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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 small-cap stocks for stocks with positive trends in inventory: 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.

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

List sorted by difference between growth in revenue and inventory.

1. Global Partners LP (GLP): Engages in the wholesale and commercial distribution of refined petroleum products and natural gas, and provides ancillary services in the United States and internationally. Market cap of $493.32M. MRQ revenue has increased 143.45% ($3,765.76M vs. $1,546.84M y/y) while MRQ inventory has increased 12.61% ($598.82M vs. $531.78M y/y). Inventory/current assets has decreased from 57.67% to 51.69%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-09-30 to 3 months ending 2010-09-30. The stock has lost 10.53% over the last year.

2. Star Scientific, Inc. (CIGX): Engages in the development, implementation, and licensing of tobacco curing technology that prevents the formation of carcinogenic toxins present in tobacco and tobacco smoke, primarily the tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNA). Market cap of $339.0M. MRQ revenue has increased 90.48% ($0.4M vs. $0.21M y/y) while MRQ inventory has decreased 14.20% ($2.78M vs. $3.24M y/y). Inventory/current assets has decreased from 31.12% to 19.97%, 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 18.27% (equivalent to 19.83 days of average volume). The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 15.14% over the last week.

3. Zhongpin, Inc. (HOGS): Engages in the processing and distribution of meat and food products primarily in the People's Republic of China. Market cap of $396.39M. MRQ revenue has increased 65.13% ($398.09M vs. $241.08M y/y) while MRQ inventory has decreased 14.42% ($37.14M vs. $43.4M y/y). Inventory/current assets has decreased from 19.13% to 10.11%, 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 12.51% (equivalent to 12.25 days of average volume). The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 23.47% over the last week.

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 $359.04M. 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% (equivalent to 14.33 days of average volume). The stock has lost 7.95% over the last year.

5. Silicon Graphics International Corp. (SGI): Focuses on helping customers solve their technology challenges by delivering clustered and high-performance computing and storage solutions, and software and services. Market cap of $379.59M. MRQ revenue has increased 58.47% ($178.9M vs. $112.89M y/y) while MRQ inventory has increased 5.10% ($110.73M vs. $105.36M y/y). Inventory/current assets has decreased from 29.03% to 27.69%, comparing 13 weeks ending 2011-09-30 to 13 weeks ending 2010-09-24. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 27.9% (equivalent to 16.35 days of average volume). The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 15.89%.

6. BioScrip Inc. (BIOS): Provides pharmacy and home health services in the United States. Market cap of $304.29M. MRQ revenue has increased 2.92% ($454.02M vs. $441.15M y/y) while MRQ inventory has decreased 42.73% ($37.98M vs. $66.32M y/y). Inventory/current assets has decreased from 19.49% to 14.40%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-09-30 to 3 months ending 2010-09-30. The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 11.85%.

7. BPZ Resources, Inc. (BPZ): Engages in the exploration, development, and production of oil and natural gas in Peru and Ecuador. Market cap of $323.39M. MRQ revenue has increased 35.67% ($36.21M vs. $26.69M y/y) while MRQ inventory has decreased 9.62% ($18.6M vs. $20.58M y/y). Inventory/current assets has decreased from 16.50% to 14.68%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-09-30 to 3 months ending 2010-09-30. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.18). The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 24.18% (equivalent to 15.59 days of average volume). The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 15.71%.

8. Horsehead Holding Corp. (ZINC): Produces and sells specialty zinc and zinc-based products in North America. Market cap of $434.81M. MRQ revenue has increased 61.06% ($145.84M vs. $90.55M y/y) while MRQ inventory has increased 16.88% ($51.32M vs. $43.91M y/y). Inventory/current assets has decreased from 21.64% to 13.22%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-09-30 to 3 months ending 2010-09-30. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.47). The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 9.% (equivalent to 8.13 days of average volume). The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 10.43% over the last week.

9. Alon USA Energy, Inc. (ALJ): Operates as an independent refiner and marketer of petroleum products in south central, southwestern, and western regions of the United States. Market cap of $485.13M. MRQ revenue has increased 64.72% ($2,056.65M vs. $1,248.57M y/y) while MRQ inventory has increased 28.56% ($254.16M vs. $197.7M y/y). Inventory/current assets has decreased from 42.41% to 36.60%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-09-30 to 3 months ending 2010-09-30. The stock has gained 42.2% over the last year.

10. Zygo Corporation (ZIGO): Designs, develops, and manufactures ultra-high precision measurement solutions to enhance its customers' manufacturing yields; and optical sub-systems and components for original equipment manufacturers and end-user applications in the United States and internationally. Market cap of $300.38M. MRQ revenue has increased 41.36% ($43.99M vs. $31.12M y/y) while MRQ inventory has increased 6.15% ($26.6M vs. $25.06M y/y). Inventory/current assets has decreased from 25.11% to 21.17%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-09-30 to 3 months ending 2010-09-30. The stock has gained 41.65% over the last year.

11. United States Lime & Minerals, Inc. (USLM): Engages in the manufacture and sale of lime and limestone products in the United States. Market cap of $382.47M. MRQ revenue has increased 22.94% ($39.18M vs. $31.87M y/y) while MRQ inventory has decreased 11.63% ($9.5M vs. $10.75M y/y). Inventory/current assets has decreased from 18.61% to 12.54%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-09-30 to 3 months ending 2010-09-30. The stock has had a good month, gaining 10.39%.

12. Electro Scientific Industries Inc. (ESIO): Provides high-technology manufacturing equipment to the semiconductor and micro-electronics markets. Market cap of $430.13M. MRQ revenue has increased 37.50% ($81.88M vs. $59.55M y/y) while MRQ inventory has increased 3.61% ($75.7M vs. $73.06M y/y). Inventory/current assets has decreased from 23.46% to 23.40%, comparing 3 months ending 2011-10-01 to 3 months ending 2010-10-02. The stock has had a good month, gaining 18.3%.

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

Source: 12 Small-Cap Stocks With Encouraging Inventory Trends