This article is part of our Rising Star Portfolios series.

Today, my search continues for some great small- and mid-cap stocks to add to my real-money "multivitamin" portfolio. Yesterday, I revealed the results for this month's Foolish 8 screen and came up with 11 candidates. Today, we turn to the Modified Foolish 8.


Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?
For the first time ever, not a single stock passed the Mod 8 screen this month. I had a feeling this could happen, because only one or two stocks have passed in recent months.

For a refresher, here's a summary of the changes I made to turn the Foolish 8 into the Mod 8:

  • Raised the revenue cap to $900 million or less.
  • Took the $25 million limit off the daily dollar volume requirement, making it simply $1 million or greater.
  • Loosened the relative strength requirement to 50 or greater.
  • Required not only positive cash flow, but also positive free cash flow.
  • Required a price-to-free-cash-flow-to-cash-flow growth (PFCF-to-FCF growth) multiple of one or less. I have tweaked the screen to use actual FCF growth over the past year.
  • Required greater than 15% return on equity over the past four quarters, and for each of the past three fiscal years.

According to the independent American Association of Individual Investors, or AAII, the Mod 8 has had average annual returns of 15% from January 1998 through October 2011. The S&P 500 averaged 1.9% annually over that period. (Disclaimer: The AAII methodology involves buying a stock the month it appears on a screen and selling when it's off -- something we'd never do. Still, this performance points to the screen's strong potential.)

LSB Industries managed to pass last time, but this month...nothing. Here's a look at some that almost made it, and which criterion they failed.


Market Cap (millions)


Missed Criterion

lululemon athletica (Nasdaq: LULU)


Textiles, Apparel and
Luxury Goods

P/FCF-to-FCF Growth ratio

MercadoLibre (Nasdaq: MELI)


Internet Software
and Services

P/FCF-to-FCF Growth ratio

IPG Photonics (Nasdaq: IPGP)


Electronic Equipment, Instruments and Components

Return On Equity requirement

Nanometrics (Nasdaq: NANO)


Semiconductors and
 Semiconductor Equipment

Return On Equity requirement

3D Systems (NYSE: DDD)


Computers and Peripherals

Return On Equity requirement

CARBO Ceramics (NYSE: CRR)


Energy Equipment and Services

P/FCF-to-FCF Growth ratio

LSB Industries



P/FCF-to-FCF Growth ratio

Source: S&P Capital IQ.

MercadoLibre and Nanometrics were among the 11 that made yesterday's Foolish 8.

Onward and upward
So nothing this month from the Modified Foolish 8, but the small caps that passed yesterday's Foolish 8 screen are still in play for me. I'll soon report back on whether any of them are a good fit for the portfolio. So far, I've bought four stocks off these two screens: LSB Industries, lululemon athletica, II-VI, and Kulicke & Soffa (Nasdaq: KLIC).

If you're interested in keeping up with any of these companies, just add them to your free watchlist -- and you'll gain access to The Motley Fool special report "Six Stocks to Watch from David and Tom Gardner."

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.