Editor's pick: Originally published Jan. 15.
You may not be one of the three lucky winners of the $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot, but there are other ways to fill your kitty.
If you're prepared to take on a little bit of risk, consider these two small-cap wonders that can prove to be the star performers in your portfolio. They're among a select class of smaller stocks with tremendous room for capital appreciation.
Outdoor sporting goods retailer Sportsman's Warehouse Holdings has seen its stock price rise a stupendous 96% over the last one year.
The buzz around gun control has seen the stocks of gun-related companies shoot up. Sportsman's Warehousehas also acknowledged seeing accelerating momentum in firearms and ammunition. Further, the news of outdoor sporting equipment major Cabela's Inc.scouring the market for "strategic options" also provided Sportsman's stock fuel for its rally.
The company's strategy of delivering a broad merchandise assortment to meet local conditions and demand at low prices seems to have worked well so far. Sportsman's Warehouse has a definitive edge over competing mom-and-pop stores and others on account of strong brand recognition and its positioning as an "outdoor expert." The company's 26 base stores witnessed same-store sales increases of 0.8% year-over-year in the third quarter, and the 17 new stores experienced a 2.7% rise in sales in the same period.
However, outdoor sports and activities are largely contingent on weather conditions. This was observed in the third quarter, when warm weather and drought caused streams and ponds to dry up, thus impacting the fall hunting season and resulting in a year-over-year decline in shotgun sales. While gun sales took a hit, clothing and footwear sales are relatively more insulated in these conditions.
Analysts expect Sportsman's Warehouse to finish the year with an 18% rise in earnings-per-share (EPS). For 2017, analysts expect this figure to be even more pronounced at 26% on a revenue rise of more than 13% from 2016, provided the company records annual revenue of $722.82, as per consensus estimates.
After almost doubling in value in 2015, over the next 12 months Sportsman's Warehouse is seen jumping 25% from current values. This projected performance puts it within a group of small-cap wonders that should defy a negative market in 2016.
At a price-to-earnings-to-growth (PEG) ratio of about 1, SPWH shares are a great value for the money versus peers like Cabela's, which is trading at 1.48 PEG, and Hibbett Sports now trading at 1.17 PEG.
All of 19 employees strong, Ligand Pharmaceuticals is a company with a market cap of $2 billion. This small drug development firm is working on cutting-edge techniques like recombinant DNA, best recounted from movies like Spiderman, Jurassic Park and Planet of the Apes. In the coming year, it's innovative companies such as this one that should weather the coming storm of volatility.
Speaking of more realistic techniques, Ligand offers one of the largest portfolios of assets to develop drugs to treat cancer, CNS ailments, blood disorders and metabolic diseases, and has over 125 fully funded partnered programs. Some of these partners are renowned names Novartis, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Merck, Baxter, Amgen, Allergan and Hospira, which was recently acquired by Pfizer.
Ligand has also been in the news for various deals and acquisitions. As per a licensing agreement, Emergent BioSolutions will utilize Ligand's technologies for its discoveries. Ligand will also supplyGilead Sciences with Captisol for an Ebola virus disease program.
Ligand's $178-million acquisition of antibody drug discovery company OMT is also a strategic move.
Coming to financials, with the new drug discovery business being linked to milestones, and royalty revenue which can be lumpy, earnings tend to be volatile. However, for the year ending Dec. 2015, analysts expect the company to post EPS growth of a whopping 120% at $3.36.
Over the long term, analysts' optimism on the stock continues with Ligand expected to post over 45% annual EPS growth for the next five years, compared with its 26% annual growth rate over the last five years.
Another positive for the company is that its cash balance of $187.30 million covers 92% of its debt. Its net margin of close to 350% (trailing 12-month) also is miles ahead of the industry average of 21%.
I've found another small-cap stock that has the potential to surge 100% or more in the coming months. This is a growth story with major momentum, so it's important to learn the full details as soon as possible. The stock is trading at under $8 a share, and its long-term prospects have never been better, making it a great value. I expect this rocket could take off soon, so be sure to click here now and learn more.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.