The essence of successful growth-stock investing is to look for candidates likely to rise steadily over the years rather than guessing what's likely to soar in the short term -- but it's nice when the latter happens too, isn't it?
Wey Education(LSE: WEY) shareholders should be sporting cheesy grins today after their shares spiked up by more than 80% in just two days -- from a low of 17.5p on Monday, they reached 32.7p during Wednesday morning trading.
Wey, which has been in its early cash-burn days, has just posted news of its "maiden profit before tax of £17,630", for the year ended 31 August. That might not sound a lot, but there could be far more to come.
It floated on AIM as recently as December 2015 and runs "the UK's only online fee-paying secondary school," InterHigh, so it's a bit of a niche stock and you really need to know what you're doing -- but the figures do look good.
Start of something big?
Turnover for the year rose by 60% to £2.4m, with the company's B2B division, The Wey ecademy, "experiencing significant growth" and we were told to expect significant further turnover rises in the current year.
The B2B business has "already exceeded the target number of pupils" expected by the company, and that does emphasise the current demand for online learning.
I've been impressed by how well Wey's secondary school offering is doing at this early stage, as I would have expected demand to build more slowly -- but I have no doubt of the potential for business-related online education.
There are few meaningful fundamentals right now, but if EPS grows as expected, this could be a tempting buying opportunity.
Shares in Zotefoams(LSE: ZTF) shot up on Wednesday too, hitting a 52-week high of 393p in response to the company's third-quarter update.
The firm bills itself as "a world leader in cellular materials technology," and that essentially means light, padded, waterproof, rubbery things -- from trainer soles to aircraft ejector seats. And it seems to be good at it, with Q3 revenue up 22% and revenue for the nine months up 24%.
And what has excited the markets is an upgraded outlook that now suggests full-year revenue should be ahead of expectations with adjusted pre-tax profit at the top end.
Current forecasts suggest a forward P/E of around 26 for the full year, after the day's share price rise, and the 2018 multiple would stand at around 22.
Those will presumably come down when updated forecasts are available, but we're clearly looking at a valuation that's expecting earnings growth to continue -- and we have EPS rises of 15% and 17% predicted for this year and next.
Dividend yields are modest at around 1.5%, but they are well covered and the payout is progressive, with rises expected to come in a bit ahead of inflation. Zotefoams isn't exactly a cash cow just yet, but I do see stronger dividend potential in the longer term.
The share price has been a bit erratic over the past five years, but it's just about doubled and that's an impressive performance -- way ahead of the FTSE 100's modest 34% over the same period.
With international expansion on the horizon thanks to the company's new factory in the US, and low debt on the books, I see more to come.
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Alan Oscroft has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.