Aiming for Private Equity-Like Returns Using a Small Cap Value Quant Strategy

By Justin J. Carbonneau (@jjcarbonneau) —  “I do not like debt and do not like to invest in companies that have too much debt, particularly long-term debt. With long-term debt, increases in interest rates can drastically affect company profits and make future cash flows less predictable.” — Warren Buffett Of the twelve quantitative models we run publicly on Validea, nine of them look at a company’s level of debt in their assessment of a firm’s… Read More

A Tale of Two Small-Cap Indexes

A recent article in Barron’s compares the performance of two small-cap indexes: the Russell 2000, the most commonly-used benchmark, and the lesser-known S&P SmallCap 600 index. According to the article, over 90% of investment funds focus on the Russell 2000, but this index has underperformed its S&P peer for more than twenty years. “The difference isn’t trivial, either,” the article points out, adding that when reinvested dividends are taken into account, the difference amounts to… Read More

Small-Cap Ratings Often Fall Short

The correlation between analyst ratings of small-cap stocks and the subsequent returns of those stocks showed no statistical significance, according to analysis conducted by Barron’s. “In most cases,” the article argues, “you could have done just as well by flipping a coin.” The analysis, which used FactSet data, compiled all buy, sell, and hold recommendations outstanding as of January 1st for each of the past five years, then compared the average rating to shareholder returns… Read More

Hulbert: Large Caps Now and Small Caps in January

Small-cap stocks outperform large caps, on average, over the long term, but almost all the small-cap advantage occurs in the early part of the year. This according to a recent MarketWatch article by Mark Hulbert. “As you can see from the chart below,” he writes, “their advantage gradually diminishes as the year progresses, and is actually negative by the last quarter of the year.” The widely-accepted theory on the relative performance of these two asset… Read More

Small-Caps are on the Upswing

After a brief post-election surge at the end of 2016, small-caps “went nowhere” for nine months, but the asset class has “finally decided to join the party,” writes Ben Carlson of Ritholtz Wealth Management in a recent Bloomberg article. “Although 2013 was a breakout year for small-cap stocks,” writes Carlson, “there have been a steady number of all-time highs in the ensuing years.” Since small-caps can be volatile, this could be a sign that investors… Read More

Hulbert: Small Cap Sector Shockingly Overvalued

In a recent MarketWatch article, Mark Hulbert reveals a revised calculation that the small-cap sector is currently valued at a whopping 78.7 times earnings. He writes, “the Russell 2000’s true P/E today is higher than it was at either the top of the internet bubble or the 2007 bull market peak.” Hulbert describes the calculation, which he credits to financial services firm INTL FCStone’s Vincent Deluard, who told him that nearly a third of the… Read More

Small Companies on the Decline, says Zweig

The number of publicly-traded companies has declined by half over the past two decades, with most of the decrease attributed to the smallest companies, writes Jason Zweig in last week’s Wall Street Journal. Zweig questions, however, whether this is making it more difficult for “stock pickers to beat the market and for investors to forecast future returns from past data,” an assertion the columnist made in an earlier article. Zweig cites comments from AQR partner… Read More

Small Cap Stocks Losing Earnings Steam

The global growth outlook, more than a smoothing of the Trump bump, has resulted in small-cap stocks losing the upper hand—a dramatic shift from what happened right after the election. This according to The Wall Street Journal’s Steven Russolillo. Small-cap stocks (those with market capitalizations generally under $2 billion) spiked by more than 11% between the election and last Thanksgiving, writes Russolillo, who explains that many traders bet on the new president’s tax cuts and… Read More

7 Promising Small-Cap Growth Stocks for 2017

Celebrated investor James O’Shaughnessy wrote What Works on Wall Street (1996) after conducting exhaustive research concerning the performance of a host of investment strategies. This work led to the development of his Cornerstone Growth Strategy, outlined by Validea CEO John Reese in this week’s TheStreet. Using the screening model Reese fashioned after the O’Shaughnessy strategy, he identified the following 7 small-cap picks: Of the seven, he highlighted the following stocks that scored well under other… Read More

The Trump Victory and the Small-Cap Reversal

While over the past ten years large-cap stocks have outperformed small-caps, the recent election upset caused a rally in the latter and added complexity to the relationship between the two. In a recent Forbes article, Validea CEO John Reese addresses implications related to this shift and offers the following small-cap picks: Sanderson Farms (SAFM) is a producer, processor, marketer and distributor of fresh and frozen chicken (market cap $1.94 billion) that earns high marks for… Read More