These Are A Few Of Our Favorite Screens

January Round Table

Our Round Table, a monthly session featuring our favorite stock ideas right now in true round table fashion will be held on Tuesday. January 31 at 8 PM ET.


On the eve of Groundhog Day Eve, we’ll return to a tradition of visiting and reviewing a Few of Our Favorite Screens.

Stocks Likely To Be Discussed

  • Dollar Tree Stores (DLTR)
  • NIC (EGOV)
  • Under Armour (UAA)

These Are A Few Of Our Favorite Screens

The stocks selected for this program over the last six years have collectively beaten the Wilshire 5000. We seek actionable opportunities to study and pursue.

The round table knights include small company champion and Mid-Michigan Director Ken Kavula; Cy (MythBuster) Lynch; pharmaceutical scientist Hugh McManus; and Manifest Investing’s Mark Robertson who will analyze their favorite stocks. Guest damsels have included Anne Manning, Susan Maciolek and Kim Butcher. Guest knights who have jousted include Nicholas Stratigos, Herb Lemcool and Matt Spielman

Ivory Soap Screen

We feature this one during most Round Tables. It’s still Mark’s favorite as it focuses screening targets on the most important characteristics — a combination of quality and return forecast — seeking the best companies at the best prices. As shown, enter 99.44 as the minimum Manifest Investing rank and we deliver a short list of high potential stock studies.

Rt ivory soap 20170130

Cy’s Strong Workhorse Screen

This multi-purpose screen accomplishes several things, including an emphasis on that middle (medium-sized) company portion of your portfolios that supports size diversification. As he often reminds us, Cy prefers companies with high quality (excellent or greater than 80) AND high financial strength (A+ or greater than 80 or 90). In this case, he’s also moderated the return forecast target a bit (MIPAR +4.5%, as shown) in order to identify some solid returns from some companies in the steady growth segment (7-12% growth) that some of us might refer to as the “workhorse zone.”

Rt workhorses 20170130

Kurt’s Sweet Spot & High Quality Screen

This one might be easiest — and among the more effective — of all. Kurt provides a continuously running screening result as one of our menu items. Click on Research > Companies and you get a current listing of potentially compelling studies.

Rt sweet spot quality 20170130

(Broad Assets) Launch Pad Concept Screen

This approach was explored in our Escape Velocity cover story (May 2014) where we attempted to explain some of the success of our 3-time group champions, Broad Assets of St. Louis. Part of the success was attributed to stocks like Lannett (LCI) which delivered massive returns, apparently operating near the point in a companies life cycle where EPS first break through into positive numbers and early stage growth can be powerful.

So three elements are probably important:

  • Double digit growth — to isolate newer, promising companies with higher growth expectations.
  • Exorbitant Slope on the EPS graphic. We screened for 2017 EPS vs. 2016 EPS here. The average is 11.4%. (FYI)
  • Price Explosion Potential — The 1-year total return via ACE forecasts. The median forecast is 7.9%.

This could be a source of “different” ideas and would be considered part of a speculative component, by many.

Rt launch pad 20170130

Hugh’s 52-Week Low Proximity Screen

You can read more about this approach here and here.

Hugh scans a relatively short list of vetted companies and pounces on them when they get within 20% of 52-week lows — so long as their good/excellent characteristics persist.

Rt hugh ann low 20170130

Ken’s Quality Small Companies

Ken Kavula reminds us that we don’t have to compromise on quality when it comes to maintaining the small company component. This dashboard, inspired by the Forbes Best Small Companies, and published by Manifest Investing back around Halloween 2016 continues to flag opportunities. It has been sorted by Quality (Descending) and a number of sweet spot (and Speculative) opportunities are displayed.

Rt small companies 20170130

Global Treasures

From January:

During his webcast on 1/10/2017, DoubleLine’s Jeff Gundlach suggested a search for equity opportunities in international baskets/markets and specifically called out India and Japan’s NIKKEI as potential targets.

We’ve been noticing a certain trend, alongside Mr. Gundlach, in recent weeks as the stocks featured in our Fave Five have been “dominated” by non-U.S. companies. Six of the last nine new editions to our Fave Five tracking portfolio (since 11/11/2016) have been ex-U.S. stocks.

IShares MSCI EAFE ETF (EFA) offers broad, market-cap-weighted exposure to large- and mid-cap stocks across 21 developed markets outside the United States and Canada. Holdings include Nestle (NSRGY), Roche (RHHBY), Novartis (NVS), Toyota (TMC), Siemens (SIEGY), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Bayer (BAYRY). As the accompanying chart shows, this index (orange area) peaked 10 years and has experienced its own lost decade since the Great Recession.

