A barrage of poor economic numbers, a couple of dismal days in the market and the relentless inflation and deficit ceiling chatter on CNBC and Fox Business made us long for another report from the much cheerier Otis Bradley, Managing Director of Research and Chief Market Strategist at NY-based ICM Capital Markets. Otis, a longtime market veteran who is predicting a “Great Stampede” of bulls to overrun Wall Street sometime this year, came through on May 16. His report suggested this is another “consolidation week, but we remain on track and we are nearing those Magical Confidence Levels which we believe will kick start that Great Stamped for which we have been waiting.”
That’s despite recent reports that have sent many investors to the sidelines. They include the news that retail sales had grown just 0.5 percent in April, which many attribute to higher prices for gasoline and food rather than any increase in demand. Or April’s 9 percent unemployment rate, which many believe is certain to climb. Or the inflation numbers: wholesale prices jumped 0.8 percent in March and April and 6.8 percent from a year ago, called the biggest annual rise in 31 months.
Along with being a bull, Otis is a firm believer in small and micro-cap stocks being a better opportunity for investment in the long run. While Otis does make a few large cap picks (IBM and INTC), he believes generally that the competition for large caps and trading stocks is “fierce.”
We have been regular followers of Otis’ picks. Back on Sept. 15, 2010 Otis picked a package of small caps including Star Scientific, Mako Surgical, Moly Corp. and VirnetX. That group of stocks has gained 152.6 percent by May 16. The S&P is up 19.2 percent in the same time period.
Since last September Molycorp has seen its market cap skyrocket from $1.9 billion to $4.8 billion, pushing it out of our small cap focus, but we’ll include it anyway as a reminder of how well things can go if you are lucky enough (or smart enough) to pick the right small cap stock. We’ll continue to track these stocks and here are the latest numbers:
Glen Allen, VA-based Star Scientific Inc. (Nasdaq:CIGX, http://www.starscientific.com/) has developed a tobacco technology that prevents the formation of carcinogenic toxins and also develops and markets some tobacco products. With a market cap of $547 million, CIGX was trading at $4.08 on May 17, up from below $2 as recently as March.
Ft. Lauderdale, FL-based MAKO Surgical (Nasdaq: MAKO, http://www.makosurgical.com/), a maker of advanced robotic orthopedic devices, jumped $3.43 on May 17 to $27.14. Its market cap was $377 million on Sept. 14; by May 17 it was $630 million.
Greenwood Village, CO-based Molycorp Inc. (NYSE: MCP, http://www.molycorp.com/) is a development stage mining focused on the production of rare earth oxides from the Western hemisphere and operates the Mountain Pass mine in California’s Mojave Desert. On Sept. 14 it was trading at $22.95; by May 17 it had hit $57.23.
Scotts Valley, CA-based VirnetX Holding Corp. (Amex: VHC, http://www.virnetx.com/) is a developer of software and technology for securing real time security solutions over the Internet. VHC has been on a tear lately. In November 2009 it was trading at $1.95. By last Sept. 14 it had jumped to $11.16. By May 17 VHC was trading for $23.34 and has been as high as $28.89.