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Guide To Investing In Growth Stocks In Singapore

High return, high risk.

Investors have access to different groups of stocks that can meet their financial goals and match their comfort with risk. For example, retirees or people seeking regular income might prefer dividend stocks, which pay dividends regularly.

On the other hand, younger investors who are comfortable with higher risk might choose growth stocks, known for their potential to increase in value.

But what are growth stocks, and how can one purchase them in Singapore?

Read Also: Guide To Dividend Investing In Singapore

Understanding Growth Stocks?

Growth stocks refer to shares in companies expected to grow at a significantly higher rate than the overall stock market. Generally, the faster a company can grow its business, the faster its share price will appreciate over the long run.

Examples of growth stocks in the US stock market include the Magnificent 7 companies, namely – Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Meta Platforms (NASDAQ: META), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA), and Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA).

These tech giants dominated the market in 2023, with stock prices soaring well above the broader market’s gains.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Growth stocks can be likened to the up-and-coming stars in the world of athletics—full of potential, often associated with emerging and dynamic industries, and possessing the capability for remarkable growth.

These stocks are attractive to investors who see the promise of substantial future gains, making them willing to invest at a high price today despite the stocks appearing costly when evaluated using traditional financial metrics. This anticipation of explosive growth justifies their expensive price today, as investors are bullish on the company’s future success, and are less concerned about its current financial performance.

Key Traits Of Promising Growth Stocks

With thousands of stocks available to choose from, how can one sieve out the growth companies? Here are some 4 metrics that can help us identify growth stocks.

#1 Strong Competitive Advantage

Recall the famous analogy by legendary investor Warren Buffett, who compares a successful business to an “economic castle” surrounded by a wide “moat.” Similarly, growth companies need to have a distinctive advantage that makes it challenging for competitors to encroach on their market share. This protective “moat” can manifest in several ways:

High Switching Costs: Consider the hassle of transitioning from one computer operating system to another. These substantial switching costs create customer loyalty, as the inconvenience discourages them from moving to a competitor’s product. A prime example of this is Microsoft (or Apple) where users remain with their software to avoid the complexities of learning a new system.

Network Effects: Picture a ride-sharing service. The more individuals use the app, the more beneficial and efficient the service becomes for all. This network effect solidifies the position of the market leader by making their service increasingly attractive as it grows. Mastercard and Visa exemplify this, where their widespread acceptance enhances their value to both users and merchants.

Cost Efficiency: A company that can produce goods or services at a lower cost has a competitive edge. It can offer lower prices than its rivals, attracting and retaining customers while still maintaining profitability. Costco is known for this approach, leveraging its massive buying power to offer deals that few can compete with.

Intangible Assets: Assets like strong brand identity, exclusive patents, or special licenses can form a formidable barrier against newcomers trying to enter the market. The banks listed in Singapore are illustrative of this, where their established reputations, extensive patent portfolios, or exclusive banking licenses protect them from new competitors.

The stronger the competitive advantage, the better it is for investors. This is a qualitative metric, and investors need to dig up the company’s annual reports to find out how impenetrable the moat is during both good and bad times.

#2 Revenue Growth

A fundamental purpose of a company is to generate profit. Therefore, analysing revenue growth is a critical component of identifying growth stocks.

Growth-oriented companies are expected to demonstrate a significant and continuous rise in their revenue. It’s advisable to target companies boasting annual revenue growth rates of at least 25%. Such a robust increase is a clear indicator of strong market demand for their products or services.

Moreover, it’s preferable for these companies to be situated within industries characterised by long-term growth prospects. Sectors like artificial intelligence or clean energy are prime examples, as they are anticipated to expand considerably over the coming years. Investing in companies within these sectors not only aligns with the pursuit of high revenue growth but also positions investors to benefit from broader industry trends that could amplify their investment returns.

#3 Earnings and Free Cash Flow Growth

In addition to revenue, robust growth companies are characterised by notable earnings growth. This significant earnings increase is vital because it provides them with the resources to reinvest profits into the business, propelling further expansion. When evaluating such companies, it’s important to search for those with widening profit margins. This trend suggests that they are increasing sales and becoming more efficient, capturing a greater share of profit from each sale.

For technology companies, especially those in their early growth phases, the concept of free cash flow becomes increasingly significant. Free cash flow measures a company’s ability to generate cash after covering its operating expenses and capital investments. A positive free cash flow indicates a company’s sound financial health, signifying that it has ample funds to support ongoing operations, invest in growth opportunities, or return value to shareholders.

Thus, beyond mere revenue numbers, these financial indicators—earnings growth, expanding profit margins, and positive free cash flow—are crucial for assessing the viability and growth potential of companies, particularly in the dynamic and capital-intensive tech industry.

