Small Growth Stocks Look Cheap

04/09/2008 12:00 am EST

Focus: STOCKS

James Oberweis

President, Oberweis Asset Management, Inc.

James Oberweis, editor of the Oberweis Report, says small growth stocks are as cheap now as they were in 1990 or 2003, and he has two new recommendations.

The last time we saw [price/earnings ratios on high growth small cap stocks] this low was five years ago, in April 2003. From January through mid-March 2003, even though valuations were cheap, the market didn't budge. Then suddenly the bulls took the reigns and the market took off. In a period of eight months, our model portfolio had gained 98%.

Before that, consider the later months of 1990, [when] small-growth stocks were trading at exceptionally low P/Es and were universally unloved.

The following excerpt from the November 1990 issue of The Oberweis Reportsays it all: "Small growth stocks have now been out of favor for over seven years, and virtually all sentiment readings were showing near record highs in bearish expectations. When so many are bearish, there may be little selling pressure left and the market could even go up."

Sound familiar? Like 1990, small-growth stocks have been out of favor for a long time, and prices are far off their highs. We have also just completed one of the worst quarters ever for small growth stocks. The debacle of 1990 had a happy ending. In 1991, we posted one of our best years ever, with a gain of 111%.

We suspect that March 2008 will, in retrospect, be remembered as an incredible time to have bought small-cap growth equities.

Life Partners Holdings (Nasdaq: LPHI) is the world's oldest and one of the most active companies in the United States engaged in the secondary market for life insurance, commonly called "life settlements."

Since inception, Life Partners has completed over 50,000 transactions for its worldwide client base of over 18,000 high-net-worth individuals and institutions in connection with the purchase of over 5,700 policies totaling over $1 billion in face value.

In the company's latest reported fourth quarter, sales increased approximately 86% to $18 million from $9.7 million in the fourth quarter of last year. Life Partners reported earnings of 39 cents per share in the latest reported fourth quarter versus 18 cents in the same quarter last year. (It closed below $19 Monday-Editor.)

Global Traffic Network (Nasdaq: GNET) provides traffic and news information reports to radio and television stations in international markets. The company is the largest provider of traffic information reports to radio and television stations in Australia and Canada. GNET derives substantially all of its revenue from the sale to advertisers of commercial advertising inventory embedded within these information reports.

In the company's latest reported second quarter, sales increased approximately 60% to $13.2 million from $8.2 million in the second quarter of last year. GNET reported earnings of six cents per share in the latest reported second quarter versus breakeven in the same quarter of last year. (It closed below $9 Tuesday-Editor.)

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