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For a look into a company’s sales trends, one idea is to consider their growth in inventory over time. Comparing this to growth in revenue could show some interesting results.

We ran a screen on stocks with 5-year projected EPS growth over 20% for those with positive trends in inventory, with growth in quarterly revenue outpacing growth in quarterly inventory year-over-year. We also screened for companies with quarterly inventory decreasing as a percent of current assets.

To understand why these trends are positive, think of why the opposite trends would be negative. If revenue were growing slower than inventory, it may indicate that the company is having trouble selling its inventory – although this could just indicate inventory building or a change in sales policies.

Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the top six stocks mentioned below. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.‬

We also created a price-weighted index of the stocks mentioned below, and monitored the performance of the list relative to the S&P 500 index over the last month. To access a complete analysis of this list's recent performance, click here.

click to enlarge

Do you think these companies have strong sales trends? Use this list as a starting-off point for your own analysis.

List sorted by difference between growth in revenue and inventory.

1. Minefinders Corp. Ltd. (MFN): Engages in the exploration, development, and mining of precious and base metal properties. Market cap of $1.20B. Analyst projected EPS growth over the next 5 years at 60.10%. MRQ revenue has increased 238.65% ($73.08M vs. $21.58M y/y) while MRQ inventory has increased 74.31% ($55.1M vs. $31.61M y/y). Inventory/current assets has decreased from 51.51% to 19.32%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-06-30 to 3 months ending 2010-06-30. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 5.25% (equivalent to 5.24 days of average volume). The stock has had a good month, gaining 12.7%.

2. North American Palladium Ltd. (PAL): Engages in the exploration and production of palladium and gold properties primarily in Canada. Market cap of $557.75M. Analyst projected EPS growth over the next 5 years at 50.0%. MRQ revenue has increased 142.34% ($51.4M vs. $21.21M y/y) while MRQ inventory has decreased 8.91% ($22.59M vs. $24.8M y/y). Inventory/current assets has decreased from 13.02% to 12.59%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-06-30 to 3 months ending 2010-06-30. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.18). The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 7.52% over the last week.

3. Intrepid Potash, Inc. (IPI): Engages in the production and marketing of muriate of potash or potassium chloride, and langbeinite under the Trio brand name primarily in the United States. Market cap of $2.08B. Analyst projected EPS growth over the next 5 years at 31.0%. MRQ revenue has increased 85.59% ($119.37M vs. $64.32M y/y) while MRQ inventory has increased 1.48% ($51.31M vs. $50.56M y/y). Inventory/current assets has decreased from 26.49% to 21.70%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-06-30 to 3 months ending 2010-06-30. The stock has had a good month, gaining 15.08%.

4. Trex Co. Inc. (TREX): Distributes wood/plastic composite products primarily for residential and commercial decking and railing applications in the United States. Market cap of $297.73M. Analyst projected EPS growth over the next 5 years at 36.95%. MRQ revenue has increased 12.12% ($67.92M vs. $60.58M y/y) while MRQ inventory has decreased 42.36% ($32.99M vs. $57.23M y/y). Inventory/current assets has decreased from 49.63% to 32.76%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-09-30 to 3 months ending 2010-09-30. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 19.53% (equivalent to 10.53 days of average volume). The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 14.98% over the last week.

5. EQT Corporation (EQT): Operates as an integrated energy company in the United States. Market cap of $9.34B. Analyst projected EPS growth over the next 5 years at 26.13%. MRQ revenue has increased 30.85% ($336.72M vs. $257.33M y/y) while MRQ inventory has decreased 17.54% ($138.01M vs. $167.37M y/y). Inventory/current assets has decreased from 21.79% to 14.24%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-09-30 to 3 months ending 2010-09-30. It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 6.61% over the last week. The stock has had a good month, gaining 17.46%.

6. Commercial Vehicle Group Inc. (CVGI): Designs and manufactures integrated system solutions for the commercial vehicle markets worldwide. Market cap of $311.29M. Analyst projected EPS growth over the next 5 years at 27.0%. MRQ revenue has increased 43.70% ($216.91M vs. $150.95M y/y) while MRQ inventory has increased 1.96% ($71.78M vs. $70.4M y/y). Inventory/current assets has decreased from 32.81% to 23.60%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-09-30 to 3 months ending 2010-09-30. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 8.45% (equivalent to 6.63 days of average volume). The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 15.72% over the last week.

7. Western Refining Inc. (WNR): Operates as an independent crude oil refiner and marketer of refined products in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, and the Mid-Atlantic region. Market cap of $1.47B. Analyst projected EPS growth over the next 5 years at 40.0%. MRQ revenue has increased 19.23% ($2,557.88M vs. $2,145.34M y/y) while MRQ inventory has decreased 18.87% ($390.63M vs. $481.49M y/y). Inventory/current assets has decreased from 48.07% to 35.90%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-06-30 to 3 months ending 2010-06-30. The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 7.21% over the last week.

