By Barry Randall The fourth quarter earnings season, which used to last from mid-January to, say, Groundhog Day, now stretches interminably into late February and even early March. Credit or blame can be allocated equally to former Senator Paul Sarbanes and former Representative Mike Oxley, whose eponymous legislation passed in 2002.
"Sarbanes-Oxley" made going public and staying there an even more expensive and time-consuming proposition than it already was. More "I"s to dot and more "T"s to cross, I guess. But a silver-lining of "Sarb-Ox" is the earnings conference call. Yes, public companies have held conference calls for many years. But thanks to Sarbanes-Oxley (and the rise of the webcast) virtually every public company's earnings call was now available for your listening pleasure - or your reading pleasure, owing to transcription. This is especially valuable to money managers like me, who specialize in smaller capitalization companies. Sure, the entire participant roster of some of these conference calls could fit into a Tesla Model S, but it's a big improvement from the bad old days of 'selective disclosure.' And so here we are in mid-March. Practically every public company has now reported its December quarter and their analysts have raised or lowered 2015 earnings estimates. Portfolio managers have culled their portfolios, added new positions to replace the dearly departed and even raised their allocations to our favorite names.
Here are three that look promising at this time. Rogers Corp. (ROG); Market Cap: $1.4 billion; 2014 revenue: $610 million) Rogers is a Connecticut-based maker of printed circuit boards, specialty materials and high-power electronics. On the face of it, Rogers wouldn't seem to be on the leading edge of technology. But the nearly 200-year-old company is getting a lift from several major trends, including the voracious appetite for wireless infrastructure and the popularity of hybrid electric vehicles.