Stocks to buy

Financial Freedom Fighters: 3 Stocks to Liberate Your Portfolio

One of the best stocks for financial freedom over the past 30 years is Monster Beverage (NASDAQ:MNST). Between Feb. 14, 1994, and Feb. 14, 2024, the energy drink maker’s stock appreciated around 200,000%. That’s $2,000 in gains for every dollar bet. That’s some capital gains bill.

Combine a growing trend with solid management, and you have the makings of a 200-bagger.

“Some of it is clearly right place, right time,” CNBC reported Stifel consumer and retail managing director Mark Astrachan’s comments in February. “I think there’s an element to it as well of being really good at what you can do, because you can’t be as lucky as they’ve been for as long as they’ve been, without being really good at running a business.”

The critical thing to remember about Monster is that it failed in its initial launch of energy drinks under the Hansen’s brand in 1997. Only in 2002 did it introduce Monster Energy drinks. It had revenue of $115.5 million that year and 3.0 million in net income. It wasn’t a big money maker at the start.  

You can find a growing and well-run company, but you still need lots of luck and time to gain financial freedom.

Here are three that could do so.

Bioceres Crop Solutions (BIOX)

Source: Shutterstock

Bioceres Crop Solutions (NASDAQ:BIOX) is an Argentinian-based company whose history dates back to 2001 when a group of growers in Argentina got together to source, validate, develop, and commercialize environmentally sustainable agricultural technologies and products. 

The company went public in March 2019 after merging with Union Acquisition Corp., a SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) based in New York City, which was established in February 2018 by thirty-somethings Juan Sartori and Kyle Bransfield, both experienced investors. 

While the SPAC did not target a specific industry, it was always focused on a target based in Latin America. Neither Sartori nor Bransfield appear to own enough company shares to appear in its June 2023 20-F form.  

Bioceres revenue in Q2 2024 was $140.2 million, 49% higher than Q2 2023. Its operating profit was $16.8 million, 664% higher than a year earlier. The revenue was its highest quarter to date. The company has three operating segments: Crop Protection (51% of revenue), Crop Nutrition (26%), and Seed and Integrated Products (23%). 

The company’s HB4 platform for soy and wheat is leading the charge in terms of product development. Its HB4 soy products have been approved in over 85% of the global soy market, and HB4 wheat has been approved in the U.S., Australia, and many emerging markets.

HB4 is part of the company’s Seed and Integrated Products segment. Thanks to HB4, the segment’s sales rose 97% over Q2 2023 and 81% for the first half of 2024 compared to last year. 

With food shortages expected to continue for decades, Bioceres could be part of solving these shortages. 

Direct Digital Holdings (DRCT)    

Source: VectorKnight/

Direct Digital Holdings (NASDAQ:DRCT) is a Houston-based company providing digital marketing and advertising solutions. In November, it was named the 108th fastest-growing company in North America on the 2023 Deloitte Technology Fast 500 ranking. 

Through its three subsidiary companies, Colossus SSP, Huddled Masses, and Orange 152, the company helps small and medium-sized businesses get their brands in front of millions of consumers. It believes it’s filling an underserved market. 

“We believe that we have a unique competitive advantage due to our data-driven technology that allows us to provide front-end, buy-side planning for our small- and mid-sized clients, coupled with our proprietary Colossus SSP where we can curate the last-mile in the execution process to drive higher ROI,” the company’s website states

It’s hard to know when programmatic advertising will lose its momentum. In the meantime, however, its stock’s on fire, up 79% year-to-date and 695% over the past five years. 

Its revenue in the first nine months of 2023 was $116.1 million, up 98% over 2022, while its operating income was $6.6 million, 20% higher. For 2023, it expects revenue of $180 million at the midpoint of its guidance, 101% higher than in 2022. Based on a 6% operating margin through the first nine months, it should earn $10 million or more. 

Looking back on Monster’s climb, investors often questioned whether its shares could increase. They did. Fast-moving doesn’t always mean you’ve missed out on the fun.

NeuroPace (NPCE)

Source: THICHA SATAPITANON / Shutterstock

NeuroPace (NASDAQ:NPCE) is a business that hits home. The company has developed an RNS System (Responsive Neurostimulation) that helps people with epilepsy reduce or eliminate seizures. Its website states, “It is the first and only commercially available, brain-responsive platform that delivers personalized, real-time treatment at the seizure source.”  

My wife’s aunt has an older cat that gets seizures. There’s nothing vets can generally do to prevent them. Not being a scientist, I’m not sure that NeuroPace’s technology could even work on pets, but if it could, I’m sure plenty of pet owners would cough up the money to get their little ones treated. I know I would.

In December, NeuroPace announced that it had completed the patient enrollment for its NAUTILUS study to treat idiopathic generalized epilepsy (IGE) a quarter ahead of schedule.

“We believe that the pace of enrollment in the trial highlights the significant unmet need that exists for patients with drug refractory idiopathic generalized epilepsy,” NeuroPace’s Chief Medical Officer Martha Morrell, M.D., stated in December. 

According to company data, 1.2 million Americans have drug-refractory epilepsy that could use its RNS System therapy. IGE seizures tend to be identified in childhood and carry on for the rest of a person’s life. 

The company expects 2023 revenue of at least $64.9 million, 43% higher than in 2022. It will finish the fourth quarter with approximately $67 million in cash on its balance sheet and a long-term debt of just $56 million.  

Medical devices are tricky to handicap when it comes to commercial success. A lot has to go right to accelerate growth. So far, so good.  

On the date of publication, Will Ashworth did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the Publishing Guidelines.

Will Ashworth has written about investments full-time since 2008. Publications where he’s appeared include InvestorPlace, The Motley Fool Canada, Investopedia, Kiplinger, and several others in both the U.S. and Canada. He particularly enjoys creating model portfolios that stand the test of time. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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