With concerns over inflation, supply chain issues and the perpetual elephant in the room that is Covid-19, I think it’s wise to keep a wishlist of stocks I’d be ready to buy if the recent sag in momentum turns into a correction. Having already looked at the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250, today it’s the turn of AIM stocks.
The progress of audio equipment and software supplier Focusrite (LSE: TUNE) has been a thing to behold. In five years, the share price is up almost 900%! So much for the general belief among investors that risky AIM stocks never deliver.
A beneficiary of multiple UK lockdowns, the High Wycombe-based business now expects to report roughly £173m in revenue for the year to the end of August. That’s 33% up on the previous year. It’s also ahead of what the market was expecting.
This is not to say the £1bn cap is risk-free. In addition to being susceptible to the global shortage of semiconductors, Focusrite recently warned on “significantly higher than normal” freight and shipping costs. This makes the current P/E of 44 look very rich, in my opinion.
Yes, it may boast eight brands and a net cash position, but I feel no stock is worth buying at any price. If a market correction comes, however, I’ll be first in the queue.
Global identity specialist GB Group (LSE: GBG) is another AIM stock that has rewarded long-term holders. While unable to compete with Focusrite’s gains, the shares are still up over 175% since 2016. Again, this demonstrates how I might be able to generate above-average returns by looking for quality businesses on the junior, rather than the main, market.
I wouldn’t bet against GBG continuing to deliver. As the AIM stock highlighted in July, the huge growth in online activity should mean trading remains buoyant at each of its divisions: Identity, Location and Fraud. Indeed, the near £2bn-cap company said that it had already made a “good start” to its new financial year following record business in FY21.
At 48 times forecast earnings, however, the valuation is simply too steep for me. Regardless of whether we see a correction or not, one wrong move or unexpected headwind could see investors dash for the exits. I’d feel far happier backing up the truck when the risk/reward trade-off is more attractive.
Defensive AIM stock
A final AIM stock on my buy list in the event of a significant market wobble is CVS Group (LSE: CVSG). Having doubled in value over the last 12 months, I remain convinced the veterinary services provider is a great play on the UK’s enduring love for pets. There certainly won’t be a lack of demand considering the huge number of households that have bought a puppy, kitten or (insert animal of choice) over the last 18 months or so.
Once again, however, the valuation looks unattractive. CVSG shares trade on a forward P/E of 32. That’s still high, especially as margins in this line of work aren’t particularly large. Another potential risk here is that it may struggle to recruit the best talent to meet growth targets. I still regret not snapping up the stock back in 2019 when concerns over the shortage of suitably qualified vets following Brexit sent the share price down to just above the 400p mark.
For now, CVSG stays on my watchlist.
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Paul Summers has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Focusrite. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.