1 E-Commerce Stock That Has Created Millionaires and Is Poised to Make More


The e-commerce industry is adept at producing millionaire-maker stocks. Amazon climbed over 500-fold from the depths of the dot-com bust in the early 2000s, and many legacy brick-and-mortar retailers drove significant returns by integrating e-commerce with in-store retailing.

However, one top e-commerce company that may receive less attention is MercadoLibre (NASDAQ: MELI). The Latin American conglomerate does not operate in the U.S., so American investors can easily overlook it. Still, with its e-commerce success and its ability to build successful businesses tied to e-commerce, investors should expect it to continue minting millionaires.

How MercadoLibre prospers

As mentioned, MercadoLibre operates in Latin America, a region that periodically deals with political turmoil, rampant inflation, and regulatory schemes that often have confusing and complicated rules.

Nonetheless, the company seems to thrive from facing such challenges. MercadoLibre began as an e-commerce company, but quickly found its cash-based customers often could not buy online. Thus, it formed Mercado Pago to offer financial products that allowed customers to buy on the platform.

So successful was this business that it began to serve customers who were not buying MercadoLibre products. Additionally, the investment arm of Mercado Pago has allowed Argentines to shelter money from the country’s hyperinflation.

Moreover, Mercado Envios, its fulfillment and logistics business, succeeded in the same manner. Since it introduced one-day and two-day shipping to many parts of Latin America, it too has developed a business both tied to and separated from the company’s e-commerce arm.

MercadoLibre’s growth

Since MercadoLibre stock debuted in August 2007, these businesses have helped the stock grow by around 95-fold. Hence, investors who invested just over $10,000 or more on the IPO date have become millionaires from the stock.

Despite those massive gains, its market cap is less than $90 billion, approximately 5% of Amazon’s size. That makes it small enough that it can still grow at a considerable pace, and judging by the numbers, it certainly has.

Investors will not see its full-year performance until later in February, when it is expected to release those numbers. If the first nine months of 2023 are an indication, those numbers will likely show significant growth.

During that period, MercadoLibre reported more than $10 billion in revenue, a 36% increase from the first three quarters of 2022. Moreover, it only began to report full-year profits in 2021. Thus, it should not surprise investors that its net income of $822 million in the first three quarters of 2023 rose 159% from the same period in 2022.

Additionally, the stock may not be as expensive as some might assume. Its P/E ratio is about 90, a level growth investors might overlook, given that profits more than doubled over the last year. Also, the forward P/E ratio of just over 50 points to further rapid growth, a factor that should bode well for MercadoLibre’s investors.

MercadoLibre is set to mint more millionaires

Considering past and likely future gains, MercadoLibre may have only just begun to mint millionaires. The company continues to lead the way in e-commerce. As it solves problems through innovation, it succeeds in businesses that work synergistically and separately from its e-commerce arm.

Furthermore, instead of Latin America’s challenges harming its business, they tend to strengthen MercadoLibre. That likely means the stock can thrive, no matter what happens in the region. As MercadoLibre continues to serve more customers, that probably means more of its investors will see their investments in the company grow to the seven-figure level and beyond.

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John Mackey, former CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Will Healy has positions in MercadoLibre. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Amazon and MercadoLibre. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 E-Commerce Stock That Has Created Millionaires and Is Poised to Make More was originally published by The Motley Fool

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