Many investors are worried about European debt, and it’s impact on the market right now. Others are afraid that tensions with Iran will bubble over and further drive up the price of oil. And of course, there’s an election coming up — adding even more uncertainty to the stock market.
But take heart! There are a host of small-cap companies with innovative products that are cashing in right now. These include up-and-coming pharmaceutical companies and small-cap oil stocks, among others, that represent some of the biggest growth opportunities on Wall Street right now.
And let’s not forget that despite some of the recent uncertainty in the market, we are still sitting on a rather impressive rally so far in 2012. The S&P 500 is up over 8% since Jan. 1 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq has done even better with almost 14% gains year-to-date!
That hardly sounds like a bear market to me.
If you’re looking to cash in on some of the best small-cap growth opportunities out there, look no further than this month’s list of Top 5 stocks.
Questcor Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:QCOR) is a biotech company that focuses on difficult-to-treat central nervous system disorders, and the company has been particularly successful with its multiple sclerosis treatment, H.P. Acthar Gel. The company also makes Doral, which is used for the treatment of insomnia.
In the massive biotechnology industry, Questcor is top-notch in terms of earnings per share growth and return on equity, and the company recently reported its fourth-quarter earnings skyrocketed 295% to $31.6 million, or 47 cents per share, beating the 42 cents per share consensus estimate.
Plus, in the past month the analyst community has revised their consensus forecast earnings estimate by 94.8%.
Susser Holdings (NASDAQ:SUSS) is a chain of family gasoline and convenience stores serving more than 500 convenience stores and supplying fuel to nearly 400 dealers and a significant number of other commercial customers. Stripes LLC, the retail arm of Susser, also operates 270 Laredo Taco Company and Country Cookin’ restaurants.
Fueled by strong same-store merchandise sales and historically strong fuel margins, the company enjoyed record profits for the fourth quarter. This time last year, the company posted a net loss of $1.3 million, but in just a year, the company reversed this loss and posted $5.3 million in profits!
Earnings per share weighed in at 29 cents, trouncing the 18 cents consensus estimate by a whopping 61%. Over the same period, sales climbed 29% to $1.3 billion.
Management plans to add as many as 30 new stores in 2012, as higher diesel and gasoline prices continue to help to boost the company’s overall sales growth.
Monster Beverage (NASDAQ:MNST) is the maker of the very popular Monster energy drink, as well as a number of other products that are actually very wholesome, with 30 real fruit and spice soda flavors, a number of immune system-boosting drinks, vitamin waters and an array of teas and lemonades. The company recently reported that its namesake line of energy drinks grabbed more market share in the fourth quarter, fueled by the success of its new line of Monster Rehab rehydration energy drinks.
As such, fourth-quarter net sales jumped 29% year-over-year to $410 million; this was in line with the consensus estimate. Over the same period, net income climbed 31% to $64.5 million, or 35 cents per share.
The company also repurchased 700,000 shares in the fourth quarter, completing its $200 million share repurchase program that has been in effect since March 2010.
Plains All America Pipeline
Plains All America Pipeline L.P. (NYSE:PAA) is cashing in big-time on the transportation and storage of crude oil, refined products and natural gas in the U.S. and Canada. Plains All American currently has an extremely attractive 5% dividend, and as a Master Limited Partnership, the company is able to allow for pass-through income, eliminating the “double taxation” that is generally applied to corporations.
In the fourth quarter, Plains reported strong sales and earnings growth for the fourth quarter as the energy company continues to benefit from a strong business model and strategic asset base.
Fourth-quarter net income surged 96% to $278 million, with earnings coming in at $1.65—topping the $1.50 consensus earnings estimate by 10%. The big news here is the company’s recent acquisition of British Petroleum’s Canadian natural gas liquids business, and the company remains a solid way to play rising energy prices.
Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:SPPI) rounds out the Top 5 this month. Spectrum is a pharmaceutical company specializing in cancer treatments, with two treatments on the market: Fusilev, a treatment for advanced colon cancer, and Zevalin, a treatment for a type of lymphoma.
But what really excites me about this company is what it has in its pipeline—Spectrum has more than 10 drugs in either late-stage development or development!
The company’s recent fourth-quarter results were mixed—the company nearly doubled its profits, and sales topped analyst estimates, climbing 56% to $52.98 million. However, the company’s adjusted earnings weighed in at 24 cents per share; analysts forecast earnings of 31 cents per share.
Although this miss isn’t what investors like to see, I believe that the company’s long-term outlook outweighs this temporary setback. Looking ahead, management is optimistic about the development of two additional novel drugs. The company will receive pivotal data on a bladder cancer treatment in the next few months and on another anticancer drug later in the year. If both of these drugs are approved, this would double Spectrum Pharma’s product portfolio.