NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Small-cap stocks, which have outperformed large-company shares, are still cheap, especially in the technology industry, says Andrew Morey, manager of the ASTON/Crosswind Small Cap Growth Fund (ACWDX). He favors stocks such as Kelly Services (KELYA) and Knology (KNOL).
The mutual fund, which was started in November, has returned 2% so far this year, according to fund-tracker Morningstar (MORN).
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Are you bullish or bearish?Morey: We are cautiously optimistic. Our investment philosophy seeks to identify unrecognized growth potential at the individual-company level. The process is 100% bottom-up stock selection, and we seek out companies growing their revenues, expanding their margins, and have the potential to surprise upwards on their estimates. There is also a valuation component to our process, which helps us determine if the growth potential is truly unrecognized. We continue to see strong company-specific fundamentals that meet our valuation criteria. What is your top stock pick? Morey: We like Kelly Services, which provides temporary staffing in North America, Europe and the Pacific Rim. Kelly has been benefiting from the economic recovery as temporary staffing usually increases before permanent staffing. Kelly has a strong management team and has been expanding internationally, while also closing down some remote offices that were not profitable. We believe this could help revenue increase and help margins to continue to expand in the future. As some additional upside, there is also a possibility that we may see a secular shift in temporary-staffing rates. Given the economic shocks of the past few years, some companies are using more temporary workers as opposed to hiring back permanent workers. If this continues, Kelly could see its addressable market share grow significantly. What is your favorite sector? Morey: As a bottom-up fundamental manager, we do not intentionally overweight or underweight specific sectors. That said, we are currently identifying many individual companies in the technology sector with sound fundamentals that meet our valuation requirements. The strong fundamentals are being driven by unique product offerings and solutions that are well-positioned to benefit from the growth in trends such as e-commerce and cloud computing.
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