Stocks to buy

In Southeast Asia and China, e-commerce is poised to grow meaningfully going forward, and e-commerce should continue to expand in those regions for the foreseeable future. In a December 2022 report, McKinsey, a very well-respected consulting firm, wrote that e-commerce in most parts of Southeast Asia had reached a positive turning point. Specifically, consumers’ use of e-commerce platforms in the region boomed from 2016 to 2021. In the wake of the pandemic, e-commerce’s growth in the region is slowing, but the firm contended that “Southeast Asian [e-commerce] markets could sustain robust…annual growth of between 15 and 25 percent for the next five years.” As a result, finding Southeast Asian e-commerce stocks to buy seems like an excellent strategy for long-term investors.

Meanwhile, in China, the government’s stimulus measures are expected to start significantly, positively impacting the economy and consumer spending in the second half of this year, making the stocks of strong Chinese e-commerce companies attractive at this point.

These three strong e-commerce stocks to buy have significant exposure to the Southeast Asian e-commerce market or the Chinese e-commerce market.

Ticker Company Price
CPNG Coupang $12.91
SE Sea Ltd. $75.23
JD JD.com $39.34

Coupang (CPNG)

Source: Michael Vi / Shutterstock.com

Coupang (NYSE:CPNG) is based in the East Asian country of South Korea and still generates most of its revenue from that country. However, Coupang, in recent years, has expanded to the East Asian country of Taiwan, and that country’s e-commerce sector is poised to grow very rapidly going forward.

According to one estimate, Taiwan’s e-commerce sector will grow at a compound annual rate of nearly 10% over the next five years. Moreover, e-commerce is expected to account for 11.6% of retailers’ total sales in 2026 in Taiwan, up from 9.5% in 2022.

Meanwhile, Coupang’s overall fourth-quarter results were very strong, as its gross profits soared 59% year-over-year, and its gross margin jumped eight percentage points YOY to an impressive 24%. On the bottom line, its net income climbed $507 million YOY to $102 million, and its free cash flow came in at a very impressive $462 million.

The e-commerce company’s trailing price-sales ratio is a very low and attractive 1.2 times.

Sea Ltd. (SE)

Source: Muh.Imron / Shutterstock.com

Singapore-based Sea (NYSE:SE) owns Shopee, a Southeast Asian e-commerce platform. Unsurprisingly, given the very positive e-commerce trends in the region, Shopee delivered strong financial results for Sea last quarter. Specifically, the unit’s gross merchandise value climbed 7% year-over-year, while its EBITDA, excluding certain items, came in at $258 million. Sea’s overall gross profit soared 33% YOY.

In addition to growing its GMV, Shopee sharply cut its costs and monetized more of its platform.

Sea expects Shopee to be boosted over the longer term by the economic growth of its Southeast Asian markets as well as the increased penetration of e-commerce in those markets.

In the wake of the company’s Q4 results, Bank of America increased its price target on SE stock to $92 from $68. The firm expects the company to continue to be profitable going forward, and it views Sea’s comments about itself as upbeat. However, after SE stock rallied sharply in the wake of the results, the bank kept a “neutral” rating on the shares.

JD.com (JD)

Source: testing / Shutterstock.com

As I pointed out in a previous column, JD.com (NASDAQ:JD), a large Chinese e-commerce player, sought “to target China’s second-tier cities (cities that are less populated than the country’s largest municipalities).” Additionally, it invested heavily in its logistics network, cutting its expenses and enabling it to earn revenue from other firms that pay it to use the network.

These initiatives have borne fruit for JD, as its 2022 free cash flow came in at an impressive 35.6 billion Chinese yuan, or $5.2 billion, up from 26.2 billion Chinese yuan in 2021.

Japanese bank Mizuho expects JD’s revenue growth to accelerate to double-digit percentage levels in the year’s second half. The firm trimmed its price target on JD stock to $80 from $85 but kept a “buy” rating on the shares.

On the date of publication, Larry Ramer did not hold (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 InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

Larry Ramer has conducted research and written articles on U.S. stocks for 15 years. He has been employed by The Fly and Israel’s largest business newspaper, Globes. Larry began writing columns for InvestorPlace in 2015. Among his highly successful, contrarian picks have been PLUG, XOM and solar stocks. You can reach him on Stocktwits at @larryramer.

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