5 Supernova Stocks That Have Flown Under the Radar: NuVasive

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Last week on the Rule Breaker Investing podcast, Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner reviewed the performance of two sets of his buy-and-hold stock picks: one set with a five-year horizon, and one that he recommended we hold for a year. This week, he offers up a new handful of recommendations, and the theme that came to his mind was Motley Fool Explorer, which is one of the premium services that competitively cherry-picks stocks from the Supernova universe.

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So David is offering five hidden gems from the 210 Foolish holdings -- long-term market beaters that have never been part of a Real Money mission that have market caps below $10 billion and brand names most people won't recognize. And he thinks you should hold them for the next three years or more. Next up, NuVasive (NASDAQ: NUVA), a medical-device company that focuses on the surgical treatment of spine disorders.

A full transcript follows the video.

10 stocks we like better than NuVasive
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David and Tom just revealed what they believe are the 10 best stocks for investors to buy right now… and NuVasive wasn't one of them! That's right -- they think these 10 stocks are even better buys.

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*Stock Advisor returns as of November 6, 2017

This video was recorded on Sept. 13, 2017.

David Gardner: "Hidden Gem" No. 3: Stock No. 3 is NuVasive. The ticker symbol is NUVA. I have my word of the week for you. A lot of you will know if you've listened to me for a while, that I love words. I am a writer, I guess, first and foremost. Actually a writer first and foremost, a gamer second, a stock picker third. So I love language and here's the word of the week. Raise your hand -- don't if you're driving -- raise your hand if you know what "camel case" is. All right, well, looking in the studio I've got one of two hands raised.

So "camel case" is just a great word. A lot of us know lowercase and we know upper case when we're talking about fonts or writing letters. Lowercase letters. Uppercase letters. Camel case is when you see a word that has, it's split -- somewhere in that word, a capital letter. Here's a common one. Rick Engdahl, my producer, quickly supplied me with this. Thank you, Kelsey Ryan, with the assist. iPhone. Capital "P." iPad. Those are camel case. There's uppercase, lowercase. Now you know what to call this increasing number of words, and this company's name is one of them -- NuVasive. Now you know that it's camel case in every case. So NuVasive puts a capital "V" in the middle of its name. The company's market cap is $3 billion. The risk rating for this stock is 12.

So NuVasive is a surgical treatment for spinal disorders company. It has its own platform for surgeons to use. The name of that platform is Maximum Access Surgery. They like to make it an acronym, MAS. But the company has distinguished itself as a purveyor of a platform that focuses on fixing your spine for surgeons, but coming in at the side of your body as opposed to from behind. That lateral approach is very distinctive for this minimally invasive platform.

What is the company's tag line? Well, it's "Growing at the Speed of Innovation," as best I can make it out. I'm not sure they're that focused with consumer tag lines or commercials, but I saw that in one place on their website.

So NuVasive is a stock I selected in March 2014, and it was at $37. Today it's at $60 so it's been a really wonderful three-and-a-half years. Up 61% with the market up 45%. I will say that I rerecommended it last summer at $57.79 on June 22 of last year, and while it is up a few percentage points, the market is up substantially more and so my second recommendation, my rerecommendation, is actually behind the market.

And that keys into one of the reasons I like this stock right now for the next three-plus years. That's that NuVasive has dropped from about $80 to about $60 in just the last two months. And while the stock market can radically reprice things, if you actually look at business performance you never see these kind of radical ups and downs. So what I see is strong performance from a long-term player that's still a small company in this field, and the stock market having rapidly repriced them 25% lower in just the last two months.

But this is a medical device company. I like companies that make medical devices. They usually receive easier FDA clearance and they're profitable companies. They're often a little bit quieter or sleepier. Have you ever heard of NuVasive before we had this podcast? I'm guessing for many you've not. I also like companies with platforms -- companies like Intuitive Surgical with its da Vinci platform. I love it when companies bring in their own platform. So there it is -- NuVasive -- another stock I like for the next three-plus years.

David Gardner owns shares of Intuitive Surgical and NuVasive. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Intuitive Surgical. The Motley Fool recommends NuVasive. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.