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.