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Interested in stocks with less risk? One idea is to find stocks that trade within narrow ranges every day, indicating that they are less volatile and therefore less risky.

We ran a screen on low volatility stocks, finding those that have traded within a 2% range each day over the last month, for those with impressive profitability, beating their industry peers on gross, operating, and pretax margins.

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 profitability? Use this list as a starting point for your own analysis.

List sorted by difference between gross margin and industry.

1. Morningstar Inc. (MORN): Provides independent investment research to investors worldwide. Market cap of $3.0B. Average intra-day volatility over the last month at 1.34%. TTM gross margin at 71.76% vs. industry gross margin at 42.38%. TTM operating margin at 22.40% vs. industry operating margin at 18.80%. TTM pretax margin at 22.29% vs. industry pretax margin at 14.96%. The stock has gained 11.55% over the last year.

2. NeuStar, Inc. (NSR): Provides technology and directory services to its communications service provider (carrier) and non-carrier, commercial business customers primarily in North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Market cap of $2.62B. Average intra-day volatility over the last month at 1.70%. TTM gross margin at 77.97% vs. industry gross margin at 46.50%. TTM operating margin at 38.30% vs. industry operating margin at 30.26%. TTM pretax margin at 35.58% vs. industry pretax margin at 26.61%. The stock has gained 30.43% over the last year.

3. Pall Corp. (PLL): Manufactures and markets filtration, purification, and separation products and integrated systems solutions worldwide. Market cap of $6.84B. Average intra-day volatility over the last month at 1.71%. TTM gross margin at 53.53% vs. industry gross margin at 32.12%. TTM operating margin at 17.16% vs. industry operating margin at 12.87%. TTM pretax margin at 14.59% vs. industry pretax margin at 10.90%. The stock has gained 19.97% over the last year.

4. Snap-on Inc. (SNA): Manufactures and markets tools, diagnostics, equipment, software, and service solutions for professional users in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Japan, France, Australia, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, China, and Sweden. Market cap of $3.27B. Average intra-day volatility over the last month at 1.74%. TTM gross margin at 51.72% vs. industry gross margin at 32.14%. TTM operating margin at 15.10% vs. industry operating margin at 12.97%. TTM pretax margin at 13.32% vs. industry pretax margin at 10.99%. The stock has gained 0.64% over the last year.

5. Paychex, Inc. (PAYX): Provides payroll, human resource, and benefits outsourcing solutions for small-to medium-sized businesses in the United States and Germany. Market cap of $11.80B. Average intra-day volatility over the last month at 1.44%. TTM gross margin at 73.59% vs. industry gross margin at 46.49%. TTM operating margin at 38.34% vs. industry operating margin at 30.29%. TTM pretax margin at 38.62% vs. industry pretax margin at 26.63%. The stock has gained 3.33% over the last year.

6. DaVita, Inc. (DVA): Provides kidney dialysis services in the United States. Market cap of $7.56B. Average intra-day volatility over the last month at 1.52%. TTM gross margin at 32.02% vs. industry gross margin at 21.09%. TTM operating margin at 15.83% vs. industry operating margin at 8.49%. TTM pretax margin at 11.17% vs. industry pretax margin at 6.85%. The stock has gained 10.05% over the last year.

7. Intercontinental Hotels Group plc (IHG): Owns, manages, franchises, and leases hotels and resorts. Market cap of $6.13B. Average intra-day volatility over the last month at 1.49%. TTM gross margin at 55.88% vs. industry gross margin at 36.86%. TTM operating margin at 29.34% vs. industry operating margin at 19.40%. TTM pretax margin at 27.28% vs. industry pretax margin at 17.88%. The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 5.93% over the last week.

8. Aon Corporation (AON): Provides risk management, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, and human resource consulting and outsourcing services in the United States and internationally. Market cap of $15.40B. Average intra-day volatility over the last month at 1.34%. TTM gross margin at 21.02% vs. industry gross margin at 14.11%. TTM operating margin at 16.0% vs. industry operating margin at 11.26%. TTM pretax margin at 12.14% vs. industry pretax margin at 9.97%. The stock has gained 5.07% over the last year.

9. Solar Capital Ltd. (SLRC): A business development company specializing in investments in leveraged companies, including middle market companies. Market cap of $833.34M. Average intra-day volatility over the last month at 1.37%. TTM gross margin at 66.49% vs. industry gross margin at 45.79%. TTM operating margin at 66.49% vs. industry operating margin at 35.50%. TTM pretax margin at 39.31% vs. industry pretax margin at 24.09%. The stock has gained 3.59% over the last year.

10. AptarGroup, Inc. (ATR): Engages in the design, manufacture, and sale of consumer product dispensing systems. Market cap of $3.45B. Average intra-day volatility over the last month at 1.39%. TTM gross margin at 32.91% vs. industry gross margin at 22.67%. TTM operating margin at 12.27% vs. industry operating margin at 9.40%. TTM pretax margin at 11.75% vs. industry pretax margin at 6.22%. The stock has gained 8.51% over the last year.

