Singular Research Director’s Letter : February 2018
After a near two year hiatus, with the VIX trending at the historical low end of 11-14 bp level, volatility exploded after an employment report showed higher than expected wage growth, pointing to higher interest rates. All the leveraged short vol funds took a huge hit that send shock waves into the broader equity market, creating the first 10% sell-off since early 2016. Better than expected earnings and upward revisions and positive economic news led the markets to recoup to only a 3-4% down draw for February.
February’s top performers combined good eps reports with lower valuations to buck the stiff sell–off. Our top performer was NMI Holdings, Inc.( NMIH) + 8.17%, a mortgage insurer riding the housing recovery. Hennessy Advisors Inc. (HNNA) +4.36%, an undervalued micro-cap posted good earning while our analyst increased his price target . New York Times Co. ( NYT), a short call went against the grain, posing an earnings beat extending the Trump Bump to readership growth.
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The worst performers list had some large down draws. Led by Huttig Building Products, Inc. (HBP) -27 %, this suffered from an unexpected departure of its CFO. Next in line was Anika Therapeutics Inc. (ANIK), -22%, hit by tepid guidance and the retirement of its CEO and founder. Finally, dropping over 17%, A-Mark Precious Metals, Inc. (AMRK) missed estimates due to the low volatility in metals, combined with higher than expected acquisition costs.
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We are excited to announce new coverage on LSI Industries Inc. (LYTS), a designer of LED indoor and outdoor lighting systems servings retail and industrial sectors. LYTS posted a better than expected quarter last month, led by a new management team and new product offerings. Also, we launched coverage on Full House Resorts Inc. (FLL), a micro-cap Hotel and Casino resort operator that trades at a significant discount to its peers and is also in the process of a major turnaround. 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.
Singular Research Director’s Letter : January 2018
Out of the Box Hot!
As the adage goes, as goes January as will be the year. Thus, we remain encouraged, hoping earnings can continue to lift already lofty valuations. Indeed, aided by lowered corporate tax rates and lessened regulatory burdens, we have much too support encouraged animal spirits. Still, we suggest selectivity and valuation vigilance as the FED is looking to renormalize the rate environment with the hint of perhaps, several hikes in 2018, suggesting a possible push-pull between higher rates vs. higher earnings.
Meanwhile, small caps continue to lag as investors still favor large cap and accompanying ETF’s extending last year’s leadership forward into 2018 thus far.
For the top performing companies in January on the Singular Research coverage list, a common theme was biotech, led by HBIO, ANIK & IGXT. Harvard Bioscience (HBIO) announced a major acquisition that should lift growth prospects and margins while shedding a low margin, underperforming division. Whereas Anika Pharmaceuticals, lacking an apparent fundamental catalyst, seems to have benefited from a rebound in the Biotech sector spurred by investor allocation to ETF’s. Transcat, (TRNS), got a nice boost from beating estimates from the 2 analysts (including Singular) that follow it.
The worst performing stock on the Singular coverage list during January was by our wrongheaded short call on New York Times, (NYT), which continues to delight with its digit revenue growth results spurred by a long-lived Trump bump. Clear One (CLRO) endured profit taking reaction from a 25% up move in December. It remains an attractive long-term value still trading around book value. Arlington Asset Investment Corp. (AI), surprised the street with better than forecast results and rebounded from an oversold condition that took it below NAV to a 5 year low.
We continue to work on new ideas and plan to launch coverage in the coming weeks on one or several new names. 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.
Video: Singular on Seeking Alpha : STAMPS.COM
Video: Singular on Seeking Alpha : STAMPS.COM
Putting a Stamp on E-Commerce
Seeking Alpha Author Robert Maltbie joins Cheddar to discuss his “buy” rating on Stamps.com. Projections for an above-average Christmas shopping season and e-commerce participation benefitted this company immensely. Maltbie puts a $250 price target on the company.
Seeking Alpha Author Robert Maltbie joins Cheddar to discuss his "buy" rating on Stamps.com. Projections for an above-average Christmas shopping season and e-commerce participation benefitted this company immensely. Maltbie puts a $250 price target on the company.
Stamps.com's strategy to emphasize marketing initiatives this year boosted results well above Maltbie's prior expectations. Last quarter, revenue was $116.1 million, up 38% compared to a year ago 2016. Mailing and shipping revenue was $111.8 million, up 37% year-over-year.
Maltbie talks about Stamps.com's partnerships with Amazon Marketplace and USPS. He discusses some challenges for the company and what his expectations are for 2018.