It has been a couple ugly days for smaller names as the Russell 2000 (down 3.29%) and Russell Microcap (down 4.12%) indices have seen their April turn negative. Year to date, though, both are in decent shape (Russell 2000 up 11.08%, Russell Microcap up 17.82%). Value continues to lead this year in Smallville, however; the Russell 2000 Value Index (up 19.37%) is beating Russell 2000 Growth (up 3.43%) by 1,594 basis points, while Russell Microcap Value (up 24.62%) is outpacing Russell Microcap Growth (up 9.26%) by 1,536 basis points.
Tuesday's action was tough on a handful of my smaller names. NL Industries (NL) (down 11.67%) has been on fire overall, recently hitting a two-and-a-half-year high. Shares are still up 55% year to date and the company hiked its quarterly dividend 50% to six cents a share in March. NL has long been an interesting, albeit somewhat confusing sum-of-the-parts story, with interests in a few publicly traded names. It stands to reason that Tuesday's drop might have been due to action in those owned names. Indeed, CompX International (CIX) (NL owns 83%, or 10.8 million shares) fell 7.56% Tuesday. That puts NL's current CIX stake at $228 million. Kronos Worldwide (KRO) (NL owns 35.2 million shares) fell 2%, putting NL's stake at $593 million. Lastly, Valhi Inc. (VHI) (NL owns 1.2 million shares) was flat on the day; NL's stake in VHI is now worth about $30 million.
The total drop in market cap of NL's ownership in those stocks was about $32 million; NL's own market cap fell $48 million. Perhaps there was also some profit taking occurring. NL's market cap is $410 million; the market value of its stakes in CIX, KRO, and VHI is $851 million. That is quite a discount, but it's complicated.
Elsewhere, other stocks I own that fell more than the markets on Tuesday included Fossil Group (FOSL) (down 6.65%), Manchester United (MANU) (down 6%) and Xerox Holdings (XRX) (down 6.36%); the latter is a member of my 2021 Tax Loss Selling Recovery Portfolio.
Deciding that I do want exposure to the Topps initial public offering (IPO), I took advantage of the 9% intraday drop in Mudrick Capital (MUDS) and took a position. MUDS, which will be taking Topps public sometime in the second or third quarter and recovered somewhat to close Tuesday down 3.33%. This is a position that I plan on scaling into over time. Read the take on Topps of Real Money's Tim Collins; Tim has an interesting trading angle on MUDS, one that you'd likely never read about here. (Tim is way smarter than this simpleton value investor will ever be.)