#4 Balance Sheet Strength

A robust balance sheet is essential for the stability and sustainability of any company, but it is particularly important for those prioritising growth. Ideally, such a company should possess a greater amount of cash than debt. Having a substantial financial reserve enables the company to effectively navigate economic downturns and unforeseen obstacles, ensuring its continued operation and growth.

In instances where a company does carry debt, it’s critical to verify that the level of debt is manageable and does not threaten the company’s financial stability or lead to bankruptcy. For companies where the total debt exceeds their cash on hand, resulting in net debt, a debt-to-equity ratio of less than 1 is generally seen as desirable. This ratio is particularly important for companies that are not yet profitable, as it suggests that the company has not over-leveraged itself in relation to its equity base.

A balance sheet that demonstrates more assets than liabilities, particularly in terms of cash versus debt, lays a strong foundation for a company’s future growth. It indicates that the company is financially healthy, capable of funding its operations and growth initiatives without excessive reliance on debt, and prepared to withstand financial pressures.

This financial health is crucial for growth-focused companies, providing the resilience and flexibility needed to seize new opportunities and invest in their long-term expansion.

Investing in Growth Stocks in Singapore

There are various brokers available in Singapore to get access to both Singapore growth stocks and US growth stocks.  For instance, investors can consider FSMOne, Tiger Brokers, and Moomoo for both Singapore and US stocks.

For US stocks only, Interactive Brokers (IBKR) is a broker that you can consider due to its extremely competitive commission and track record.

Stock Brokerages Trading Fees Minimum Commission Fees (US$)
FSMOne 0.08% US$3.80
Tiger Brokers -US$0.005/ share

-Platform fee of US$0.005/ share

-US$0.99 (Max commission of 0.5% of trade value)

-Platform fee of US$1 (Max commission of 0.5% of trade value)

Moomoo -$0 commission

-Platform fee of US$0.99/order

Platform fee of US$0.99/order
IBKR US$0.005/ share


No transaction fees for ETFs*

US$1 (Max commission of 1.0% of trade value)


* IBKR’s commission-free ETFs include over 90 ETFs, and investors must hold the ETFs of at least 30 days.

Check out our comprehensive guides on Singapore and US stock brokerages for more in-depth coverage of what to look out for and the various fees involved.

The Risk Of Growth Stocks

While growth stocks captivate investors with the promise of substantial returns, it’s essential to approach them with a full understanding of the risks involved. Before deciding to invest, consider these potential risks.

Hype-Driven Valuations: Often, growth stocks are priced well above what traditional valuation metrics, such as the price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio or the price-to-free-cash-flow (P/FCF) ratio, would suggest is reasonable. Their market prices are frequently propelled by excitement and lofty expectations rather than solid financial fundamentals. This situation renders them vulnerable to significant price fluctuations when they fail to meet those expectations, as the initial enthusiasm can quickly dissipate, leading to a sharp decline in their share price.

Sensitivity to Economic Fluctuations: Growth stocks are typically more vulnerable to economic downturns. Because their valuations are predicated on future growth prospects, any signs of an economic slowdown can lead to a swift reassessment of their value. This re-evaluation often results in more pronounced price corrections for growth stocks compared to more stable, value-oriented stocks.

Innovation Risks: The path of innovation is fraught with uncertainties. Not every company positioned as a growth powerhouse will fulfil its ambitious goals. For example, some high-profile growth stocks from the dot-com era have utterly failed to materialise their projected potential. Therefore, investors should meticulously evaluate the business model, market viability, and the specific risks associated with the innovative endeavours of these companies.

Understanding all these risks is crucial for any investor considering growth stocks. While the potential for high returns is appealing, the associated risks underscore the importance of thorough research and a well-considered strategy before making investment decisions.

Read Also: Guide To Value Investing In Singapore

A Balanced Approach To Growth Investing

Investing in growth stocks can significantly diversify your portfolio and offer the potential for high returns. These stocks are particularly appealing to investors who are looking at a long-term investment strategy and are comfortable with high levels of risk.

Before diving into growth stocks, it’s crucial to conduct thorough research, understand each company’s business model deeply, and ensure a balanced portfolio by including other types of stocks or asset classes. This strategy helps in mitigating risk.

The core-satellite approach is one effective strategy for incorporating growth stocks into your investment portfolio. This involves allocating a substantial portion of your portfolio to core holdings, which consist of more mature and stable companies. These core investments provide a foundation of stability for your portfolio. Meanwhile, growth stocks, especially those yet to turn a profit, can be included as satellite positions. These satellite holdings allow for exposure to higher growth potential, albeit with increased risk, without jeopardising the overall health of your investment portfolio.

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