If you can discover one of these with strengthening fundamentals and you believe that the global recession will abate eventually, there could be considerable opportunity here.

S&P “Strong Buy” (5-Star) Long & Short

This screen is limited to S&P 5-Star qualifiers and is sorted by price-to-fair value (P/FV) ascending. The 1-year total return is included for a look at short term expectations.

Rt sp 5star screen 20170131

50 Best Small Companies (2015)

This Week at MANIFEST

It’s a busy week — starting with closing out our selections for the Manifest Investing Best Small Company list … to the rescheduled Round Table on Tuesday night … to spending some quality time with friends in Seattle at their annual conference for long-term investors.

A couple of weeks ago, we were advised by Forbes that there would be no 37th Annual List of Best Small Companies. So, after 36 years and the reality that this list has provided a number of actionable and rewarding situations over the last 20 years or so, we’re left to hope that it’s a one year hiatus. The Forbes list has always been a favorite and we’ve reminded investors to “trick or treat” around Halloween every year. “It was a sad day in the Kavula household.” — Ken Kavula.

So — while remaining relatively faithful to the Forbes methodology — we decided to generate our own. We’ll do a full narrative and feature this as our cover story for November, but for now, here are the highlights and the 50 Best Small Companies by Manifest Investing.



  • SMALL Annual Revenues less than ONE BILLION
  • Sales growth >= 10%
  • Annual Revenues > $50 million
  • Stock Price > $5
  • BEST Ranked by Highest Quality (Percentile ranked composite of Financial Strength, EPS Stability and relative Sales Growth Forecast and Profitability)
  • No Asset-Based Business from Financial Sector

Published Dashboard for 50 Companies:

Manifest Investing 50 Best Small Companies (As Inspired by Forbes)

Three Stooge Group in the Windy City

Photo Credit: twm1340 via Compfight cc

It’s that time of year. It’s in the air. You might even say it’s in the wind.

Whether we wrap the theme around March Madness or simply the advent of educational event season, we spent the weekend in Chicago at an investing conference developed and delivered by a coalition of local investment education volunteers. The Chicagoland Investment Conference was well done and kudos to the team. Ken Kavula and I are honored to be invited and included in the festivities.

Howard “Bunny” Mack. Photo Credit: Deb Severson

Speaking of madness, I’m not sure we can take the master of ceremonies (Howard Mack, President – Chicagoland Chapter) all too seriously when he’s trotting around wearing Trix rabbit ears (General Mills presented at the event) while channeling Playboy bunnies and referring to the closing Stock Talk panel participants as “Three Stooges” but he did. Seriously, the crowd seemed to enjoy the banter and discussions as Ken Kavula, Mark Robertson and Doug Gerlach shared some thoughts and stock study ideas to take home.

Ken Kavula reminded the audience of successful selections made at one of the inaugural Stock Talk panels at the Chicago National Convention for NAIC held in Schaumburg a few years ago. See BINC Stock Talk 2008

Most of all, this Stock Talk panel reminds and underscores why-we-gather and emphasizes the power of what-we-do gathered in community, sharing and exploring investment ideas.

Doug Gerlach, Ken Kavula and Mark Robertson. Photo Credit: Deb Severson

Ken’s suggestions for the audience included Mesa Labs (MLAB), NIC (EGOV) and  Aerovironment (AVAV). EGOV innovatively pursues IT projects for predominantly state (and local) government agencies — seeking to optimize and improve things like making it easier to drive away with a new driver’s license.

Doug’s study roll call included Echo Global Logistics (ECHO), Yandex (YNDX) and SodaStream (SODA) — and yes, he tied sulzer bottles into the Stooge theme. His final selection was Mistras Group (MG), a worthy engineering & construction company to study.

Any study of ECHO might also include: CH Robinson (CHRW) and Expeditor’s (EXPD).

Mark’s selections included Qualcomm (QCOM) courtesy of Houston’s Anne Manning and the Mid-Michigan Round Table (our monthly stock discovery webcast), AFLAC (AFL) and the hospitalization of the duck … and a nudge to study Cognizant Technology (CTSH) and to explore the other candidates in our Ivory Soap Stock Screen.

At the end of the day, Howard removed the rabbit ears (probably went home and tried to see if they improved his TV reception) and can rest assured that he, Dean Hartley and their Chicago team favorably affected the investing future of at least one person several times over.