James Altucher acknowledged that most net cash stocks have high bankruptcy risk and trade for less than cash for a reason. They are susceptible to risks like fake cash, business model failure and management with no intention of returning cash to shareholders. James established eight selection criteria for his stocks in the cash index to reduce the above-mentioned risks and search for companies that could be considered possible takeover candidates.
The eight selection criteria are as follows:
1. Market capitalization less than cash
2. Debt/equity ratio less than 0.20
3. Sum of market capitalization and annual burn rate is less than cash
4. Company has turned the corner with profits or losses have narrowed at the very least
5. Reasonable belief that the sell-off in the stock was partly irrational
6. Favorable arbitrage analysis in takeover scenario
7. Insider buying
8. Institutional ownership
Taking a leaf from James' cash index, I screened for stocks with market capitalization less than cash, debt-to-equity ratio less than 20% and improved earnings or reduced losses on a trailing 12-months basis. Fifty-five stocks passed the screen with no single stock exceeding $30 million in market capitalization. Internet Patents Corp. (PTNT), which operates a patent licensing business focused on e-commerce and online insurance distribution technologies, headquartered in Sacramento, seems to be the only U.S.-based stock with a "meaningful" market capitalization of $29.5 million. According to its third quarter fiscal 2012 results release, it initiated two lawsuits against The General Automobile Insurance Services Inc. and Active Network alleging infringement of its patent in the third quarter, and it is currently reviewing and identifying other potential infringers of its portfolio of e-commerce patents.
The results from the screen do not suggest that it is viable to construct a meaningful portfolio with this strategy. Interestingly, UK's Stockopedia reported here that its stock portfolio constructed using the Cash Index returned 17.04% since its inception in December 2011, underperforming the FTSE 100 which returned 18.5% during the same period.