Small can be big.
Small-cap stocks often outperform larger stocks. This happens in part because they can be riskier than stocks with larger market caps. Investors accept the higher risk for the possibility of higher returns. Small-cap stocks also sometimes simply have more room to run than large-cap stocks. It's a lot easier to double a $500 million business than it is to do so with a $500 billion business.
We asked three Motley Fool contributors to identify which small-cap stocks they like right now. They picked cloud-based software provider BlackLine (NASDAQ:BL), up-and-coming biotech Supernus Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:SUPN), and cannabis distributor Origin House (NASDAQOTH:ORHOF). Here's why these three small-cap stocks especially stand out.
Showing the accounting department some love
Brian Feroldi (BlackLine): Proper accounting is a mission-critical task for every business. The standard business practice for decades has been to process data in batches at the end of a specific period of time (like a month or quarter). A big problem with the traditional process is that it can often be a nightmare to gather and process all of the data. In fact, many companies today still depend on email and spreadsheet files to share information.
This is a problem that BlackLine is on a mission to solve. The company offers cloud-based software that works seamlessly with a lot of leading enterprise software packages. BlackLine's software automates much of the data collection and reconciliation work in real time. This greatly increases data accuracy and helps to smooth out the boom-or-bust workload that is placed on most accounting teams.
BlackLine's solution has been a huge hit with businesses of all sizes. The company has already convinced more than 2,400 customers to sign on. That number should continue to grow rapidly, thanks to a recent agreement that will enable SAP to sell its product directly.
As a software-as-a-service company, BlackLine's business model is as solid as they come. It does a great job of convincing its existing customers to use more services while it successfully brings new customers into its ecosystem. That one-two punch helped drive 29% revenue growth last quarter and pump out free cash flow.
So how big is the potential pie? BlackLine believes that its current market opportunity is about $18 billion. That's a huge number when compared to the $228 million in total revenue that it is estimated to have pulled in during 2018.
In other words, I think that BlackLine is in a great position to post double-digit growth as far as the eye can see. That makes this a great stock for small-cap investors to get to know.
Check out the latest BlackLine earnings call transcript.
A growth and value stock in the biotech industry? It does exist!
Sean Williams (Supernus Pharmaceuticals): It's not often that a high-growth drugmaker can also be a value stock, but that's exactly what you get with small-cap drug developer Supernus Pharmaceuticals.
Right now, the heavy lifting for Supernus is being done by Oxtellar XR and Trokendi XR, two extended-release formulations designed to treat epilepsy. In the company's most recent quarterly results, it registered 22.6% aggregate prescription growth, but 28.3% net product sales growth to $100.2 million. Faster sales growth than prescriptions written, especially in the case of Trokendi XR, implies that Supernus is having few issues passing along higher prices to insurers, physicians, and consumers. That's a good thing, and it suggests that Supernus' double-digit growth rate could continue.
The company is also a prime candidate to benefit from organic growth via label expansion. In mid-December, Supernus announced that the Food and Drug Administration had granted Oxtellar XR a label expansion to include monotherapy treatment for adults and children between the age of 6 and 17. Prior to this, it was just an adjunctive therapy.
Supernus Pharmaceuticals' pipeline should deliver upside in the years to come, too. On Dec. 6, the company reported positive results from two phase 3 studies involving SPN-812 in children with ADHD. Both studies wound up meeting their primary endpoint of a statistically significant improvement in ADHD symptoms from baseline, as measured by the ADHD Rating Scale-5. Although the magnitude of the improvement left Wall Street wanting more, Supernus nevertheless looks to be in good shape with regard to getting SPN-812 to market within the next two years.
Finally, the valuation is right. Supernus' PEG ratio of 0.53 suggests it's quite cheap relative to its growth potential. While not without pipeline risks, Supernus Pharmaceuticals looks to offer intriguing value here.
Check out the latest Supernus earnings call transcript.
California cannabis champion
Keith Speights (Origin House): While Origin House is technically headquartered in Canada, the company's primary focus is on the California cannabis market. And that focus has paid off. Origin House was recently named to the 2019 OTCQX Best 50, which ranks the top-performing stocks on the OTCQX Best Market. Its stock ranked as the second best-performing stock of all on the OTCQX over-the-counter market with a gain of nearly 59% last year.
Origin House has also gotten off to a rocking start in 2019, with its share price soaring nearly 50% year to date. Despite the big gains, though, the company's market cap still stands well below $500 million. I think Origin House can move a lot higher.
The company is the leading distributor of legal cannabis products in California, reaching roughly 70% of the dispensaries in the state. Origin House also markets its own line of brands and is expanding its lineup. Even though the California recreational marijuana market is huge, it's still only in the early stages. As the market matures and more dispensaries are licensed, Origin House should have tremendous growth opportunities.
While California is the company's primary focus, it isn't Origin House's only focus. The company hopes to bring its brands to Canada with an acquisition of vape retailer 180 Smoke a key part of that strategy. Origin House also has plans to replicate its distribution and brands model that's worked well in California in other states in the future.
I picked Origin House as one of the top marijuana stocks to buy in 2019. My view hasn't changed -- and I think it's one of the top small-cap stocks in any industry to buy right now as well.