Hello Friends! Thanks so much for stopping by and visiting my blog, Stock Picks Bob's Advice! As always, please remember that I am an amateur investor, so please remember to consult with your professional investment advisors prior to making any investment decisions based on information on this website.
As many of you probably know, I like to start my 'search' for stocks for this blog on the list of the top % gainers. These stocks, with good current price momentum, are a good place, from my experience, to find stocks that may well turn out to be long-term winners. That is, if you do your homework and 'look under the hood' so to speak :).
Anyway, between everything else I was doing today, I managed to take a look at the list of NASDAQ top % gainers, and was pleased to see another 'old friend', a stock that I had reviewed previously on December 7, 2005, Hurco (HURC) which closed today at $42.75, up $7.59 or 21.59% on the day (!), in an otherwise flat market for the NASDAQ. Since I had selected this stock at a price of $27.33 on 12/7/05, this represents a gain on the stock pick of $15.42 or 56.4% since posting.
I generally try to wait a full twelve months before 'revisiting' stocks so that I can keep this blog from being too repetitive. I do not own any shares, nor do I have any options on this company.
Hurco deserves a place on Stock Picks. Let me share with you why I say this and why I believe the stock moved strongly higher.
What exactly does this company do?
If we review the Yahoo "Profile" on Hurco, we find that the company is
"...an industrial technology company, engages in the design, manufacture, and sale of computer control systems, software, and computerized machine tools for the metal cutting and metal forming industry. Its products include general purpose computerized machine tools primarily vertical machining centers and turning centers."
How did they do in the latest quarter?
It was Hurco's 1st quarter 2007 results, that were reported just prior to the open of trading that pushed the stock strongly higher today! Sales and service fees for the first quarter of fiscal 2007, which ended January 31, 2007, came in at $46.9 million, a 47% over last year's $31.9 million reported in the same period. Net income came in at $5.4 million or $.84/share, up 78% from the $3.03 million or $.48/share last year.
This result exceeded the expectations of at least one analyst, who according to Reuters Estimates, had been expecting $.66/share.
How about longer-term results?
Review of the Morningstar.com "5-Yr Restated" financials is impressive. The company has shown a steady increase in revenue, except for a dip from $92 million in 2001 to $70 million in 2002, and then increasing steadily each year to $126 million in 2005 and $140 million in the trailing twelve months (TTM).
Earnings also showed a similar dip from a loss of $(.28)/share in 2001 to a loss of $(1.48) in 2002. Since 2003, the company has been profitable and has increased earnings from $.08/share in 2003 to $1.04 in 2004, $2.60 in 2005 and $2.82 in the trailing twelve months (TTM).
Since 2001, the number of outstanding shares has held steady at 6 million.
Hurco has been reporting positive and increasing free cash flow with $2 million reported in 2003, $6 million in 2004, $10 million in 2005 and $13 million in the trailing twelve months (TTM).
Their balance sheet, as reported by Morningstar.com, also looks solid, with $24.5 million in cash and $71.3 million in other current assets. This total of $95.8 million in current assets, when compared to the current liabilities of $43.2 million yields a current ratio of 2.22. IMHO, current ratios of 1.25 or higher are considered healthy. In addition, the company has a small amount of long-term liabilities totaling $4.4 million.
What about some valuation numbers on this stock?
Checking Yahoo "Key Statistics" on Hurco (HURC), we can see that this is a small cap stock with a market capitalization of only $272.5 million. the trailing p/e is a very reasonable 17.67, with a forward p/e (fye 31-October-08) of only 12.72. Currently the PEG is estimated at 1.43, but with the current quarter's phenomenal results, this PEG is likely to drop below 1.0 unless the stock price should appreciate significantly.
Checking the Fidelity.com eresearch website for some additional valuation numbers, we find that the Price/sales ratio (TTM) for Hurco is at 1.50 just above the industry average of 1.40. Profitability is also listed as close to average with HURC coming in with a Return on Equity (TTM), of 22.31%, just under the industry average of 22.78%.
Finishing up with Yahoo, we can see that there are actually 6.38 million shares outstanding with 5.56 million that float. Of these, as of 1/9/07, there were 567,260 shares out short, representing 7.8 trading days of average volume (the short ratio). This could possibly explain some of today's huge volume of 1.06 million shares (HURC trades an average of 62,540 shares usually). Many of these short sellers may well have been scrambling to find shares of this rather thinly traded stock as the announcement of terrific earnings was released. Thus, the sharp increase in price, one of the hallmarks of a short squeeze.
No dividend is reported, and the last dividend reported on Yahoo was apparently way back in November, 1992.
What does the chart look like?
If we review a "Point & Figure" chart on Hurco from StockCharts.com, we can see that the stock has been trading higher since at least January, 2004, when it was as low as $4.25. The stock has mad '3 steps forward and two back' so to speak over the last several years, but has not broken-down its basic upward direction. The stock recently has climbed to new highs in the $43 level.
Summary: What do I think about this stock?
Basically I like this stock a lot! Unfortunately, I am not a stockholder, but it is the kind of company I would be buying, if I were buying any shares today. Let me review some of the findings I have written about above: first of all, the company moved sharply higher today in what may well have been partially due to short-sellers scrambling to cover in the face of better than expected and in general simply superb results. The company has been doing quite well for the past several years with steadily increasing revenue and earnings. They have done this without issuing many shares, keeping at the 6 million share level. Free cash flow has been positive and growing and the balance sheet is solid.
Valuation-wise, the p/e is in the teens, and with the current growth, the PEG is likely to be adjusted down to under 1.0. The price/sales and the ROE appear to be reasonable relative to other companies in the same industry. Finally, the chart looks great, if not a tad overextended to me.
Thanks again for stopping by and visiting. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and stay warm! If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to leave them on the blog or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you get a chance, please feel free to visit my Stock Picks Podcast Website, where I discuss many of the same stocks I write about here on the blog.