One of the challenges for any company is maintaining a high rate of long-term earnings growth. Certainly, in the first few years of existence it’s possible to achieve sky-high rates of growth, but as the business matures and comparisons become more difficult, it can be challenging to maintain an above-average rate of profit growth.
This is a key reason why ARM (LSE: ARM) is such an appealing stock. It’s now becoming a more mature business, offering a relatively stable financial outlook as well as increasing dividends at a rapid rate. However, it still offers a stunning rate of growth, with ARM’s bottom line forecast to increase by 43% in the current year and by a further 15% next year. And with ARM investing heavily in new market segments such as the Internet of Things, its longer-term growth potential remains highly encouraging.
With ARM trading on a price-to-earnings growth (PEG) ratio of just 1.5, it seems to offer substantial upside potential. Therefore, it remains a super growth stock worth buying for the long term.
Capital gain potential
Also offering upbeat growth prospects is patent translation specialist RWS (LSE: RWS). Its bottom line is forecast to rise by 27% in the current year and by a further 8% next year. Furthermore, RWS has a relatively wide economic moat and with it having a relatively consistent track record of growth, it seems to be an excellent growth play for the long term.
While RWS trades on a P/E ratio of 21, it still offers significant capital gain potential. Investor sentiment remains strong, as evidenced by its share price rise of 58% in the last year. And while RWS is expected to raise dividends per share by 6% this year so that it yields 2.4%, it remains an excellent growth play that has been able to increase its bottom line at an annualised rate of 10% over the last five financial years.
Wait and see
However during this period, connected healthcare software specialist Emis (LSE: EMIS) has been able to grow its bottom line at an even more appealing annualised rate of 12.4%. This shows that it has been an excellent growth play, with its share price soaring by 98% during the last five years.
Looking ahead, Emis is forecast to post strong growth numbers. Its earnings are expected to rise by 8% in the current year and by a further 9% next year. However, with the company’s shares trading on a P/E ratio of 20.7, Emis appears to be rather fully valued at the moment.
Certainly, with uncertainty among investors regarding the global macroeconomic outlook being high, more reliable growth stocks such as Emis could be of real value. But with other growth plays offering better value for money, it may be prudent to await a lower share price before piling-in to Emis.
Peter Stephens owns shares of ARM Holdings and RWS. The Motley Fool UK has recommended ARM Holdings. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.