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No. 1 Small-Cap Fund Buys Robots, Mattresses, Ink Pens

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Mako Surgical (MAKO) has produced a robotic device and implants for minimally invasive knee and hip orthopedic surgical procedures with its "MAKOplasty" system.

The field of robotically assisted surgery was developed to overcome both the limitations of minimally invasive surgery and to enhance the capabilities of surgeons performing open surgery.

"Mako is where Intuitive Surgical was a few years ago," Hodges said. Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) is an early developer of robotic surgeries with its "da Vinci System," which is used in minimally invasive surgeries.

Intuitive Surgical's shares are trading at about $388 per share and the company has a market value of $15 billion.

Mako posted a loss of $20.9 million over the first six months of this year, but revenue rose 83% to $31.6 million. It turned an operating profit in the most recent quarter.

"The stock's been a fantastic performer, but it will be volatile," Hodges said.

The company has installed 67 devices in medical clinics and enabled over 5,000 MAKOplasty procedures, according to Morningstar.

Its shares are up 34% over the past three months, 138% this year and 247% over 12 months. It has a market value of $1.6 billion. Mako shares hit a 52-week of $39.40 on Monday.






PriceMart (PSMT), based in California, owns and manages international merchandising businesses that license and own warehouse-type retail-membership stores that sell basic consumer goods, including perishable foods. That's a concept that has worked well for several other U.S.-based companies.

PriceMart's growth wrinkle is that it is taking the membership warehouse store premise international. "They've taken their concept to Latin America which is an absolutely booming area," said Hodges.

The company now operates more than 20 stores in Central America, the Caribbean and Micronesia.

"It's a position that we've been adding to and it is one of my favorites right now," he said of the stock. "We've been following them for about five years.

"Same-store sales are up 15% to 20% (year-over-year) and they've been doing those numbers for many quarters unbeknownst to (Wall Street), and now they're starting to get some attention," said Hodges.

PriceMart's shares are up 67% over the past three months, 94% this year and 159% over the past 12 months, and it has a five-year average annual return of 42%. The company has a market value of $2.2 billion.

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