The S&P Small Cap 600 has trailed the S&P 500's 9.61% year-to-date return. However, there are some excellent small cap stocks that are worth a look for future growth. The small cap stocks discussed below all have at least an A- rating for earnings and dividends. Quality Rankings measure the growth and stability of earnings and dividends over the past 10 years. In addition, these small caps are increasing dividends and have a bullish outlook.
The Andersons, Inc.(NASDAQ:ANDE) engages in the grain, ethanol, plant nutrient, railcar leasing and repair, turf products production, and general merchandise retailing businesses. On May 7 2012, ANDE announced record first quarter net income attributable to the company of $18.4 million, or $0.98 per diluted share, on revenues of $1.1 billion. In the same three month period of 2011, the company reported results of $17.3 million, or $0.93 per diluted share, on $1.0 billion of revenues. ANDE has a dividend yield of only 1.21% but has increased its dividend each of the last 10 years. ANDE increased its dividend 36% in the past year and has a 5-year annual dividend growth rate of 25%. ANDE has an earnings yield of 10.38%. ANDE has an equity summary score of 7.4 out of 10 for a Bullish outlook.
Community Trust Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:CTBI), with assets of $3.7 billion, is headquartered in Pikeville, Kentucky and has 70 banking locations across eastern, northeastern, central, and south central Kentucky, six banking locations in southern West Virginia, four banking locations in northeastern Tennessee, four trust offices across Kentucky, and one trust office in Tennessee. CTBI reported record earnings of $11.9 million, or $0.77 per basic share, compared to $9.3 million, or $0.61 per basic share, earned during the first quarter 2011, and $9.9 million, or $0.64 per basic share, earned during the fourth quarter 2011. CTBI has a dividend yield of 3.78%, and it has an earnings yield of 8.2%. CTBI has an equity summary score of 9.3 out of 10 for a VERY Bullish outlook.
The Cato Corporation (CATO) is a leading specialty retailer of value-priced fashion apparel and accessories operating three concepts, "Cato", "Versona" and "It's Fashion". The Company's Cato stores offer exclusive merchandise with fashion and quality comparable to mall specialty stores at low prices every day. For the fourth quarter, CATO reported net income of $10.1 million or $0.35 per diluted share, compared to net income of $10.9 million or $0.37 per diluted share for the fourth quarter ended January 29, 2011 (the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended January 29, 2011 results have been restated to reflect the January 30, 2011 adoption of the cost method of accounting for merchandise inventories). CATO expects to open 45 new stores during 2012. The expected new store openings include 15 new Cato stores, 20 Versona Accessories stores and 10 new It's Fashion Metro stores (including opening approximately three Metro stores while simultaneously closing an existing It's Fashion store in the same market). CATO anticipates closing up to 13 stores by year-end. CATO has a dividend yield of 3.29%. CATO increased its dividend 24% in the past year and has a 5-year annual dividend growth rate of 9.8% and has an earnings yield of 7.9%. CATO has an equity summary score of 9.6 out of 10 for a VERY Bullish outlook.
BancFirst Corp. (NASDAQ:BANF) operates as the holding company for BancFirst that provides commercial banking services to retail customers and small to medium-sized businesses in the non-metropolitan trade centers of Oklahoma and the metropolitan markets of Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Lawton, Muskogee, Norman and Shawnee. BANF reported net income of $14.0 million or $0.91diluted earnings per share for the first quarter of 2012 compared to net income of $11.4 million or $0.72 diluted earnings per share for the first quarter of 2011. BANF has a dividend yield of 2.71%. BANF increased its dividend 8% in the past year and has a 5-year annual dividend growth rate of 8.5%. BANF has an earnings yield of 7.84% and has an equity summary score of 9.1 out of 10 for a VERY Bullish outlook.
Stepan Company (NYSE:SCL) is a major manufacturer of specialty and intermediate chemicals used in a broad range of industries. Stepan is a leading merchant producer of surfactants, which are the key ingredients in consumer and industrial cleaning compounds. The company is also a principal supplier of phthalic anhydride used in polyester resins, alkyd resins and plasticizers. SCL reported record first quarter earnings for the period that ended March 31, 2012. Net income rose 19 percent to $22.3 million compared to $18.8 million a year ago. Net income, excluding deferred compensation expense, rose 30 percent to $23.6 million compared to $18.2 million a year ago. Net sales increased 10 percent to $465.3 million on volume growth of 4 percent. SCL has a dividend yield of 1.25%. SCL increased its dividend 7.69% in the past year and has a 5-year annual dividend growth rate of 6.43%. SCL has an earnings yield of 7.47% and has an equity summary score of 9.4 out of 10 for a VERY Bullish outlook.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.