In 20 years of following the equity markets on a daily basis, I’ve never seen such tremendous volatility in the main market averages. Clearly, this is a sign that the stock market is suffering from an identity crisis and doesn’t really know what to make of the future.
I suppose you can argue that the current environment is a trader’s paradise, particularly if you’re good at trading futures. The large price swings in stocks aren’t very healthy and they serve to illustrate that investment risk remains very high.
One thing that is exciting in this market is seeing a company report great financial results. Back in April, I wrote in this column about a small company called is Fuqi International, Inc. (NASDAQ/FUQI). This unappreciated micro-cap is a designer and wholesale distributor of jewelry in China. Based in Shenzhen, the company currently sells some 20,000 unique jewelry products and has a nationwide distribution network with Chinese retailers. In the city of Shenzhen, in southern China, the company has a large-scale production base that includes a modern factory of more than 53,000 square feet, senior design, sales and marketing personnel, and more than 600 employees.
This company just reported financial results that blew away consensus analyst estimates. According to Fuqi, its revenues for the third quarter of 2008 grew a whopping 159% to almost ninety-four million dollars, from just over thirty-six million dollars in the third quarter of 2007. Increased sales volumes and higher wholesale selling prices were reasons for the growth.
The company generated solid net income in the third quarter of 2008, growing 141% to $6.5 million, or $0.31 per diluted share, up nicely from net income of $2.7 million, or $0.21 per diluted share, generated in the comparable quarter.
Fuqi finished the quarter with just over fifty-six million dollars in cash and no debt. The company also raised its expectations for full-year 2008 revenues to between three hundred and forty-five million dollars and three hundred and fifty million dollars, with anticipated net income of almost twenty-six million dollars to twenty-six and a half million dollars. Current estimates for 2009 total revenues are over four hundred and fifty million dollars.
So, in a marketplace that’s gyrating on fear and uncertainty, it’s great to find a company out there whose business is doing great. The stock market isn’t much interested in growth stocks right now; it’s still in confidence crisis mode. What this creates, however, are real values in the marketplace — values that I have no doubt will one day pay off.