(Editors' Note: This article covers a micro-cap stock. Please be aware of the risks associated with these stocks.)
It has been nearly eight months, since I last reported on the "Dirt Cheap Value Portfolio" back in February, when it stood at $55.41. At that time, the Dow 30 was sitting at 14,036. Since then, the DJIA average has risen 9.70% (thanks to QE3), while the "DCVP" levitated a juicy 2.4 times that rate, adding a impressive 23.30% of market value, closing at $68.33.
Why on earth did the "DCVP" beat the averages by so much (140% to be exact)? Simply because its components were so depressed, they possessed more pent up energy. When good news finally came, the distance and magnitude they were able to catapult, was proportionally greater. You might say, these "energy" stocks were all juiced up.
The big winners were Diamond Foods (NASDAQ:DMND) and Fuel Systems Solutions (NASDAQ:FSYS). Diamond tacked on 39% to its share price, while Fuel System's saw a 27% gain. JetBlue Airways (NASDAQ:JBLU) soared 19%, while Pep Boys (NYSE:PBY) ran up a respectable 10%. The only loser of the group was Luby's (NYSE:LUB), paring 7% from its market cap.
DMND: although its shares benefited from a stronger than expected earnings report, the announcement of a shareholder settlement was the real catalyst, because its put the potato chip makers uncertainty, squarely in its rear view mirror. DA Davidson analyst Tim Ranney obviously concurred, as he upped his target price to $24. Ranney's could be too low, considering DMND is ripe as a takeover candidate. Price target: $28
FSYS: The alternative fuel parts purveyor produced a solid second quarter earnings report. In addition, word of a new GM contract for the Chevrolet 2014 Cruze sedan, created even more exuberance. The news initially sent the stock out of a cannon, soaring 20%. When the dust finally settled, the shares retraced about half of that move, providing another solid buying opportunity. An additional catalyst to the shares, could be its coming third quarter earnings report.
Those results are slated to be released during the second week of November. The consensus of estimates, calling for earnings of 5 cents, on a 8% jump in sales to $98 million, could be too conservative. Look for management to handily top estimates, by reporting earnings of 11 cents, on sales of $102 million. Price target: $25
PBY: Although the company put up lackluster numbers in its second quarter report, the shares took off, after an initial dive (faking out many) including me. The company has since announced the purchase of a 17 unit southern California tire chain.
As of the end of its second quarter, the auto parts seller still had not yet initiated any purchases on its $50 million stock buyback commitment, and two inquiring calls by this writer to the CFO, were left unanswered. Frustrating, to say the least. Hopefully, the company will learn the importance of transparency. Price target $13.50
JBLU: the shares are flying high. Just last week, they made a new 52 week high, and are only 20 cents from breaking above five year highs. Further adding strength to the stock price, was a Zacks report highlighting JBLU's revenue passenger miles (RPM's), rising 1.6% in its latest reporting period. Price target: $8
LUB: I am not going to lie. This one is like watching paint dry. The restaurant operator is very timid at communicating its vision to the street. Perhaps next month, when the company reports its year end results, we will finally gain more insight. In the meantime, investors must endure. Price target: $8
Honorable mention: Farmer Brothers (NASDAQ:FARM) has been a pillar of strength lately, with its shares only 7% from 52 week highs. Roth Capital Partners increased its price target a formidable 18%, from $17 to $20. Meanwhile, Bridgford Foods (NASDAQ:BRID) has soared 33% in less than a month, making it eligible to be included in the Russell 2000 index. The snack food maker's float is so tiny, at just 1.5 million shares, that forced buying from Russell 2000 index members, would probably send the shares through the roof.
Conclusion: There is no doubt that the Fed spending $1 trillion a year in its Quantitative Easing endeavors has benefited stocks in a huge way. Once the money printing ceases, we will be in for a significant fall, because higher inflation and interest rates will be a certainty. The good news is, the "DCVP" will see a lot less downside than most of the high flyers, because of its components low betas, value status and defensive nature.