Light in the tunnel

As the mega-tech trade rips once again in after-hours trading, turning the screws on those hungering for some sort of market rotation, the robust year-to-date trend of the big getting bigger, continues. And how big they are. Indeed if you peel the S&P 500 index by market cap, the performance results speak for themselves. The big up, the rest down. And the worst of the rest, are those in the bottom hundred; the sub $9bn market cap. For them, 2020 has been ten rounds with a het up Mike Tyson in his blistering 1980s pomp. Brutal. Whilst many stocks have participated in the rally, many remain punch drunk. And yet, as the economy heals, as vaccine developments flavour the headlines through the dusty days of summer, and Congress unloads ever more stimulus, there is potentially a tasty trade in the small and mid-cap space. Companies where COVID has decimated revenues, but where share prices betray any sort of hope of economic normalisation, where valuations tell a sorry tale of what has happened; but not, what might happen. As restrictions ease, so too the pressure on businesses relents. Activity picks up, headcount clicks higher. Activity may well return to levels well below prior peaks, but given the bulldozing of share prices, any sort of pick up will potentially fire an explosive re-rating. Companies that have been hit between the eyes, such as: US Foods, a supplier of edibles to restaurants; or Six Flags Entertainment, a purveyor of amusement parks; or CDK, a provider of technology to auto dealers – such stocks are primed for a re-rating as investors look beyond the near term, and see the potential for a shady normalisation in 2021. Such a normalisation may seem hopeful in the context of soaring case counts, but share prices are already there. Down. Priced for things as they are. But what if, what if things get better. Just a bit better. What then?