These stocks would have doubled your money last year

All of these great companies should continue to post gains for investors.

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This article was originally published on Fool.com. All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

2020 will be remembered as a volatile year in the stock market. After crashing in March, the broader market has seen high highs and low lows, and the S&P 500 Index (SP: .INX) is up 10% year to date through Friday's close.

Stay-at-home stocks have scored most of the high gains so far this year, and if you had invested in Etsy Inc (NASDAQ: ETSY), Square Inc (NYSE: SQ), and Peloton Interactive Inc (NASDAQ: PTON) a year ago, you would have more than doubled your money. Are further gains in store?

Exclusive products drive this e-commerce winner

Etsy's success as an online marketplace for handmade and one-of-a-kind items hasn't gone unnoticed -- certainly not by Amazon com Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN), which tried to compete with its own Handmade service. But with great management, an improved platform, and a long lead, Etsy keeps growing.

Etsy was well positioned for the pandemic, not only as a fully digital business, but with a community of makers ready to create custom masks and other pandemic paraphernalia. CEO Josh Silverman coordinated a response that spread demand among suppliers to meet increased interest in masks, resulting in millions of new customers, triple-digit sales growth for the past two quarters, and soaring earnings.

And it's far from over. Active customers are also on the increase as Etsy moves from a niche category into the mainstream and challenges the biggest names in e-commerce. The company acquired Reverb, a marketplace for musical instruments, moving into complementary businesses and adding new ways to plump the top line.

Etsy's stock has gained almost 240% over the past 12 months (based on Friday's closing price), but it fell after a great earnings report that has investors wondering about the future, and fell again on Pfizer Inc's (NYSE: PFE) promising coronavirus vaccine news. While some forward progress was definitely built into its price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio, its recent dip brings it down to a relatively reasonable P/E of 75, making now a great time to buy in.

Fueling new ways to pay

Square offers payment solutions for small and medium businesses as well as a peer-to-peer payments service called Cash App. But you probably already know that, since Cash App is the most popular peer-to-peer payments service in Alphabet Inc's (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG) Google Play store.

COVID-19 wasn't kind to the company; its main business, small business payment processing, and other small business services suffered with business closures. But Cash App business, specifically bitcoin, kept revenue afloat. And now that lockdowns have for the most part been lifted, growth has resumed across the board, with a 140% sales increase and a return to positive earnings.

Square, with $3 billion in revenue, is nowhere near as big as rival PayPal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ: PYPL), which has close to $5.5 billion in revenue, and PayPal's Venmo is the most popular peer-to-peer payments service in the Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) store. But Square is growing much faster, with 140% revenue growth. PayPal's maturity means its growth, while consistent, will be less eye-popping.

Square's stock has gained about 190% over the past 12 months, but investors can expect to see a lot more upside.

Pedaling toward success

Going public in September 2019, just a few months before the pandemic struck, Peloton was just in time for a stay-at-home fitness movement that lifted its sales and catapulted it into hot stock territory. 

In the third quarter, even after fitness-minded consumers were out and about again, Peloton showed its staying power with a 92% retention rate, 137% increase in connected fitness subscriptions, 382% increase in digital subscriptions, and 232% increase in revenue.

In fact, it's growing so fast that it can't keep up with demand, and there's a longer than one-month waiting list to purchase its premium video-connected bikes. 

Peloton has had the biggest gains of the three companies listed here, more than 280% over the past 12 months, even with a recent dip as investors cash out of stay-at-home stocks. I would say it's also the riskiest of the three, since premium bikes have a lower ceiling than payments and trinkets. But the company is making strategic moves to keep growing, such as launching new products and connecting with celebrities, and it still has years of high growth ahead.

This article was originally published on Fool.com. All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

Wondering where you should invest $1,000 right now?

When investing expert Scott Phillips has a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the flagship Motley Fool Share Advisor newsletter he has run for over ten years has provided thousands of paying members with stock picks that have doubled, tripled or even more.*

Scott just revealed what he believes could be the five best ASX stocks for investors to buy right now. These stocks are trading at near dirt-cheap prices and Scott thinks they could be great buys right now.

*Returns as of January 12th 2022

Jennifer Saibil has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Amazon, Apple, Etsy, PayPal Holdings, Peloton Interactive, and Square and recommends the following options: short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon, long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon, and long January 2022 $75 calls on PayPal Holdings. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Amazon, Apple, and PayPal Holdings. 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 Scott Phillips.

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