The recent trend toward a more bullish market has touched off excitement and some cautious positivity moving forward. As a fan of micro-caps, my attention has turned to stocks which have seen a rise and are poised for more growth. Of course, there are inherent dangers when wading into such small cap stocks and a portfolio that is risk averse should look toward more defensive stocks. But for a little risk, considering micro-caps in today's market has potential to grant some rewards that haven't been seen since before 2008.
These are four micro-caps I think have been overlooked and offer an opportunity for investors.
1. Adept Technologies (NASDAQ:ADEP) 2/8 $2.89
$28 million market cap
Average daily volume - 18,461
The financials on this company make it attractive. ADEP has cash and cash equivalents of $6.5 million as of December 31, 2011, an empty line of credit up to $10 million and a goal of being cash positive for the year. Adept's recent moves have helped reinvent the company. It is attempting to reach a business and industrial automated material handling market with a one of a kind solution for labor. This move on the industrial scale is reminiscent of what iRobot (NASDAQ:IRBT) did in the consumer market when it introduced the Roomba, a robot that was one of a kind handling the mundane chore of vacuuming. I see success in the company's new initiatives bringing about profits in late 2012 as revenues increase and fixed costs continue to decline. Consolidation of Denmark activities will cut costs by around $500,000 quarterly alone. Adept Technologies is up 20% on the year from a low of $2.40 and may see a ceiling of closer to $10-12.
2. Ballard Power (NASDAQ:BLDP) - 2/8 $1.38
$116.35 million market cap
Average daily volume - 385,270
Ballard Power opened the year at $1.14 is trading up 21% as of today. Positive news on partnerships continue to flow which only helps the company strive to be the first profitable fuel cell company. Though the share price is no indicator, the company has done a lot to protect shareholder value on a share to share basis. While other fuel cell companies were diluting shares, Ballard raised cash by shedding non-core assets and actually decreased the amount of shares outstanding by 34.3 million in a transaction with Daimler and Ford. BLDP has gained recent analyst attention and the share price could easily double within the year.
3. ReneSola (NYSE:SOL) - 2/8 $2.90
$251.77 million market cap
Average daily volume - 5,150,000
ReneSola opened the year at $1.58 and is now up $1.32 per share for an 84% increase. Chinese solar companies have branded with a negative reputation and many fingers were pointed Far East with harsh words like "dumping" as components dropped 40% in 2011. Today, demand has slightly picked up and ReneSola has been a low cost leader. The company has been extending this leadership as they invest in diamond wire and decrease the amount of raw material necessary. I don't feel that China solars should be overlooked. SOL is a particularly interesting play as China has done more than most other countries in supporting this industry.
4. Smith Micro Software (NASDAQ:SMSI) - 2/8 $2.58
$92 million market cap
Average daily volume - 1,150,000
Investors in SMSI today are buying a company that has $54 million in cash and no debt. On November 25th 2011, SMSI traded down to $0.97 giving the company a market cap of under $35 million. Since the New Year, SMSI share price has appreciated $1.36 for an increase of 119%. The growth of 3G and 4G caught the company's hot spot software business off guard and this stock would be a good buy if you believe the company has made the correct moves recently to turn around business. The continued appreciation this year makes me believe that the market thinks Smith Micro Software will be a successful turn-around.
Keeping a keen watch on these stocks, which have paid off already for some investors in 2012, may prove interesting as the market improves.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.