Small Caps

Shares of smaller companies with a market capitalization of less than $2 billion


Author: Shalin Mandhane
Shalin Mandhane
Shalin Mandhane
Reviewed By: Parul Gupta
Parul Gupta
Parul Gupta
Working as a Chief Editor, customer support, and content moderator at Wall Street Oasis.
Last Updated:March 20, 2024

What Is a Small-Cap Stock?

Small-cap stocks refer to the shares of smaller companies with a market capitalization of less than $2 billion.

Major institutional investors sometimes ignore small-cap stocks. Still, they provide enormous potential for individual investors to make significant returns, in contrast with large-size stocks, which are usually well-established and have a lengthy history of consistent development. 

These companies are typically in the early stages of growth and have the potential to grow at a much faster pace than their larger counterparts.

However, because of their constrained resources, reduced liquidity, and more volatility, investing in small company firms might be riskier than investing in large market firms.

Nevertheless, small-size stocks can provide a high potential for development despite these obstacles and can be a significant addition to a portfolio of investments.

They expose investors to new and developing businesses and may be an excellent source of diversification because small-size stocks often have a weaker connection with the overall market.

Additionally, small-cap firms might allow investors to invest in businesses that have yet to be well-known in the market but have the potential to take the world by storm.

Key Takeaways

  • Small-cap stocks are shares of companies with a market capitalization of less than $2 billion.
  • Small-cap companies are typically in their early growth stages and have the potential to grow at a faster rate than larger companies.
  • Investing in small-cap stocks can be riskier due to factors such as limited resources, reduced liquidity, and higher volatility compared to larger firms.
  • Small-cap stocks can serve as a valuable addition to an investment portfolio, offering diversification benefits as they often have a weaker correlation with the overall market.

Features of Small-Caps shares

These stocks are often considered high-risk, high-reward investment opportunities.

In this article, we'll look more closely at the characteristics of small-capitalization companies and why some investors might find them attractive investment opportunities.

1. Potential for growth

The possibility for growth is one of the main advantages of investing in small-sized firms.

Compared to larger, more established enterprises, smaller businesses have more significant expansion opportunities and are better able to adjust and modify their company plans in reaction to market circumstances. 

Hence, smaller businesses can be a desirable choice for investors looking for long-term growth due to the potential for faster development and more significant returns.

2. Volatility

These stocks can see larger price changes in a short period than large-cap equities, which are often considered less volatile. 

This has both good and bad implications for investing in smaller businesses. 

On the plus side, such stocks enjoy an unexpected rise in popularity or success, leading to significant gains quickly. 

On the downside, if market circumstances change or the firm encounters unanticipated setbacks, these stocks will likely see significant losses in value.

3. Liquidity

Liquidity becomes a crucial factor to consider while investing in small-sized companies. 

It may be harder to purchase or sell small-cap shares at the right price since these equities may not be as liquid as large-cap ones.

This may be an issue for shareholders searching for a speedy means to sell their shares or a cheap way to purchase them. 

This can also be advantageous for long-term investors looking to purchase shares at a discount and hold onto them for a long time.

4. Diversification

A portfolio of investments can be diversified by investing in small-cap stocks. Investors can lower the risk of their whole portfolio by investing in several businesses in various marketplaces and industries.

This is because small-cap equities frequently have a low correlation with large-cap stocks, which means that their performance is not strongly associated with that of bigger businesses.


Diversification can act as a buffer against market downturns and help maintain an investment portfolio's diversity and balance.

5. Research and due diligence

Buying small-cap stocks requires more study and due diligence than investing in large-cap companies. This is because such firms are frequently newer and may have a short performance history. 

Before purchasing shares in a small-sized company, investors should thoroughly investigate the company's financial standing and stability. Examining financial documents, reading analyst reports, and engaging with management and subject-matter specialists may all be necessary.

6. Potential to unravel opportunities

The possibility of untapped investment possibilities is another benefit of buying these stocks. Smaller businesses could be neglected or undervalued since the investing community has not given them as much attention. 

Investors prepared to do their homework and locate undervalued jewels in the small-cap market may be presented with opportunities.

Myths associated with investing in small-cap equities

Here are a few of the most widespread misconceptions regarding buying such stocks.

1) Myth: The only people who should invest in small-cap companies (SCCs) are high-risk ones.

Reality: Small-cap stocks can provide long-term growth even if they tend to be more volatile than large-cap equities.

These stocks can be viable investments for short-term and long-term gains because the degree of risk involved depends on personal risk tolerance and investment objectives.

2) Myth: Small-cap equities are too illiquid to be suitable for investment.

Reality: These stocks are frequently less liquid than large-cap stocks, although this only sometimes implies that they are wholly illiquid. 

In actuality, many small-sized companies are traded on significant exchanges and may be purchased and sold similarly to other equities.

Investors should be aware of the possible liquidity concerns when investing in these stocks because the degree of liquidity will depend on the individual company and its market capitalization.

3) Myth: Small-cap stocks are excessively speculative.

