Split Guru Eyes Small Bank Buy

10/09/2015 9:00 am EST

Focus: STOCKS

Neil Macneale III

Editor, 2 for 1 Stock Split

There are still very few split announcements in the pipeline. The upside to this condition is realizing the companies that do announce a split stand out from the crowd, notes Neil Macneale, editor of 2-for-1 Stock Split Newsletter.

The two August split announcements, Skechers USA (SKX) and First Business Financial Services (FBIZ) offer a clear choice.

Skechers USA is a shoe manufacturer and retailer incorporated in 1998. It has grown to a $2 billion company in less than 20 years, so it must be doing something right.

However, its valuation numbers—a p/e of 33 and a price to book ratio of 5.6—are above average. Further, it pays no dividend.

In addition, success in this business can turn on a dime if the company gets out of touch with the latest fashions. On the other hand, First Business Financial Services is anything but a fad.

This is a very small bank holding company headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin and catering to small and medium sized businesses in the upper Midwest.

Most relevant numbers for FBIZ are quite similar or slightly better than industry averages except in one area—its debt ratios are far lower than average in its industry—indicating a very conservative approach in its business practices.

The micro-cap size of FBIZ ($200 million) puts this stock at the very edge of being too small for our 2-for-1 Index.

Trading is relatively light and the bid/ask spread can be wide as a result. This one minor negative does not deter me.

Small banks, as a group, have done very well for our portfolio in the past and losing a few pennies to the bid/ask spread is not an issue for a long-term holding.

Nonetheless, a limit order, not a market order, would be wise if you go to add this stock to your portfolio.

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