Eq: Small Caps
Two strategists from Royce Investment Partners believe that now is the right time to consider small-cap stocks. In an article on Wealthmanagement.com, Francis Gannon and Steve Lipper gave six reasons why they believe the current environment is a great time to invest in small-cap stocks. The first reason is that small caps currently have superior valuations compared to large-cap stocks. Another reason to invest in small caps is the fact that small caps have a history of outperformance following periods of high investor anxiety and low-risk tolerance. Small caps have also historically beaten large caps following periods of deep declines. In addition, small caps operate in their own way; meaning there are significant differences between small and large caps in their long-term performance during different market cycles. Gannon and Lipper also mention that small caps are a highly heterogeneous asset class, indicating that there are so many small-cap companies that investors can find stocks in every sector and industry. The sixth and final reason is that investors lose out by waiting to put capital to work. They noted that small-cap recoveries have historically happened very quickly.
Finsum:Two strategists from Royce Investment Partners provide six compelling reasons why investors should consider small-cap stocks now.
Analysts at Jefferies are warning investors to avoid small-cap tech stocks due to their high valuations and falling earnings and revenue estimates. In a note, analysts said that their current valuations of 3.4 times sales are not cheap compared to their long-term average of 2.1 times sales. They believe there are “too many nonearners” and then tend to perform poorly when the Fed is hiking interest rates. However, the analysts aren’t telling investors to avoid small-cap stocks altogether, as they like names in the healthcare and consumer-discretionary sectors, which have been outperforming. Analysts stated that valuations in healthcare stocks haven’t jumped as much as their stock performance. Plus, mergers and acquisitions have picked up in the healthcare sector, which the analysts believe could help drive performance. They also believe that discretionary stocks are the cheapest sector in the small-cap range and they tend to outperform when coming out of bear markets.
Finsum:Jeffries analysts are warning investors to steer clear of small-cap tech stocks due to high valuations and falling earnings and revenue estimates.
Stagflation has been out of the public lexicon since the Greenspan era, but as inflation begins to gradually creep up again that word is beginning to seem like a higher probability. Inflation has climbed to 8.5% and growth is expected to slow dramatically for 2021Q1 to 1.7%. Small-cap is a great option during these times because they are a great alternative partially in Finance. Preferred Bank is a great option with earnings estimates rising and is moving into a bullish category on Wallstreet. Others to watch out for are Mercantile Bank Corp and Old Second Bancorp as they are also well-positioned small-cap financials to stave off stagflation.
Finsum: It's amazing that equities are the most stabilizing force on Wallstreet right now, but small-cap might just be the play as volatility rises.
Small caps have been sluggish since Q2 2022 most indicated by the poorer returns in the Russell 2000 and S&P 600 Small Cap. However, things could turn around for the smaller companies moving forward. A value tilt is pervasive through many small cap companies and as the yield curve begins to steepen that value tilt will edge out over larger growth companies. The other factor favoring small caps is the pending corporate tax minimum. Only 1 of the S&P 600 small caps will see their liabilities rise but lots of S&P 500 companies will face new tax burdens which they previously avoided. This is a historic opportunity for small caps moving into 2022.
FINSUM: With Powell’s renomination it's more likely the yield curve will steepen as future rate hikes will be priced in but no real indication of a move currently; increasing the likelihood of a small cap comeback.
Bank of America put out a very refreshing outlook today, reminding investors of an asset that has traditionally thrived in times of high inflation. And no, it isn’t gold or other commodities. That asset is…small caps. BAML says that small caps, and value stocks as well, have traditionally performed well in high inflation environments, such as in the 1960s. According to the firm, “Our US Regime Indicator has shifted to Mid-Cycle, a phase where inflation is typically strongest. In this phase, small caps and Value have typically outperformed large caps and Growth - further supported by the profits recovery and economic rebound we expect this year. Small caps and Value stocks were also some of the best-performing assets during the inflationary period of the late 60s”.
FINSUM: History aside, we cannot really agree about the idea that small caps will thrive. Relative to large caps, small caps have a higher employment cost base because their employees are more often in the US. Their supply chains are more domestic too. That means all their costs will rise alongside their revenue. Take a larger multinational—Apple for example—most of its manufacturing and supply chain costs are offshore, which means it can enjoy rising inflation-driven revenue, but take advantage of lower inflation rates in its cost base.
The market has been on a tear recently, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at small caps. Despite the broader rise in indexes, the Russell 2000 has not hit a fresh high in a month. Investors are wondering why, and the reason is pretty clear: inflation fears. Small caps are not seen to have as much pricing power as their larger peers, so as input costs rise, they get hit with lower margins.
FINSUM: There is nice clear and succinct reason why small caps have been underperforming over the last month. The good news is that inflation fears are subsiding, which means small caps should rebound accordingly.