4 Small-Cap Basic Materials Stocks Trading On Greater-than-Average Volume

Michael Teague  |

When it comes to the basic materials sector, the conversation in 2013 has been heavily focused on oil & gas companies and how well they are doing vis-a-vis the “shale boom.” In terms of hard commodities, the consensus seems to be significantly more bearish, with fears of slower growth from emerging markets, oversupply of previously sought after materials such as iron ore and copper, and the devastating bear market for precious metals, most notably gold, though it is not the only one of its kind.

Looking at the sector’s small-caps, however, points to some interesting and perhaps unexpected options for stock-pickers looking for growth in the materials space. The following four NASDAQ-listed companies, none of which hail from the oil & gas industry it should be noted, have been selected based on a simple set of criteria including market-cap (small), high volume trading in the previous session (as measured by a relative volume ratio of greater than 1.5), and positive year-to-date performance. Furthermore, the each of these stocks has an average analyst rating of “buy or better”.

Landec Corp. (LNDC)

Industry: Major Diversified Chemicals

Market-Cap: $301.55 million

Price: $11.25

Average Volume: 179,820

Relative Volume Ratio: 2.12

Performance Year-To-Date: +19.87 percent

The Menlo Park, CA-based company specialized in the manufacture of polymer products for food and biomedical materials markets. Landec also has a smaller portion of its business devoted to personal care products.

Insteel Industries Inc. (IIIN)

Industry: Steel & Iron

Market-Cap: 316.84 million

Trade Commission-FREE with Tradier Brokerage

Price: $17.61

Average Volume: 43,510

Relative Volume Ratio: 2.78

Performance Year-To-Date: +40.61 percent

The Mount Airy, NC-based company manufactures and markets steel wire reinforcing products for concrete construction applications

Aceto Corp. (ACET)

Industry: Major Diversified Chemicals

Market-Cap: $565.41 million

Price: $21.29

Average Volume: 240,560

Relative Volume Ratio: 1.65

Performance Year-To-Date: +105.34 percent

The Port Washington, NY-based company is divided between three segments: human health, pharmaceutical ingredients, and performance chemicals, and has by far had the best run in 2013 of any company on this list.

Innophos Holdings (IPHS)

Industry: Specialty Chemicals

Market-Cap: $1.04 billion

Price: $47.47

Average Volume: 83,830

Relative Volume Ratio: 2.01

Performance Year-To-Date: +4.45 percent

The Cranbury, NJ-based company produces mineral-based specialty ingredients for food, beverage, dietary supplements, pharmaceutical applications, oral care, and industrial end-markets.

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