Small-cap stocks have put in an impressive performance this year. In fact, the Russell 2000 (RUT) has outpaced both the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and the Dow by roughly 6 and 7 percentage points, respectively, in 2013. Three low-priced securities from this outperforming sector with the potential for contrarian plays are computer concern Logitech International SA (USA) (NASDAQ:LOGI), pet pharmacy Petmed Express Inc (NASDAQ:PETS), and gun guru Sturm, Ruger & Company (NYSE:RGR). As of Wednesday's close, the market capitalizations for the companies were $1.36 billion, $334.45 million, and $1.13 billion, respectively.
Logitech International SA (USA) (NASDAQ:LOGI) has made an impressive rebound since bottoming out at an 11-year low of $6.24 in April, with the shares up more than 36%. Additionally, the equity has put in a strong performance against the SPX, and has outpaced the broad-market barometer by 25.5 percentage points throughout the past 40 sessions.
Like its blue-chip brethren Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ), sentiment among the brokerage bunch remains skeptically skewed toward this outperformer, though. In fact, all of the four analysts covering the stock have slapped it with a "hold" or worse suggestion, and the consensus 12-month price target of $7.56 stands at a discount to the equity's current perch at $8.49. LOGI could be poised to encounter some contrarian tailwinds in the near term, should any of these disbelievers follow in the footsteps of Goldman Sachs, which upped its price target for LOGI to CHF 8.50 from CHF 7.50 this morning.
Fundamentally, the company went ex-dividend today in the amount of CHF 0.21 per share.
Petmed Express Inc (NASDAQ:PETS) is another stock that has proven its might on the charts, yet remains plagued by skepticism. Technically, the shares have tacked on an impressive 49% this year to trade at $16.59, and bested the SPX by more than 31 percentage points throughout the same time frame. After hitting a two-year high of $17.75 in late July thanks to a well-received earnings report, the equity pulled back to the $15 mark and bounced, suggesting this formerly resistant layer could now be emerging as support.
Option players have been wary of PETS' ability to sustain this upward trajectory, though, per data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). Specifically, the stock's 50-day put/call volume ratio on these exchanges sits at 1.53 -- in the 75th percentile of its annual range, meaning puts have been bought to open over calls at an accelerated clip in recent months. As such, the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.37 ranks higher than 83% of similar readings taken in the past year, indicating a put-skewed bias among short-term speculators. Going forward, an unwinding of these pessimistically aligned options could translate into a contrarian boon.
Finally, Sturm, Ruger & Company (NYSE:RGR) has enjoyed a steady lift higher from its 20-month moving average since February 2009. In 2013, this withstanding technical tenacity has translated into a year-to-date gain of almost 27%. What's more, the stock tagged the $59.74 mark this morning -- its loftiest perch of the year. At last check, though, the equity was lingering near $57.36.
Investors remain bearish toward RGR. Short interest rose 7% during the last two reporting periods, and now accounts for nearly one-third of the stock's available float. Plus, it would take almost four weeks to cover these shorted shares, at RGR's average daily trading volume. Simply stated, should the security continue to run up the charts, there is an ample amount of sideline cash available to help fuel its fire.
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