8. Jinpan International Ltd. (JST): Engages in the design and manufacture of cast resin transformers for voltage distribution equipment. Market cap of $139.07M. Analyst projected EPS growth over the next 5 years at 30.0%. MRQ revenue has increased 58.56% ($58.27M vs. $36.75M y/y) while MRQ inventory has increased 22.26% ($41.03M vs. $33.56M y/y). Inventory/current assets has decreased from 24.57% to 21.15%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-06-30 to 3 months ending 2010-06-30. The stock has had a good month, gaining 22.37%.

9. ZOLL Medical Corp. (ZOLL): Develops, manufactures, and markets resuscitation devices and related software solutions worldwide. Market cap of $772.69M. Analyst projected EPS growth over the next 5 years at 40.50%. MRQ revenue has increased 22.29% ($136.15M vs. $111.33M y/y) while MRQ inventory has decreased 12.0% ($65.79M vs. $74.76M y/y). Inventory/current assets has decreased from 31.16% to 25.65%, comparing 13 weeks ending 2011-07-03 to 13 weeks ending 2010-07-04. It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 6.66% over the last week.

10. Harmony Gold Mining Co. Ltd. (HMY): Engages in underground and surface gold mining operations in South Africa and Papua New Guinea. Market cap of $5.84B. Analyst projected EPS growth over the next 5 years at 35.20%. MRQ revenue has increased 30.33% ($550M vs. $422M y/y) while MRQ inventory has decreased 3.85% ($125M vs. $130M y/y). Inventory/current assets has decreased from 37.79% to 27.84%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-09-30 to 3 months ending 2010-09-30. The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 5.85% over the last week.

11. iRobot Corporation (IRBT): Designs and builds robots for the consumer, government, and industrial markets. Market cap of $891.48M. Analyst projected EPS growth over the next 5 years at 27.50%. MRQ revenue has increased 27.75% ($120.37M vs. $94.22M y/y) while MRQ inventory has decreased 5.83% ($31.99M vs. $33.97M y/y). Inventory/current assets has decreased from 18.42% to 12.63%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-10-01 to 3 months ending 2010-10-02. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 16.93% (equivalent to 8.79 days of average volume). The stock has had a good month, gaining 25.34%.

12. Accuride Corp. (ACW): Engages in the manufacture and supply of components to the commercial vehicle industry in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Market cap of $314.48M. Analyst projected EPS growth over the next 5 years at 36.0%. MRQ revenue has increased 35.23% ($240.83M vs. $178.09M y/y) while MRQ inventory has increased 2.66% ($66.41M vs. $64.69M y/y). Inventory/current assets has decreased from 28.49% to 28.04%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-09-30 to 3 months ending 2010-09-30. The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 20.25% over the last week.

13. Hardinge Inc. (HDNG): Engages in the design, manufacture, and distribution of machine tools. Market cap of $102.14M. Analyst projected EPS growth over the next 5 years at 30.0%. MRQ revenue has increased 44.67% ($86.66M vs. $59.9M y/y) while MRQ inventory has increased 12.91% ($123.18M vs. $109.1M y/y). Inventory/current assets has decreased from 58.31% to 54.59%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-06-30 to 3 months ending 2010-06-30. The stock has had a good month, gaining 16.8%.

14. The Spectranetics Corporation (SPNC): Designs, manufactures, and markets single use medical devices used in minimally invasive surgical procedures within the cardiovascular system in conjunction with its proprietary excimer laser system, the CVX-300. Market cap of $259.31M. Analyst projected EPS growth over the next 5 years at 62.0%. MRQ revenue has increased 8.62% ($32.13M vs. $29.58M y/y) while MRQ inventory has decreased 19.70% ($7.5M vs. $9.34M y/y). Inventory/current assets has decreased from 17.19% to 11.85%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-09-30 to 3 months ending 2010-09-30. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 5.13% (equivalent to 9.64 days of average volume). The stock has gained 52.87% over the last year.

15. Orion Energy Systems, Inc (OESX): Engages in the development, manufacture, and sale of lighting and energy management systems, controls, and services. Market cap of $67.13M. Analyst projected EPS growth over the next 5 years at 35.0%. MRQ revenue has increased 34.10% ($22.77M vs. $16.98M y/y) while MRQ inventory has increased 7.13% ($32.17M vs. $30.03M y/y). Inventory/current assets has decreased from 47.21% to 40.70%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-06-30 to 3 months ending 2010-06-30. The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 10.19% over the last week.

16. IAMGOLD Corp. (IAG): Engages in the exploration, development, and production of mineral resource properties worldwide. Market cap of $8.42B. Analyst projected EPS growth over the next 5 years at 29.60%. MRQ revenue has increased 74.48% ($345.65M vs. $198.1M y/y) while MRQ inventory has increased 49.67% ($248.17M vs. $165.81M y/y). Inventory/current assets has decreased from 42.83% to 16.34%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-06-30 to 3 months ending 2010-06-30. Exhibiting strong upside momentum--currently trading 12.33% above its SMA20, 10.33% above its SMA50, and 11.61% above its SMA200. The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 5.71% over the last week.

*Accounting data sourced from Google Finance, all other data sourced from Finviz.

Source: 16 High Growth Stocks With Encouraging Inventory Trends