If there is such a thing as conventional wisdom in investing, which may be doubtful, one often touted rule is to avoid low-priced stocks. The most common reason given for this advice is often that they are low-priced for a reason. Fair enough, but it is important for investors to remember that at one time smartphone and tablet giant Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was a single-digit priced stock. Investors who bought Apple at the bottom made a tremendous amount of money.
Another reason cited by some trading pundits is that low-priced stocks, especially those under $5, are not marginable. Again, a true statement. Investors looking to get leverage on stocks have a built-in advantage with low-priced names. They already are priced low, so more shares can be bought and require less capital than high-priced stocks. In addition, many low-priced shares have options traded on the underlying shares. Investors can always seek leverage via the option markets.
We looked through our research database for solid names that not only had good stories, but had Wall St. coverage. Typically the last thing large bulge bracket firms, or any firm for that matter, wants to do is pitch a low-priced name that gets crushed. Here are the names we found that investors may want to consider.
8×8 Inc. (NASDAQ: EGHT) kicks off the under $10 list. The company offers voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) telephone service in addition to contact centers, web-based conferencing and cloud-based computing services. Often rumored as a takeover candidate, the stock was raised to Outperform by Northland Capital in March with an $8 price target. The Thomson/First Call estimate for the stock is actually higher at $9.
Recently upgraded to buy at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs, ON Semiconductor Corp. (NASDAQ: ONNN) fits the bill. ON Semiconductor designs, manufactures and markets semiconductor components for electronic systems and products worldwide. The Merrill Lynch price target for the stock is $11. The Wall St. consensus estimate is $10.
Oppenheimer recently raised wireless chip maker RF Micro Devices (NASDAQ: RFMD) to outperform status. It also put a $7 price target on the stock. The consensus estimate is $6.
Another solid semiconductor stock to make the list is Applied Micro Circuits Corp. (NASDAQ: AMCC). After it recently announced that eight of the worlds largest optical module manufacturers are using its S28032 multiplexer, the industry’s fastest, lowest power transmitter solution, analysts are expecting year-over-year revenue growth for the first quarter to be up close to 15%. The consensus price target is $10.25.
Investors willing to bet on future success may want to look at BPZ Resources Inc. (NYSE: BPZ). Owning license agreements for oil and gas production on 1.9 million acres of land in Peru, it is waiting for its earnings ship to come in. Analysts at Raymond James who cover the stock are looking for an almost 25% increase in revenue from 2013 to 2014. The consensus price target for the stock is $5.25. That represents a 100% increase from current trading levels.
Another stock that barely squeaks under the $10 level to make our list is exchange traded fund (ETF) sponsor and manager, Wisdom Tree Investments Inc. (NASDAQ: WETF). Having already made a solid run this year, Wisdom Tree is a stock to buy at Merrill Lynch with an $11 target. The consensus estimate is a touch higher at $11.50.
A smaller medical device name to grace our under $10 list is dentistry laser manufacturer BIOLASE Inc. (NASDAQ: BIOL). Allowing dentists to perform a multitude of procedures, the laser surgery is far less painful to the patient than more conventional and invasive surgeries. It has virtually no debt and revenues growing, and Northland Capital recently upgraded the stock to outperform with a $7 target. The consensus target is $5.22.
The ultimate low-priced stock with potential, telecommunications giant and perennial underachiever Alcatel-Lucent S.A. (NYSE: ALU) was promoted from Hold to a stock to buy at Deutsche Bank A.G. (NYSE: DB) today. Already gapping up more than 10% in premarket trading, this ill-fated combination of the old Bell Labs, which was renamed Lucent, with France’s national phone company Alcatel, has frustrated investors for years with a chain of bad management and industry missteps. The consensus price target for the stock is $1.57. That may be eclipsed today after their upgrade.
We always stress to our readers that it is important to do your own due diligence when considering any stock purchase. All things being equal, you are always “safer” owning the bluest of blue chips or the SPDR S&P 500 (NYSEMKT: SPY) ETF. Taking a shot at quality lower priced names that have Wall St. coverage and visibility might be a great way to add some of that vaunted Alpha to your portfolio.