Reality: It's crucial to remember that not all small-cap stocks are speculative, even if specific equities might be more speculative than large-cap companies. Many small-sized companies are well-established corporations with successful track records.


The secret to investing in such stocks is to do your homework and due diligence to find businesses poised for success and development.

4) Myth: Only short-term investments are appropriate for small-cap stocks.

Reality: Last but not least, some people think that these stocks are only appropriate for making short-term investments. That is untrue. 

SCCs can see significant price swings in a short period, but for investors prepared to hang onto their shares for the long haul, they can also offer the possibility of long-term gain. 

The secret is to have a well-diversified investment portfolio that contains both short-term and long-term assets. You should also routinely check your portfolio's performance to ensure it reaches your investing objectives.

Advantages of investing in small-cap shares

Although investing in these shares can be risky, it can sometimes provide huge profits. This is due to the inherent value and advantages of buying such stocks. 

The following are compelling reasons to consider incorporating these shares into your portfolio:

1. High growth potential

Small-cap equities may have more room for growth than larger, established businesses. This indicates that if the business's financial performance improves, there might be significant capital appreciation.

2. Diversification

Investment in smaller companies can help a portfolio diversify because their performance frequently differs from that of larger, more established firms. This can enhance total returns and reduce portfolio risk.

3. Attractive valuations

Institutional investors sometimes overlook small-sized firms, which can result in more enticing values. This might provide investors the chance to invest in these businesses for less.

4. Opportunity for an early investment

Buying these stocks might allow you to invest in a business when it is still in its early stages and has a low market capitalization but excellent growth potential. Investors can benefit from the company's expansion as a result of this.

5. Increased potential for undervaluation

Small-cap firms frequently have low market values because of their small size and low visibility. Investors can invest in these businesses at a discount as a result. With the possibility of considerable capital growth, the market finally understands its total value.

6. Higher risk, higher reward

These stocks are generally considered to be higher risk than large-cap stocks, but this also means that there is the potential for higher returns. Investors willing to accept higher levels of risk may find these stocks an attractive investment opportunity.

Limitations of investing in small-cap stocks

Though it is a high-risk, high-reward game, investing in these stocks has disadvantages.

Some limitations are

1. Higher volatility

These stocks can see more remarkable changes in price over shorter periods than more prominent, established corporations. 

The underlying worth of these enterprises may be challenging to ascertain because of the heightened volatility, which can also put investors under more stress.

2. Lack of liquidity

Compared to significant, more established firms, smaller firms can have lower levels of liquidity, making it more challenging to acquire or sell shares when necessary. Wider bid-ask spreads and higher transaction costs may follow from this.

3. Limited financial resources

SCCs often need more financial resources, making it challenging to endure economic downturns or pursue growth opportunities. This increased financial risk can lead to increased uncertainty for investors.

4. Reduced visibility

SCCs often need more market visibility, making it easier for investors to obtain accurate and up-to-date information about the company's financial performance and prospects.

5. Poor management

SCCs are often run by inexperienced management teams, increasing the risk of poor decision-making and mismanagement. This can negatively impact the company's financial performance and put investor returns at risk.

6. Higher fraud risk

SCCs are often less regulated and subject to less scrutiny than larger, established companies, which can increase the risk of fraud and other financial mismanagement.

Small Vs. Mid Vs. Large-caps

Stocks are classified based on market capitalization into three main categories: Small, Mid, and Large.

The following are the key differences between the three:

Differences Between Small, Mid, and Large Cap Stocks

Small-Cap Stocks Mid-Cap Stocks Large-Cap Stocks
  • Companies with a market value of under $2 billion.
  • Stocks classified as mid-cap have a market valuation between $2 billion and $10 billion.
  • Stocks with a market value of over $10 billion are considered large-cap stocks.
  • SCCs often offer greater growth potential but tend to be more volatile and more likely to fail.
  • Mid-cap stocks are viewed as offering a balance between risk and return.
  • Large-cap stocks offer greater stability and reduced volatility, and less growth opportunity.
  • *Examples of such stocks in the current market are Ebix, Griffon Corp., Dycom Industries, etc.
  • *Examples of such stocks in the current market are Ambarella, Clover Health Investments, Stitch Fix, etc.
  • *Examples of such stocks in the current market are Apple, Tesla, Alphabet, Amazon, etc.

SCCs often have tremendous growth potential but also carry greater risk and volatility. Hence,  investing in small-size companies can be appropriate for investors who are prepared to assume greater risk in search of greater returns and have a longer time horizon for their investments.

On the other hand, mid-cap stocks typically have a track record of stability and growth and may provide a high return on investment over time.


Investors seeking a balance between stability and growth potential and having a moderate risk tolerance may find mid-cap equities acceptable.

Large-cap organizations tend to be less risky and unstable but have less scope for expansion than smaller businesses. Investors with a reduced risk tolerance looking for stability and income may find large-cap stocks ideal.

Ultimately, a person's financial objectives, risk tolerance, and investment time horizon will determine whether they invest in small, mid, or large caps. Before making any investment decisions, it is advised to consult with a financial advisor.

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