3 Small-Cap Growth Stocks to Buy Now

Growth stocks have been excellent performers during the COVID-19-pandemic-driven recession and will likely continue to be so even in the eventual economic recovery. When the economy began to emerge from the recession and started growing again, small-cap stocks responded to the positive environment quicker and grew faster than large-cap stocks. This is evidenced by the iShares Russell 2000 Growth ETF’s (IWO) 50.2% returns over the past year versus the S&P 500’s 16.6% gains over the same period…

Small-cap companies experienced a surge in demand for their products and services amid the pandemic and digital revolution tied to remote working. This is likely to continue. Industries such as  e-commerce, telemedicine, software applications and communication, which were some of the most obvious beneficiaries of a stay-at-home culture, were already in play in the pre-pandemic world. But the COVID-19-induced acceleration cleared the market of companies that may have been unprepared or unwilling to adapt to the changes, thereby creating greater shelf space for ‘survivors within these industries.

Investors  that are concerned about these stocks’ the lofty valuations should remember that the valuation of a company is derived  from discounting future cash flows. Hence, small-cap companies like QAD Inc. (QADA – Get Rating), A10 Networks, Inc. (ATEN – Get Rating) and Alpha Pro Tech, Ltd. (APT – Get Rating) that have the ability to generate significant cash flows in the future deserve to trade at a higher multiple. So,  it’s worth paying the premium.

QAD Inc. (QADA – Get Rating)

QADA provides cloud-based enterprise software solutions to global manufacturing companies in the automotive, life sciences, consumer products, food and beverage, high technology and industrial products industries. The company’s services include customer and service management, manufacturing, enterprise asset management, supply chain execution, financial solutions, demand and supply chain planning and business intelligence.

In  January, QADA announced that it had completed the acquisition of a German-based strategic sourcing and supplier management solution provider, Allocation Network GmbH. The strategic acquisition should  play a key role in QADA’s cloud growth initiatives as well as strengthen its overall product offerings.

QADA’s EBITDA has increased at a CAGR of 9.5% over the past three years, while its levered free cash flow rose at a CAGR of 6.3% over the same period.

The company’s investment in sales and marketing has paid off well because  it witnessed sustained improvement in its bottom-line performance. QADA’s subscription revenues have increased 23.5% year-over-year to $33.76 million in the fiscal third quarter ended October 31, 2020. Its adjusted EBITDA has increased 62% from the year-ago value to $9.21 million, while its EPS improved 1500% over the three-month period to $0.16.

Analysts expect QADA’s EPS to rise at a CAGR of 10% over the next five years. A consensus EPS estimate of $0.21 in the current quarter (ending January 31) represents a 90.9% rise from its  year-ago value. The company has an impressive earnings surprise history; it beat the Street’s EPS estimates in three  of the trailing four quarters. QADA has gained 39.2% over the past year.

QADA’s strong fundamentals are reflected in its POWR Ratings. The stock has an overall rating of B, which equates to Buy in our proprietary rating system. The POWR Ratings are calculated by considering 118 different factors with each factor weighted to an optimal degree.

QADA has an A grade of for Growth and Quality, and B grade for Stability. In the 107-stock Software – Application Industry, it is ranked #15.

In total, we rate QADA on eight different levels. Beyond what we stated above, we have also given QADA grades for Momentum, Value and Sentiment. Get all QADA’s ratings here.

A10 Networks, Inc. (ATEN – Get Rating)

ATEN provides secure application services and solutions for on-premises, multi-cloud and edge-cloud environments on  a large scale. The company’s customers include cloud providers, web-scale companies, service providers, government organizations and enterprises. Its products are available in a range of form factors, such as optimized hardware appliances, bare metal software, virtual appliances and cloud-native software.

ATEN’s total assets have increased at a CAGR of…

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