3 Stocks Primed to Break Out in 2023 – The Motley Fool

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Some years, the market might seem more predictable. Other years, it’s anyone’s guess. It feels like 2023 falls in the latter camp as it could easily be a continuation of 2022 or perhaps it might be the start of a new bull market. Regardless of what the market does, there are a few stocks that I think will break out from the pack next year.
Among them are Adobe (ADBE -1.59%), Autodesk (ADSK -2.65%), and Procore Technologies (PCOR -4.22%). This trio is a mixture of mature and emerging companies, but all have performed well in 2022, at least from a business standpoint. Here’s why I think 2023 could be a breakout year.
Adobe’s creative tools are used by numerous businesses globally, and students are educated at all levels on how to use them. However, in today’s age of collaboration, Adobe’s products lack a true cloud collaborative presence that lets multiple users work on the same project at once.
That’s why Adobe purchased Figma for $20 billion back in September. While it was an expensive price tag for the business, the real value came from Figma’s collaborative technology, which was far superior to Adobe’s.
After the news was announced, Adobe’s stock sold off and is now valued at a multi-year low price-to-free-cash-flow perspective.
ADBE Price to Free Cash Flow Chart
ADBE Price to Free Cash Flow data by YCharts
This sell-off represents an incredible buying opportunity because Adobe grew its revenue by 13% year over year in Q3 of its fiscal 2022, ended Sept. 2. With analysts expecting Adobe to grow its revenue by 10% and earnings per share by 12% next year, the company is still executing at a high level.
Its execution will only exaggerate its undervalued state, so 2023 should be another excellent year for Adobe.
If Adobe is synonymous with the creative industry, then Autodesk can be seen as its counterpart in the engineering and architecture space. Its design products are used daily in these fields, and its users cannot live without them. This necessity makes Autodesk recession-proof, something it displayed in its most recent quarter.
Autodesk’s third quarter (ended Oct. 31) saw revenue growth of 14% year over year to $1.28 billion, and it converted $460 million of that into free cash flow for a margin of 36%. Autodesk also got more efficient in the quarter, with its operating margin rising 3 percentage points to 20%. 
For the full year, Autodesk expects to generate $1.94 billion in free cash flow, valuing the company at 21.9 times full-year free cash flow. Throw in a newly announced $5 billion stock repurchase plan (about 12% of its current market cap), and Autodesk looks like a strong candidate for a stock that could break out in 2023.
Procore is a much younger company than Autodesk or Adobe. Its goal is to improve the construction industry through better communication and project management. It does this by linking all stakeholders to a single point of truth in a project and allowing owners to easily monitor their investment’s budget and progress.
Construction is a massive opportunity for Procore because of its low digitization. McKinsey & Company ranks construction as the second-least digitized industry, with only agriculture and hunting behind it. With $11 trillion in global construction in 2020 and an estimated $15 trillion to be spent by 2030, Procore’s management software has vast potential.
Procore estimates it has only captured about 2% of potential customers in the U.S. and about 14% of the available volume. While the company isn’t free-cash-flow positive (it burned $6 million last quarter), it rapidly grew its revenue by 41% year over year to $186 million in Q3.
Valued at 9.7 times sales, it’s not valued much differently than Adobe (9.3) or Autodesk (9.1). This gives me confidence that Procore isn’t vastly overvalued, even though it has a ways to go to break even.
Procore is a relatively unknown company, even though it has a huge addressable market and a great product. 2023 may be the year more investors learn about Procore, so you may want to get in before others take notice.
Keithen Drury has positions in Adobe Inc., Autodesk, and Procore Technologies, Inc. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Adobe Inc., Autodesk, and Procore Technologies, Inc. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long January 2024 $420 calls on Adobe Inc. and short January 2024 $430 calls on Adobe Inc. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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