James Dennin, Kapitall: Mid cap stocks provide some of the excitement of growth stocks with the stability of investing in larger companies.
One of the most neglected asset classes when it comes to portfolio allocation is mid cap stocks. They aren't usually the kind of stocks that grab headlines or yield magnificent returns. But they can be one of the best places to look for growth at a reasonable price – and to find names other investors are possibly overlooking.
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If most analyst projections about 2014 are to be believed, then we'll likely see much more moderate levels of growth in stock prices this year. Hardly anyone has a growth target for the S&P 500 that even comes close to approaching the 30% increase in 2013. Which means investors may be less likely to favor trendy, high-growth, high-beta stocks, in favor of more stable investments.And this could benefit mid cap companies even more. Investing ideas To build today's screen we focused on the kinds of parameters we're using, rather than the amount by which each company passed a given threshold. In other words, instead of narrowing the list by screening for companies with very high sales growth, we looked for companies that had any sales growth at all, while also meeting a number of other requirements. So, we began with a list of stocks with a market capitalization between $2 and $10 billion (the mid cap range) and low valuations – a forward price-to-equity (P/E) ratio below 15. In a more bearish environment, historical growth is likely to hold more weight than projected growth, so we also screened for companies with net gains in earnings per share and sales over the course of the last five years. Next we added another important metric for value investors: a positive dividend yield. This appeals to investors who plan on holding stocks for a long time. And to screen for momentum we also looked at stocks who are rallying above their 20-day simple moving average (MA). Since we set very low thresholds for each metric, the screen changed slightly over the course of writing this article, mostly because one result, Lennar (LEN) is trading very close to its 20 day MA. All of the results appear below in our list, and were accurate as of 11:40 AM EST. Click on the interactive chart to view data over time. Do you see investing opportunities in these eight mid cap stocks? Use the list below to begin your own analysis.