11. Nelnet Inc. (NNI): Focuses on providing fee-based processing services, and education-related products and services in the areas of loan financing, loan servicing, payment processing, and enrollment services. Market cap of $1.17B. Average intra-day volatility over the last month at 1.76%. TTM gross margin at 60.28% vs. industry gross margin at 41.92%. TTM operating margin at 57.42% vs. industry operating margin at 36.98%. TTM pretax margin at 35.07% vs. industry pretax margin at 24.75%. The stock has gained 8.7% over the last year.

12. The Chubb Corporation (CB): Provides property and casualty insurance to businesses and individuals. Market cap of $19.56B. Average intra-day volatility over the last month at 1.31%. TTM gross margin at 20.15% vs. industry gross margin at 14.11%. TTM operating margin at 18.01% vs. industry operating margin at 11.26%. TTM pretax margin at 18.01% vs. industry pretax margin at 9.97%. The stock has gained 22.22% over the last year.

13. AutoZone Inc. (AZO): Operates as a specialty retailer and distributor of automotive replacement parts and accessories. Market cap of $13.69B. Average intra-day volatility over the last month at 1.53%. TTM gross margin at 53.57% vs. industry gross margin at 37.72%. TTM operating margin at 18.64% vs. industry operating margin at 9.97%. TTM pretax margin at 16.54% vs. industry pretax margin at 9.31%. The stock has gained 39.13% over the last year.

14. Hershey Co. (HSY): Engages in manufacturing, marketing, selling, and distributing various chocolate and confectionery products, pantry items, and gum and mint refreshment products worldwide. Market cap of $13.85B. Average intra-day volatility over the last month at 1.12%. TTM gross margin at 46.01% vs. industry gross margin at 32.55%. TTM operating margin at 17.78% vs. industry operating margin at 11.91%. TTM pretax margin at 15.93% vs. industry pretax margin at 9.39%. The stock has gained 30.06% over the last year.

15. Fifth Street Finance Corp. (FSC): Credit Services Industry. Market cap of $543.86M. Average intra-day volatility over the last month at 1.73%. TTM gross margin at 64.54% vs. industry gross margin at 45.79%. TTM operating margin at 64.54% vs. industry operating margin at 35.50%. TTM pretax margin at 24.13% vs. industry pretax margin at 24.09%. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 13.19% (equivalent to 10.77 days of average volume). The stock has lost 15.44% over the last year.

16. Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (HMC): Engages in the development, manufacture, and distribution of motorcycles, automobiles, and power products primarily in North America, Europe, and Asia. Market cap of $63.67B. Average intra-day volatility over the last month at 1.21%. TTM gross margin at 32.58% vs. industry gross margin at 23.13%. TTM operating margin at 3.67% vs. industry operating margin at 3.32%. TTM pretax margin at 5.37% vs. industry pretax margin at 5.16%. The stock has had a good month, gaining 16.16%.

17. Cleco Corporation (CNL): Engages in the generation, transmission, distribution, and sale of electricity in Louisiana. Market cap of $2.34B. Average intra-day volatility over the last month at 1.45%. TTM gross margin at 37.89% vs. industry gross margin at 26.95%. TTM operating margin at 27.41% vs. industry operating margin at 18.25%. TTM pretax margin at 24.18% vs. industry pretax margin at 13.97%. Offers a good dividend, and appears to have good liquidity to back it up--dividend yield at 3.26%, current ratio at 1.51, and quick ratio at 1.25. The stock has gained 25.61% over the last year.

18. Kellogg Company (K): Manufactures and markets ready-to-eat cereal and convenience food products primarily in North America, Europe, Latin America, and the Asia Pacific. Market cap of $17.95B. Average intra-day volatility over the last month at 1.03%. TTM gross margin at 44.70% vs. industry gross margin at 32.55%. TTM operating margin at 15.20% vs. industry operating margin at 11.91%. TTM pretax margin at 12.66% vs. industry pretax margin at 9.39%. The stock has gained 0.2% over the last year.

19. 3M Co. (MMM): Operates as a diversified technology company worldwide. Market cap of $61.38B. Average intra-day volatility over the last month at 1.28%. TTM gross margin at 51.28% vs. industry gross margin at 37.38%. TTM operating margin at 20.92% vs. industry operating margin at 14.88%. TTM pretax margin at 20.40% vs. industry pretax margin at 13.78%. The stock has gained 0.32% over the last year.

20. McCormick & Co. Inc. (MKC): Engages in the manufacture, marketing, and distribution of flavor products and other specialty food products to the food industry worldwide. Market cap of $6.79B. Average intra-day volatility over the last month at 1.16%. TTM gross margin at 44.52% vs. industry gross margin at 32.55%. TTM operating margin at 15.05% vs. industry operating margin at 11.91%. TTM pretax margin at 14.42% vs. industry pretax margin at 9.39%. The stock has gained 16.89% over the last year.

*Profitability data sourced from Yahoo! Finance, all other data sourced from Finviz.

Source: 20 Low Volatility Stocks With Above Average Profitability