This article follows a previous one listing stocks starting with a "G" that are attractive stocks for 2014. Over the last several years, a lot of the small-cap, growth stocks struggled to achieve market returns. Typically these high beta stocks would outperform the market during strong periods, so Stone Fox Capital is focusing on several lists of these stocks that offer potential high returns.
When reviewing attractively priced stocks for 2014, groups of stocks happened to cluster into ones starting with the same letter. Instead of focusing solely on an industry or specific sector, this list will link far-flung sectors that might not typically attract the same investment crowd. The list of 'C' stocks is ChinaCache International (CCIH), Clean Energy (CLNE), and Chegg (CHGG).
All of these stocks continue the concept theme where investors can spend hours poring over financials, ratios, or projections and miss the big picture. Do you believe in natural gas as a transportation fuel at Clean Energy or the ability of Chegg to create a connected platform for students? The common thread amongst these stocks is attractive valuations for stocks with major catalysts for 2014. In addition, the chart below highlights that the last three years have been horrible for all these stocks while the Russell 2000 Index has soared over 45%. Note that Chegg wasn't included in the chart due to lack of prices going back three years.
CCIH data by YCharts
ChinaCache International - China 4G Play
ChinaCache is one of the leading Internet content delivery network providers in China. While the stock has soared the first two days of 2014, it still offers a unique valuation proposition to make it a top pick for the year. Even closing at nearly $11 on Friday, the stock still trades roughly 70% below the all time highs reached right after the IPO back in 2010. Remember that a lot of the bigger China Internet stocks sit near all-time highs.
A couple of recent news items have placed the stock on the radar for a big 2014. First, on January 2 the company announced an uplisting of the American depositary shares to the NASDAQ Global Select Market that requires more stringent financial and liquidity requirements from listed companies. Second, Wedge Partners predicted that the 4G launch by China Mobile (CHL) would provide a major catalyst for growth and profitability. The analyst predicts 30% to 40% annual revenue growth over the next two years with the stock trading at only 0.5x 2015 revenue estimates. Compared to peers trading at 4x revenue estimates, the stock is extremely cheap.
Clean Energy - Natural Gas Transportation Fuel
Clean Energy has yet to benefit from the potential of natural gas as a transportation fuel. 2014 has all the promise for being the breakout year. The main reason for the high expectations this year has to do with the build out of America's Natural Gas Highway by Clean Energy. At the same time, the Cummins (CMI)-Westport (WPRT) joint venture recently released a 12L engine for the long haul truck industry. The combination opens up the largest potential industrial market for LNG.
While Clean Energy continues to grow gallons delivered, the biggest hold back on the stock is the meager growth rates. Only 17% growth during Q313 left investors expecting a lot higher growth out of a high-risk stock. Some positive recent developments include customers ordering 70% more natural gas vehicles during the first nine months of 2013 compared to 2012 and UPS signing a multi-year LNG fuel agreement. With the stock stuck at $12 for years now, the catalysts should finally be aligned for a push higher.
Chegg - More Than Textbook Rentals
Chegg is a sleeper stock with an interesting connected learning platform. The company started as an online textbook rental expert and is transitioning into connecting students with the tools they need to succeed in high school and college. Chegg recently announced that college students saved more than $450 million in 2013 through its textbook rental service, but the most important news was on the course reviews. Chegg.com now has over 1 million course reviews, which provide students with valuable resources in planning class schedules.
While Chegg has the potential to become a very valuable connected platform for students, the stock has struggled since the IPO less than two months ago. The stock hasn't come close to the first day highs of $11.25 partly due to massive losses. Also, the transition to the connected platform could take a while, but the stock is attractive with a market cap around $700 million and trading at 2x next year's sales. The valuation sure makes Chegg more attractive than other social platform valuations.
These three stocks starting with a C offer huge potential in 2014 based on cheap valuations. The promising catalysts could push the stocks to levels unexpected by most investors. Both ChinaCache and Clean Energy offer immediate catalysts that could send the stock soaring while Chegg could be a mixed bag in the short-term until after one or two quarterly releases. Investors can never be certain how new IPO stocks will react to the first couple of quarterly releases. By the end of 2014, all three stocks could be materially higher.