Stocks have seen wishy-washy trading of late, and the daily and weekly direction of the market may be less clear until after the elections. Still, it seems like this bull market is far from wanting to end. High valuations and slow economic data do not keep investors from buying after each market pullback. Another amazing issue is that the bull market is now seven and a half years old.
What seems to be obvious now is that investors are looking for new ideas to generate gains or income. The Dow and S&P indexes are close enough to their all-time highs that some of the smaller and less covered stocks might bring opportunity.
24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst upgrades and downgrades each day of the week, and it becomes hundreds of analyst calls each week. Some of these stocks come with Buy and Outperform ratings, and some of those ratings have massive upside projections. The stocks trading under $10 or with very small market values might get overlooked by most investors.
Investors need to be very honest with themselves before they consider small-cap or low-priced stocks. Traditional analyst upside projection of 8% to 15% for Dow and S&P 500 stocks is just not very exciting, and it might even be less implied than there is downside. These small-cap stocks come with many more obvious risks, but they also come with hidden risks that investors might not think of in Dow stocks.
There is existential risk for many small companies. Biotechs and small tech stocks can literally implode with nothing left but a goose-egg. Some small companies make serious mistakes, and then there is even the warning that their management teams might not be as closely monitored for reality versus hype.
These tiny stocks often come with very few analysts following them, and often the firms that follow small and micro values are firms that are far from being household names. If you see upside projections of 50%, you might as well assume there is more risk than usual. If you see upside of 100% or 200% ahead, then you have to know there could be an all-or-none risk profile.
OK, so you have been warned that you are entering a higher risk zone than in most Dow or S&P 500 stocks. Here are 10 analyst picks from the week of October 21 trading under $10 with massive upside calls.
Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN) was perhaps the most well-known analyst upgrade under $10 for the week. Shares of the daily deals site (or just deals now) were raised to Outperform from Neutral, and the price target was raised to $6.50 from $4.50 at Wedbush Securities. The prior close was $5.01, and the stock closed up just one-penny further by Friday. Groupon has a 52-week trading range of $2.15 to $5.94 and a consensus analyst price target that rose to $5.24 from $4.94 because of the call. Wedbush’s report said:
We expect Groupon to report third quarter results above expectations due to accelerating site traffic growth and improving deal inventory. We see a large valuation discrepancy between Groupon and other internet peers, which we believe will close once investors recalibrate their growth expectations …
MGIC Investment Corp. (NYSE: MTG) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $10 price objective at Merrill Lynch on October 17. The prior close was $7.99, but what stood out here was that it was just a day ahead of the earnings report. After that, the shares closed the week at $8.62, with a 52-week range of $5.36 to $9.77 and a consensus price target of $9.82. MGIC has almost a $3 billion market cap.
Abraxas Petroleum Corp. (NASDAQ: AXAS) was started as Buy with a $3 price target at Rodman & Renshaw on October 21. The firm said that the new Permian potential is the reward for skillful navigation of the oil cycle and the see positive multiyear production growth trends. The stock closed at $1.79 ahead of this call, but it closed at $1.88 on Friday. Abraxas has a $250 million market cap, a 52-week range of $0.65 to $1.90 and a consensus analyst target of just $1.60.
Amarin Corp. PLC (NASDAQ: AMRN) was started as Buy with a $5 price target at Citigroup on October 19. Shares had closed at $3.00 prior to the report, and they ended the week at $3.20. The 52-week range is $1.24 to $3.46, and Amarin now has a $658 million market cap. The consensus price target is $6.30, so maybe this massive 56% in remaining implied upside is not entirely out of the question.
Asure Software Inc. (NASDAQ: ASUR) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $12 price target at Roth Capital on October 21. This implied close to a double from the $6.85 prior close, and shares closed the week at $6.80.
EMCORE Corp. (NASDAQ: EMKR) was started as Buy with a $7.50 price target at Dougherty on October 20. The prior close was $5.50, but a 5% gain on Friday took shares up to $6.15 by the end of the week. The 52-week range is $4.90 to $8.52. The market cap is just $160 million.
iPass Inc. (NASDAQ: IPAS) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $3 price target at Maxim Group on October 19. This represented nearly a double from the $1.62 prior closing price, but iPass ended the week at $1.72, even after falling over 3% on Friday. iPass has a mere $112 million market cap and a 52-week range of $0.81 to $1.89. iPass provides Wi-Fi network access to data and communications in the United States and internationally.
Synacor Inc. (NASDAQ: SYNC) was started with a Buy rating and given a $7 price target at Ladenburg Thalmann on October 18. This was versus a previous closing price of $2.85, but the stock closed out the week at $2.95. This micro-cap stock is worth just $89 million, and the company is a platform development site for video, internet and communications.
TeleNav Inc. (NASDAQ: TNAV) may be a small cap stock worth just $245 million, but FBR Capital thinks it has well over 100% upside. The firm started TeleNav as Outperform with a $15 price target, versus a $5.72 prior closing price. The connected car and location-based platform services has a 52-week range of $4.47 to $7.57, and it has a consensus analyst target above $10.00 after this call.
Xenon Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: XENE) was started with a Buy rating and assigned an $18 price target at Stifel on October 21. This implied more than 100% from the $8.35 prior close. Xenon ended the week at $8.55, and it has a 52-week range of $5.65 to $9.75 and a market cap of $152 million.
You can follow @Jonogg on Twitter if you want the daily analyst calls and research updates directly on your Twitter feed.
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