On Tuesday, stock in AM Castle (CAS), a diversified metals and plastics distributor, rose 52% after the company beat analyst expectations for its most recent quarter. While it is difficult for non-insiders to predict that companies will beat expectations in any given quarter, it is not so difficult, especially in this market, to find companies with limited downside and tremendous upside potential. To illustrate this, consider these select items from AM Castle's balance sheet prior to Tuesday's announcement:
Receivables due from customers less doubtful accounts: $204M
Inventory (at lower of replacement and fair value): $450M
Total Liabilities: $407
The company's cash+A/R+inventory less all liabilities add up to $265 million. Note that this bare-bones minimal valuation excludes the company's relationships with customers, its manufacturing facilities, and other intangibles which make this a profitable company. Yet as recently as Monday, the company traded with a market cap of just $120 million!
Though we cannot predict which companies will beat/miss analyst expectations by a few pennies, we can still determine which ones have minimal downside and plenty of upside. The AM Castles in this market are a-plenty, for those who are willing to search, analyze, and invest against the prevalent fear that persists in today's market.
Disclosure: Author has a long position in CAS