5 Top Small-Cap Picks to Shrug Off Lingering Trade Tensions
Wall Street witnessed severe volatility last week as the U.S.-China trade war, which was heading for a truce, stalled abruptly for an indefinite time period. The blue-chip Dow 30 Index lost 2.1%, the highest weekly loss since March. The market's benchmark S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Indexes shed 2.2% and 3%, respectively, marking the biggest weekly losses since Dec 21, 2018.
Re-escalation of Trump-imposed tariffs are likely to significantly disrupt the global supply chain system and halt economic activities worldwide. At this juncture, small-cap stocks are likely to emerge as diamonds in the rough, pushing aside the large-cap stocks. Strong fundamentals of the U.S. economy and immunity to external disturbances have raised these stocks' popularity.
Lingering Trade Tensions
The trade conflict between the two largest trading countries heightened yet again in his month when it was finally moving toward mutual agreement. On May 10, the U.S. government hiked existing tariff rates to 25% from 10% on $200 billion of Chinese exports.
In 2018, the Trump administration imposed 25% tariff on $50 billion of Chinese goods. Moreover, President Trump threatened to levy 25% further tariff on another $325 billion of Chinese goods. The total amount will surpass China's yearly export to the United States.
U.S. officials are accusing China of “erosion of commitments” and backtracking on promises made during the negotiation process. China, which has already imposed 10% tariff on $110 billion of U.S. goods, warned of further retaliatory measures.
However, negotiations between high-level officials of both courtiers to reach a trade deal is still on as President Trump expressed his hope, no timeline has been provided by either country and several industry experts believe that this negotiation process may continue next year.
Special Features of Small-Cap Stocks
Small-cap stocks may become hidden gems especially as volatility returned in Wall Street and is likely to stay in the near term. Notably, the Russell 2000 (RUT) -- the benchmark index of small-cap stocks -- has jumped up 16% year to date.
Small-cap stocks are mostly immune to any external shock since the United States is the primary market of their products. This is aiding this segment to outperform the broader market defying extreme volatility.
Owing to their domestic business strategy, small-cap stocks are immune to the movement of the U.S. dollar. A strong U.S. dollar will make exports of large companies uncompetitive. However, small-cap stocks remain unaffected by foreign exchange volatility.
Small-cap companies generally benefit first from an improving domestic economy. A strong economic condition tends to coincide with rising interest rate. However, in order to fund expansion, small-cap companies are less likely to take the debt route compared with their large peers making them less sensitive to the interest rate movement.
Additionally, reduction of corporate tax from 35% to 21% is a major catalyst for small-cap companies. These companies book almost all of their revenues in the homeland. As a result, a significant reduction in corporate tax rate is immediately accretive to their cash flow.
Our Top Picks
At this stage, it will be prudent to invest in small-cap stocks with a favorable Zacks Rank and strong growth potential. We have narrowed down our search to five stocks with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
The chart below shows price performance of our five picks year to date.
eGain Corp. EGAN offers web customer interaction applications, social customer interaction applications and contact center applications. The company has an expected earnings growth rate of 266.7% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved 15.8% over the last 30 days.
Enova International Inc. ENVA offers short-term consumer loans, line of credit accounts, installment loans, receivables purchase agreements and CSO programs, including credit-related services. The company has an expected earnings growth rate of 27.9% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved 6.1% over the last 30 days.
Everi Holdings Inc. EVRI provides technology solutions for the casino gaming industry. It operates in two segments, Games and FinTech. The company has an expected earnings growth rate of 200% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved 57.9% over the last 30 days.
Limbach Holdings Inc. LMB provides commercial specialty contract services in the United States. It operates in two segments, Construction and Service. The company has an expected earnings growth rate of 251.9% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved 31.7% over the last 30 days.
Health Insurance Innovations Inc. HIIQ operates as a cloud-based technology platform and distributor of individual and family health insurance plans, and supplemental products in the United States. The company has an expected earnings growth rate of 251.9% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved 1.5% over the last 30 days.
Zacks' Top 10 Stocks for 2019
In addition to the stocks discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 finest buy-and-holds for the year?
Who wouldn't? Our annual Top 10s have beaten the market with amazing regularity. In 2018, while the market dropped -5.2%, the portfolio scored well into double-digits overall with individual stocks rising as high as +61.5%. And from 2012-2017, while the market boomed +126.3, Zacks' Top 10s reached an even more sensational +181.9%.
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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.