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 March 20, 2015 - 11:36 AM EDT
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Top Basic Materials Small-Cap Star for March 20 is Westmoreland Coal Company (WLB)

Investing in small-cap materials stocks can be tricky. The direction of the broader economy often plays a big role in their success, and notoriously unpredictable factors like mining output or commodity prices can often be key to maintaining margins. But equities.com's Small-Cap Stars, our proprietary list of those small-cap companies with metrics that are typically the most indicative of future success, gives investors a way to identify those companies that are best-positioned to ride out the tough times and make major gains in the good times.

Here's a look at the five top-performing basic materials Small-Cap Stars:

Westmoreland Coal Company (WLB)

Westmoreland Coal Company gained 8.05% to $29.25. The gains came on a volume of 417,177 shares against an average daily volume of 142,360 shares. Westmoreland Coal Company has had a trading range from $45.19 to $23.13 over the last year, it has a 50-day SMA of $28.60, and a 200-day SMA of $35.22.

Westmoreland Coal Co is an energy company. The Company's main activities are the production and sale of coal from its mines in Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota and Texas; and the ownership of power plants in North Carolina.

Parker Drilling Co. (PKD)

Parker Drilling Co. gained 7.07% to $3.33. The gains came on a volume of 1,808,010 shares against an average daily volume of 692,260 shares. Parker Drilling Co. has had a trading range from $7.39 to $2.51 over the last year, its P/E ratio is 16.4, it has a 50-day SMA of $3.04, and a 200-day SMA of $4.66.

Parker Drilling Co provides contract drilling and drilling-related services and rental tools. Its business segments include Rental Tools, U.S. Barge Drilling, U.S. Drilling, International Drilling, and Technical Services.

Lapolla Industries Inc (LPAD)

Lapolla Industries Inc gained 5% to $0.42. The gains came on a volume of 22,930 shares against an average daily volume of 18,431 shares. Lapolla Industries Inc has had a trading range from $0.65 to $0.28 over the last year, it has a 50-day SMA of $0.38, and a 200-day SMA of $0.43.

LaPolla Industries Inc is a manufacturer and distributor of foam, coatings, and equipment, focused on developing and commercializing foam and coatings targeted at commercial and industrial and residential applications.

Tesco Corp. (TESO)

Tesco Corp. gained 4.67% to $11.20. The gains came on a volume of 558,928 shares against an average daily volume of 416,901 shares. Tesco Corp. has had a trading range from $22.50 to $9.53 over the last year, its P/E ratio is 15.4, it has a 50-day SMA of $10.81, and a 200-day SMA of $16.42.

Tesco Corp is engaged in designing, manufacturing and service delivery of technology based solutions for the upstream energy industry. Its products and service offerings consist of equipment sales and services to drilling contractors.

Par Petroleum Corp (PARR)

Par Petroleum Corp gained 3.26% to $22.47. The gains came on a volume of 296,317 shares against an average daily volume of 72,173 shares. Par Petroleum Corp has had a trading range from $22.10 to $12.53 over the last year, it has a 50-day SMA of $18.52, and a 200-day SMA of $17.53.

Par Petroleum Corporation is a diversified energy holding company. The Company operates an integrated sourcing, marketing, transportation and distribution business focused on energy commodities, mainly crude oil.

Equities.com's Small-Cap Stars - Stocks Made From Sterner Stuff

Investing in small-cap materials stocks is a high-risk, high-reward proposition much of the time. Often, the best way to approach the sector is simply limiting the number of misses as much as possible. And that's what the equities.com Small-Cap Stars system does.

By looking at past success stories among basic materials small caps, the Small-Cap Stars system can identify what level several dozen metrics were at among those successful companies and determine which of those factors were the most predictive of future success. We then precisely construct a carefully balanced screen through advanced statistical regression that will identify those companies that currently have the most in common with those that succeeded in the past immediately before those stocks took off.

Among the traits our system found the most revealing of a strong materials company were a low ratio of enterprise value to sales, a low effective tax rate, and a high ROE-cost of equity.

All data provided by QuoteMedia and was accurate as of 4:30 pm ET.

Source: Equities.com News (March 20, 2015 - 11:36 AM EDT)

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