Singular Research Director’s Letter : September 2017

Small Caps Outperform

The small and micro-cap sectors of the equity markets have been on a tear since the mid-August lows. We perceive that is partly due to the YTD underperformance of the small and micro cap sectors, but a huge boost occurred in September which we anticipate has some long legs, its tax reform. Lower corporate taxes is beneficial to investors, but in the current environment when small caps have underperformed and considering the domestic focus of small and micro cap companies, it is no wonder that this group will be supported by any positive news on domestic tax reform. Our contrarian indicators support the continuation of the latest rally. Short selling is at its highest level since before the 2016 election, and individual bullishness is below average.

For the top performing companies in September on the Singular Research coverage list, most reported strong fundamental performance in Q2, along with positive outlooks. Arotech Corp. (ARTX) was the top performer in September. The company provides engineering and security solutions to government agencies, municipalities and commercial organizations. The company recently received a new contract from the Army National Guard. Harvard Biosciences (HBIO) makes scientific equipment and consumables that are used by researchers worldwide. The company is benefiting by growth in China, increased spending from the National Institute of Health (NIH). The company is benefiting from the expanding gene editing market. Century Casinos (CNTY) has casino operations in a diverse set of venues including cruise ships and horse racing. The company beat earnings estimates in Q2. Control4 Corp (CTRL) provides smart home and business solutions that integrate audio, video, lighting, temperature, security, and communications. The company was a recent new initiation and has consistently been beating estimates.  Biolase (BIOL) makes laser dental products that are very patient friendly and recently introduced two new products in Q1. Sales of new products are ramping up slowly and the is rebounding after recent underperformance.

The worst performing group of the Singular Research coverage list during September include several companies that reported lower than expected Q2 results. The worst performing stock of the coverage list was IntelGenx Technologies (IGTX) focuses on novel drug delivery systems. Although the company missed our analysts’ expectations for Q2, there are several promising items in the near term pipeline. The New Your Times (NYT) underperformed as a short. The company had a stronger than expected Q2. Vasco Data Security (VDSI) makes hardware and software security products. Revenues declined in Q2 as expected, but our analyst expects revenue growth to resume in Q3 driven by software and service-centric offerings. A-Mark Precious Metals (AMRK) is a full-service precious metals trading company. Q4 performance (June 2017) was below expectations but our analyst notes management’s focus on expanding the high margin revenue streams in logistics, storage, financing, and minting. Acme United (ACU) reported lower than expected revenue and EPS in Q2, but management cites a shift of Q2 revenue into the second half and maintained its earlier annual guidance.

We continue to work on new ideas in the small and micro cap space. At Singular Research, we continue to seek out investment ideas that have minimal to no Wall Street coverage. We thank our clients for your support of independent equity research.