Singular Research Director’s Letter : March 2018

Tough Talk Reverses Rebound

After experiencing an impressive bounce from the prior month’s sell-off, equity markets staged a short-lived rebound that was squelched by fears of a trade war between U.S and China. Although the trade banter has simmered, new anxiety has arisen regarding higher secular inflation and aggressive moves by the special council against Trump. Moving into April, market participants await q1 eps reports to match vs. high expectations as the apex of good news on earnings is feared while eps growth vs. rising rates battle continues.

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March’s top performers were led by eps beaters and a couple oversold bouncers. As our coverage list and the R2K showed a positive divergence from a decline of over 3% in the S&P 500. Will this become a trend? Too early to detect a change in leadership as of press time. NV 5 Corp. (NVEE), up 28.9% in March, blew away our estimates and CEO Dickerson Wright attested to the strongest operating environment he has witnessed in many cycles. Trecora Resources, (TREC), recovered from a plant shutdown and benefited from a strong lift in operations to beat eps estimates by a wide margin. A-Mark Precious Metals Inc, (AMRK) aided by increased concerns of trade wars and a subsequent increase in market volatility, posted a 10% gain in March.

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The worst performer list was largely impacted by disappointing eps reports and/ or guidance. NMI Holding, Inc, (NHIM) was hit by market fears of higher rates and an imminent peak in housing starts. Salem Media (SALM) continued to battle a secular decline in industry fundamentals while it struggles to beat estimates. Acme United (ACU), our inaugural pick , at $9 when we incepted over twelve years ago, while continuing to execute its successful growth plan over the long term, has experienced some occasional bumps, including some execution adjustments as it transitions to online marketing.

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In March, we dropped coverage on Vasco Data Services, (VDSI), as it continued to struggle with a transition from a hardware to a software based business model , missing estimates consistently over the last twelve months. We initiated coverage of Olympia Financial, ( an Canadian based financial services company with a diversified array of growing products and services with a Buy-Long term rating.

At Singular Research, we continue to seek out investment ideas that have minimal to no Wall Street coverage to add alpha for our active institutional following. We thank our clients for your support of independent equity research.

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