Stocks had a crazy end to the week on reports of tension escalation and fighting in Ukraine and Russia. Still, investors are looking to use market weakness to find bargain stocks. Perhaps the real bargain bin is in low-priced stocks under $10, where investors feel there could be much greater upside down the road.
24/7 Wall St. reviews hundreds of analyst research reports each week. There are almost endless calls about stocks to buy and stocks to sell, but it is in these low-priced and small-cap stocks where the analyst calls seem to be the most aggressive. Some of these calls come with upside price targets higher by 50%, 100% or even more than current prices.
Investors need to understand that small-cap stocks and low-priced stocks generally have much more implied risk than S&P 500 stocks or Dow Jones Industrial Average stocks. There is a reason there are hardly any analyst reports calling for Dow or S&P 500 stocks to rise 50% or 100%, but there are in the small-cap and low-priced stocks. Please also keep in mind that small-cap and low-priced stocks would almost never pass a “widows and orphans” suitability test for investors.
24/7 Wall St. has identified 10 analyst calls in the stocks under $10 category with massive upside potential. Two of these stocks peaked just above $10 this week.
Achillion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ACHN) was raised to Overweight from Neutral at Piper Jaffray with a $10 price target, and it was raised to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo. The problem with these upgrades is that the prior close was $7.36, then shares rose to $8.44, and then they closed Friday at $9.25. The driving force was positive news on Achillion’s Hep-C drug.
Cowen Group Inc. (NASDAQ: COWN) is a firm that, through its Cowen and Company segment, is usually making analyst calls rather than receiving them. JMP Securities initiated coverage with a Market Outperform rating and gave the brokerage and asset management firm a $5.00 price target. Shares closed Friday at $4.02.
FuelCell Energy Inc. (NASDAQ: FCEL) was raised Wednesday to Outperform from Market Perform and given a $3 price target (versus $2.27 Tuesday close) at Cowen and Company. The fuel cell player was up 6% at $2.41 in early trading indications on the news on Wednesday, and it closed Friday at $2.53.
Coeur Mining Inc. (NYSE: CDE) had a bad week as the gold mining outfit went above $8.50 early in the week and closed down at $7.96 on Friday. Shares were maintained as Buy but the price target was cut to $14 from $18 at Sterne Agee this week.
JAKKS Pacific, Inc. (NASDAQ: JAKK) was raised to Overweight from Neutral with a $9 price target at Piper Jaffray on Thursday. This was against a $6.34 prior close, and shares closed at $6.42 on Friday. We would also point out that the consensus price target here is $10.00 for the toy maker.
MBIA Inc. (NYSE: MBI) was under $10 up until Friday. The stock had been at $9.88 prior to the call and had been trading under $9.50 earlier in the week. BTIG assigned a Buy rating and $12 price target, and shares closed at $10.49 on Friday. Investors will have to hope for pullbacks now if they hold on to a $10 stock price rule.
Novavax, Inc. (NASDAQ: NVAX) was started as Buy with a $9 price at Citigroup on Wednesday. Shares were just under $4.50 at the time, and the stock closed at $4.64 on Friday. In short, this is a double-your-money pick (if Citi is right, of course).
Plug Power Inc. (NASDAQ: PLUG) was up after earnings this week. Cowen and Company reiterated its Outperform rating on the fuel cell company. Shares closed down 3% at $5.92 on Friday. The caveat needs to be made that this is extra volatile with a 52-week range of $0.36 to $11.72.
Quartet Merger Corp. (NASDAQ: QTET) closed at $10.04 on Friday, so it technically isn’t under $10 at the cut-off time. Still, shares had been under $10 this last week. The blank-check company was started with a Buy rating and $16 price target at Canaccord Genuity. Quartet is soon to be an operating company as it is set to merge with privately held Pangaea Logistics Solutions. Pangaea provides logistics services to a broad base of industrial customers who require the transportation of a wide variety of dry bulk cargoes, including grains, iron, bauxite, alumina, cement clinker, dolomite, and limestone.
Scorpio Tankers Inc. (NYSE: STNG) was raised to Outperform from Neutral, and the price target was raised up to $12 from $9 (versus a $9.38 prior close) at Credit Suisse on Thursday. Shares closed at $9.64 on Friday, and the consensus price target is up at $11.44.
In case you missed last weekend’s analyst stock picks under $10, they included shares of AMD, Alcatel-Lucent, Alpha Natural, Groupon, Himax, and a half-dozen more companies.