPS tracking for sporting teams to help track and improve athletic performance. Some of its key customers already include teams from the AFL, NRL, NFL, NBA and English Premier League.

The company recently reported a record quarterly sales result that revealed a 66% increase in unit sales compared to the prior corresponding period. Recurring subscription volumes were also 15% higher.

In addition to this, Catapult has recently signed new league-wide agreements with the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) for four years and with the AFL for five years. This means all of the teams in these competitions will now be using Catapult’s technology and products to track athlete performance.

Investors interested in investing in Catapult, however, need to take into account the company is still in its early growth phase and is not yet profitable.  Net operating cash flows are still negative and in November Catapult conducted a $6 million capital raising to institutional investors. This remains a key risk for investors as there is the possibility of further capital raisings as the company is sitting on a cash balance of just $8.3 million.

Despite this, there remains a huge untapped market for Catapult and it continues to sign new contracts all around the sporting world. This is a stock that should definitely be on the watch list of every growth investor as it could be a long-term winner.

As the ASX flirts with 5,000, some experts are predicting a market crash...

Is a share-market crash coming? Get our analysts' exclusive inside take now, in The Motley Fool's newly updated report, "What to Do When the Sharemarket Crashes" -- including expert tips on how to protect YOUR portfolio. Click here for your FREE copy now.

Motley Fool contributor Christopher Georges has no position in any stocks mentioned. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

Two New Stock Picks Every Month!

Not to alarm you, but you’re about to miss a very important event! Chief Investment Advisor Scott Phillips and his team at Motley Fool Share Advisor are about to reveal their latest official stock recommendation. The premium “buy alert” will be unveiled to members and you can be among the first to act on the tip.

Don’t let this opportunity pass you by – this is your chance to get in early!

Simply enter your email now to find out how you can get instant access.

By clicking this button, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. We will use your email address only to keep you informed about updates to our website and about other products and services we think might interest you. You can unsubscribe from Take Stock at anytime. Please refer to our Financial Services Guide (FSG) for more information.