Editor’s note: This story was previously published in November 2019. It has since been updated and republished.
When it comes to investing, smaller is really is better. Small-cap stocks have long beaten their larger rivals in the returns department. That may be hard to realize over the last couple years as investors have flocked to larger multinational firms.
But the longer-term picture has small-caps coming out on top by an extra 209%. Moreover, the relationship seems to have once again flipped back to small-caps dominating their big brothers.
And it’s easy to see why.
For starters, there’s plenty of growth to be had in small-cap stocks. An extra $50 million in revenue can really move the needle at a smaller firm. For Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), it takes a lot more to even register. Secondly, thanks to their domestic focus, small-cap stocks directly benefit more from the rising U.S. economy and the Republican tax plan. Small-cap stocks currently receive around 80% of their revenues from the U.S. and paid an effective tax rate of 31.9%. this compares to 60% domestic revenue and 28% tax rate for larger firms.
With that and their historical long-term outperformance still in tow, small-cap stocks are where it’s at. But what small-cap stocks are worth owning? InvestorPlace has you covered. Here are five of the best.
Tableau Software Inc. Class A (DATA)
In today’s modern era, we create a ton of data. Everything we do, from ordering something online to normal business functions, generates billions of bytes. The trick is seeing how that data translates into usable information. That’s where small-cap stock Tableau Software Inc Class A (NASDAQ:DATA) comes in.
Tableau produces interactive data-visualization products. This allows organizations to dig deep and instantly see exactly what all that data they generate is doing. Clients include everyone from hospitals to mega-caps like PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP) as it helps managers actually see their business and understand trends. It’s a big business, with DATA pulling in more than $290.6 million in revenue during the third-quarter.
But those revenues could keep surging higher and higher. That’s because Tableau is in the process of shifting its business model. Now that it has gotten companies and organizations hooked, it’s moving away from straight pricing to a subscription and SaaS model. That will result in plenty of reoccurring revenues down the road.
Already, subscription-based annual recurring revenue jumped 160% year over year. More importantly, DATA recent guidance reaffirmed the idea that large increases are set to be the standard for the time being.
With more and more and more data being created each second, Tableau’s future is pretty secured. That make it one of the best small-cap stocks to buy today.
Supernus Pharmaceuticals (SUPN)
Most small-cap biotech stocks are the stereotypical lotto tickets. They feature no marketed drugs, no revenues and mega-sized losses. That makes small-cap Supernus Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:SUPN) a rarity worth owning.
SUPN focuses on diseases affecting the central nervous system and has not one, but two drugs on the market. That’s a remarkable feat unto itself. But what’s really impressive is that sales of both Trokendi XR and Oxtellar XR have been swift. Analysts expect the drugs used to treat epilepsy, migraines and seizures to pull in more than $385 million this year. That makes SUPN a profitable biotech as well — with EPS jumping 79% in its latest reported quarter.
As if that wasn’t enough, Supernus has a rich pipeline of new therapies in various stages of trials. This includes using Oxtellar XR for other versions of epilepsy and as a treatment bipolar disorder. New compounds for impulse aggression, depression and ADHD have the potential to be multibillion-dollar opportunities. Given SUPN’s conservative management and history of scoring drugs, the potential for continued revenue growth is great.
With plenty of cash in the bank and coming in from drug sales, SUPN certainly breaks the small-cap biotech stock mold.
ON Semiconductor Corp. (ON)
Small-cap stocks in the tech sector can be wonderful places to find growth especially if you get in early on their growth stories. That could be the case with ON Semiconductor Corp. (NASDAQ:ON).ON isn’t a new name. The small-cap was a maker of strictly low-margined, high-comedized memory chips. But its newfound focus certainly makes it a “new” stock.
The problem is that memory chips aren’t exactly a booming business. In fact, they are so commoditized end-users actually trade futures contracts on them. To counteract this, ON made a series of smart acquisitions and moves to switch focus to higher margined specialty chips. Now, ON is now a player in the automotive, power management and image sensors sectors.
The moves seem to be working. Revenues at ON increased more than 11% in Q4 2018 and tacked on another 8% for Q1 2019 while diluted EPS surged 52% year-over-year. Clearly, management made the right decision.
At the decision for investors to buy is an easy one. Thanks to the recent tech rout, shares of ON are trading for peanuts. Right now, the small-cap stock can be had for a P/E of under 8. That’s insanely cheap considering its growth projections and higher guidance.
Watts Water Technologies Inc (WTS)
Many investors have this idea that small-cap stocks don’t generate dividends because they need to plow every extra cent back into their businesses to grow and stay afloat. This simply isn’t true. Small-cap stocks can be wonderful dividend stocks. Just ask Watts Water Technologies Inc (NYSE:WTS). Watt’s has been paying a dividend since 2001 and has managed to grow its payout by over 83% in that time.
WTS offers a variety of water-focused infrastructure products. This includes everything from pipes and valves to more advanced fare like smart-meters and water-conservation products. This puts right in the crosshairs of two mega-trends. Water scarcity and delivery are becoming a hotbed issues for the planet as well as the United States.
Upgrading this vast infrastructure is vital. At the same time, infrastructure seems to be the one thing the Democrats and President Trump agree on. The chance for a “pick and shovel” plan and higher government spending on replacing old water infrastructure seems very good.
With that, WTS is poised to get a bunch of revenues and drive profits further. Because Watts business model includes a hefty focus on repair/replace, the firm has historically generated free cash flows that exceed 100% of their income. With WTS already reporting record profits last quarter, any increased spending will only translate into more gains/profits.
Watts isn’t the most exciting equity to watch, but it is a prime example of how small-cap stocks can pay big growing dividends.
Source: Karen Neoh via Flickr
Barnes Group Inc. (B)
There are plenty of small-cap stocks that aren’t household names, but provide plenty of muscle for bigger firms. A perfect example would be Barnes Group Inc. (NYSE:B). B counts Ford (NYSE:F), United Technologies (NYSE:UTX), and Boeing (NYSE:BA) as its customers.
Barnes operates in two sectors: aerospace and industrial components. The industrial side of things makes everything from springs to plastic injected molded products. Revenues from this segment tend to be stable and provide a nice base of profits for B. But what really is exciting is its aerospace business.
Here, Barnes does a lot of heavy lifting in terms of components and pieces for turbines, airframes and other vital systems for planes. This includes a hefty dose of military-specific hardware. As a result, margins for this segment remain mega-sized at over 20% and generate the fast bulk of its profits. With military spending on the rise and its core aerospace customers seeing more business, Barnes confines to see a steady increase in its bottom line.
Barnes stock isn’t super cheap right now, but it does reflect the great aerospace/military spending environment. And investors do get a 1.11% dividend yield — a pretty decent yield for small-cap stocks.
As of this writing, Aaron Levitt is long SUPN
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