(Bloomberg) — The price that equity investors are willing to pay for fast growth is being tested again as slumps in Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:) Inc. and Shopify Inc. show they’re demanding more of companies with premium valuations.
The veggie-burger maker and e-commerce platform on Tuesday became the latest examples of firms that delivered on revenue-growth expectations only to see their stocks fall. Meanwhile, the food-delivery company GrubHub Inc. showed how damaging the fallout can be when that growth fades.
Shopify slid as much as 7.7% in Toronto despite boosting its revenue forecast for the year. The company reported an unexpected third-quarter loss after it increased spending to expand its customer network and build out fulfillment centers across the U.S. The stock was up 124% year to date through Monday’s close and has a forward price-to-estimated sales ratio of 18, compared with an average of 1.6 for the S&P/TSX Composite Index.
A higher sales forecast also proved insufficient for Beyond Meat, which saw its shares tumble as much as 24% on concerns about competition and the expiration of a lockup for early investors. Beyond Meat shares are still up 240% since their initial public offering in May, but that’s far from their 800% returns back in July. The stock trades at a forward price-to-sales ratio of 12, more than 6 times the average multiple for stocks in the S&P 500 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
GrubHub may provide a cautionary tale. Its shares plunged a record 44% after the food-delivery company gave a fourth-quarter outlook that was well below expectations, as intensifying competition and “promiscuous” customers weighed on growth trends.
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