Singular Research Director’s Letter : January 2017

Post-Election Equity Market Euphoria Continues

The two month equity market rally began to take a breather when the Fed raised interest rates in December. We anticipate several more tightening moves by the Fed in 2017, driven by an uptick in the pace of economic growth. In closing out 2016, manufacturing activity and construction spending metrics have shown surprising strength – we view this as further confirmation the US economy does not need any more monetary stimulus to be self-sustaining. Expectations of a more favorable business environment from the incoming administration are adding support to the recent rally, in our opinion. We anticipate business investment and infrastructure spending to increase in 2017. The combination of these events points to continued bullishness in the US equity markets over the intermediate term. Small and micro cap indexes have begun to outperform the broader equity market in the past few months after a few years of underperformance. We expect this trend to continue through 2017. Our proprietary market overview aggregate, the MMI, has moved into neutral territory after the recent equity market run.

For the companies on the Singular Research coverage list, most of the top performing group in December reported a Q3 that was above expectations, and some of the names responded strongly after a few months of rather weak performance. Harvard Bioscience (HBIO) was the strongest performer in December after a weak November. HBIO develops and markets scientific equipment and consumables that are used in medical research, with strong brand name recognition in the industry. Emergent BioSolutions (EBS) reported much better than expected revenues and earnings, and the stock has rebounded in December after a weak November. Century Casinos (CNTY) has been performing well in the last few months after languishing for several months, and our analyst forecasts strong EPS growth in 2017. A-Mark Precious Metals (AMRK) is rebounding after lackluster performance for a few months, and the company is positioned to benefit from a healthier environment for small to mid-sized companies in 2017. Acme United (ACU) reported a very strong Q3.

The worst performing group of the Singular coverage list during December have several hidden gems that we anticipate will perform well in the next year. The worst performing stock of the coverage list, AMRS, was a new initiation for Singular in September, and the stock performed exceptionally well in October. The company has several products in the pipeline with favorable long-term implications and our analyst remains very bullish on AMRS. SA released two very favorable reports critical to mineral development. Both the Preliminary Feasibility Study and a Preliminary Economics Assessment demonstrated improved project economics on its mining assets. IRIX had a weaker than expected Q3 as the company invests in its production capacity and marketing which our analysts expects will drive margin expansion in 2017. NVEE corrected after a strong November and our analyst expects strong revenue and earnings growth in 2017. LAKE beat our analyst’s expectations in Q3, and is anticipated to have strong earnings growth driven by double digit revenue growth and margin expansion in 2017.

We initiated coverage of two companies in December, Black Hills Corp (BKH) and Daktronics (DAKT). BKH is an electric and natural gas utility company covering several states including Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa and Arkansas, among others. The company is a low cost producer and is developing renewable energy sites. DAKT is the leading supplier of large electronic scoreboards with commercial and live event markets driving over 60% of revenues. Margins are expanding as revenues grow in the upper single digit range.

At Singular Research, we continue to seek out investment ideas that have minimal to no Wall Street coverage. We are working on several new names that we anticipate coverage will be launched in the coming weeks. We thank our clients for your support of independent equity research. And we wish you and your families the best for 2017.