Eq: Small Caps

Due to their difficult to resist growth potential, many investors rock on small cap stocks – less than $1 billion market cap, according to talkmarkets.com.

Thing is, because of their volatility, which translates into factors such as a stepped up risk of bankruptcy, the stocks are surrounded by less than favorable sentiment. While a valid point of view, the perspective, seemingly, is at least a tad overblown. Over the long run, numerous small caps hit pay dirt.

That said, due to sometimes daunting wild swings in pricing, like a bad date, compatibility among  conservative investors and small caps might be zilch. Some apps, y’know…

Meantime, what do factors such as the Ukraine war, escalating oil prices and interest rates sending U.S. equity markets into the blender this year add up to? Why, greater volatility, of course.

And compared to their large cap counterparts, there’s this, well, thing, about U.S. small stocks compared to their large cap counterparts: greater risk, according to oakfunds.com. While it might seem somewhat, well, illogical to propose ratcheting up the allocation of small cap stocks into your portfolio, it might serve as a buffer against these tumultuous times and offset harrowing times that could be linked with large cap stocks. 

Small-cap stocks appear to be having their moment this year outperforming their large-cap peers. The S&P 600 small-cap index is currently on pace to outperform the S&P 500 for the first time since 2016. One reason for their outperformance is a strong U.S. dollar. This is due to the negative effect that a strong dollar has on the profits of multinational companies. A strong dollar harms U.S. companies that sell goods overseas by making them less affordable. Smaller companies, on the other hand, are more insulated from adverse currency effects as most of their business is done stateside. For instance, companies in the S&P 600 index generate only 20% of their revenue outside the U.S, while companies in the S&P 500 generate 40% of their sales abroad. This had led to some of the largest companies in the U.S warning of currency risks in their latest earnings calls. In addition to a strong dollar, small caps are also benefitting from better valuations. According to FactSet, the S&P 600 is trading at 10.8 times expected earnings over the next 12 months, which is well below the S&P 500’s forward price/earnings ratio of 15.3.

Finsum: Small-cap stocks are outperforming large-cap stocks this year due to a strong U.S. dollar and more attractive valuations.

Based on research released Monday, Lori Calvasina, head of U.S. equity strategy at RBC Capital Markets, believes that small-cap stocks have already priced in a recession and are currently de-risked. Calvasina noted that small-cap performance has been stable since January and is in a narrow trading range in comparison to large-caps. She stated, “While this doesn’t necessarily tell us that a bottom in the broader U.S. equity market is imminent, it does tell us that the equity market is behaving rationally. It has been our view for quite some time that small-caps, which underperformed large-cap dramatically in 2021, have already been de-risked and are baking in a recession.” She also pointed out the sectors that tend to perform best in the period leading up to the final rate increase in a rate-hike cycle. These include defensive sectors such as consumer staples, energy, financials, healthcare, and utilities. Calvasina wrote the sectors “tended to perform the best within the major index in the six-, three- and one-month periods before the final hikes in the past four Fed tightening cycles.”

Finsum: In a recent research note, Head RBC equity strategist Lori Calvasina believes that stable returns of small-cap stocks are due to recessionary factors already priced in.

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