We at Equities.com have been paying special attention to the Small Cap Stars project over the last couple weeks, as we recently wrapped up our first year of the research endeavor. The project, which tracks small cap companies we felt possessed the sector-specific fundamentals necessary for growth,, was a success, with the index as a whole returning a hair above 40 percent on the year in 2013.
Now that we’re entering a new year, we’re taking a closer look at some of the sectors within the Small-Cap project to spotlight some of the more exceptional plays. In this case, we’re taking a closer look at six stocks in the Financial sector. To be specific, we’re highlighting Small-Cap Stars that hit their 52-week high this week.
Technically speaking, what does that mean to the retail investor? One of two things: either the company has maxed out and is due for a correction, or they’re simply finally realizing their potential. But regardless of the prediction, these plays are unquestionably in the most valuable position they have been in a year – or possibly ever.
These are the six Small-Cap Star plays currently riding high on the market:
MGIC Investment Corp (MTG)
This Milwaukee-based company was also the best performing Small-Cap financial stock in 2013 has continued its surge in 2014, hitting a new high on Jan 15.
Gladstone Financial Corporation (GLAD)
Gladstone was recently highlighted by Equities.com for possessing both meeting four out of the five benchmarks Equities.com analysts set for what constitutes a strong small-cap financial investment and for paying out an unusually high dividend to investors.
eHealth, Inc. (EHTH)
The private health care exchange eHealth certainly possesses solid fundamentals, as evidenced by their inclusion in the index. But eHealth’s rise as of late is almost definitely more attributable not to their own strong business model but to government failures: specifically, to the Obamacare website debacle, which caused consumers to flock en masse to private exchanges like eHealth for their health insurance needs.
Marlin Business Services (MRLN)
Marlin has been on a tear this year, gaining significant value while becoming one of the hottest small-cap financial plays on the entire market, Small-Cap Star or otherwise.
SWS Group Inc (SWS)
This regional bank play has been streaking on rumors of a buyout offer from Hilltop Holdings Inc (HTH) . Hilltop already owns 24 percent of SWS, who as of Jan 15 is “reviewing the proposal.” If it clears, SWS would be valued at $241 million.
Premier Financial Bancorp (PFBI)
This West Virginia-based bank holding company has climbed slowly yet steadily since the beginning of 2013 on the back of a solid P/E of 10.26 and an expected EPS growth of 67.6 percent.