small cap stocks gear up for remarkable breakouts predicts market sage 2544


Small-Cap Stocks Gear Up for Remarkable Breakouts, Predicts Market Sage


Lauren Miller

April 1, 2024 - 23:08 pm


Small-Cap Stocks Shine as Market Strategists Forecast Major Breakouts

Market strategists are honing in on small-cap stocks in the current financial landscape, noting significant opportunities for investors. One such strategist, Matt Orton from Raymond James Investment Management, has proclaimed a bright outlook for these smaller companies, particularly emphasizing the potential for considerable growth in the market.

Potential Breakout Looms for Small-Cap Stocks

Orton, the Chief Market Strategist at the asset management firm, shared his insights on CNBC's "Squawk Box Asia". He conveyed a strong sense of optimism regarding small-caps this year. "We're possibly on the cusp of an even larger surge," he expressed. Orton highlighted that small-cap stocks, which often attract less attention compared to their larger counterparts, should be considered for inclusion in investment portfolios due to their potential for earnings improvement.

"Valuations when compared to large-cap stocks are hovering around historically wide margins, and I believe that we may see earnings begin to climb significantly, particularly in the second half of 2024," Orton elaborated. His projections follow a period where the Russell 2000, the key index for small-cap companies, has recorded a 5.2% rise year-to-date despite a challenging commencement to the year 2024.

The index experienced a close call ending the first quarter at a peak not seen in two years, following a remarkable 30% rebound from the lows seen in October. Despite these gains, Orton noted that the index is still approximately 13% below the record high it achieved in 2021. According to Orton, current conditions make the small-cap sector in the U.S. substantially attractive for investors.

Spotlight on Vertiv Holdings and CyberArk

In his focus on promising small-cap entities, Orton shed light on Vertiv Holdings and CyberArk, two under-the-radar companies he is bullish on.

Vertiv Holdings: Poised for Growth

Orton lauded Vertiv Holdings, a company specializing in cooling technology and power management solutions for data centers, as a top candidate for investment. He offered a robust outlook for Vertiv due to the expected rise in demand triggered by new generations of high-heat-generating chips set to enter the market. "Vertiv operates in a high-margin sector and is already excelling. As the market expands, their scale is expected to increase, which puts them in a favorable position given the limited competition," he added.

Vertiv's performance in the stock market mirrors Orton's confidence. The company's shares have soared by almost 471% over the past year. Despite the significant rise, Orton maintained that the stock continues to be desirable. Out of 13 analysts tracking Vertiv, data from FactSet reveals that 12 recommend buying or overweighting the stock, with only one suggesting a hold status. The average target price set by these analysts is $77.31, pointing to a marginal potential downside of about 5.3%.

CyberArk: Capitalizing on Cybersecurity

Turning to the cybersecurity industry, Orton pointed out an "overlooked" sector that he believes has vast untapped potential, chiefly due to a spike in cyber threats parallel to the evolution of artificial intelligence. CyberArk, a firm that specializes in information security, attracted Orton's interest as an investment opportunity.

"CyberArk sets itself apart by servicing a unique market segment. They concentrate on securing specific parts of an enterprise — like certain data sets, cloud storages, and industrial processes — and they offer specialized cybersecurity privileges and protections," he detailed. He praised CyberArk for their strong earnings and immense prospects for free cash flow enlargement in the future.

The company's stocks have also performed admirably, registering an 80% increase over the past 12 months. FactSet data indicates that of 32 analysts covering CyberArk, an overwhelming majority of 30 have a buy or overweight rating, with only two recommending a hold. The consensus price target for CyberArk stands at $299.75, reflecting a possible upside of 12.8%.

A Closer Look at Market Trends

The shift in focus to these small-cap prospects by market strategists showcases the dynamic nature of investment landscapes and highlights the potential for high returns in sectors that may have previously gone unnoticed.

Investors often flock to large-cap stocks due to their perceived stability and predictable growth patterns. However, with Orton's predictions and the movement of the Russell 2000 index, it's evident that small caps are gaining traction. The enthusiasm shown by Orton is spurred by a combination of factors that position these smaller entities on a potential upward trajectory, including attractive valuations and the chance of experiencing a sharper increase in earnings in comparison to their large-cap peers.

Given the progress of technological advancements and the ever-growing digitalization of the world economy, companies like Vertiv Holdings stand to benefit significantly from the increase in data center demands. On the other hand, as cybersecurity threats become more sophisticated, firms like CyberArk are set to play an essential role in ensuring the protection of critical digital infrastructures.

Conclusion: The Future of Small-Cap Investments

As these trends continue to develop, with the expert insight from strategists like Matt Orton, small-cap stocks may offer a fertile ground for investors seeking to diversify their portfolios and tap into potential growth areas. With a strategic approach and a keen eye on market movements, these smaller stocks could very well lead to outsized returns compared to more traditional large-cap investments.

Orton's marked bullishness on companies like Vertiv and CyberArk underscores the investment opportunities present within the realms of data management and cybersecurity. As we look to the future, the savvy investor would do well to consider these insights and explore the vast potential that small-cap stocks hold. In doing so, they may discover the next big thing in the stock market, riding the wave of growth as these under-the-radar companies emerge into the spotlight.

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