Low-priced stocks seem to be everywhere these days, so I don't want you to think that I'm trying to hop on some new fashion craze. I've been singling out attractive stocks that are trading in the single digits, dating all the way back to my original "5 Stocks Under $10" column more than seven years ago.
There are risks aplenty in scouring the single-digit minefields, but there are clearly rewards to be had for those who choose correctly.
Let's go over this month's list.
Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD ) -$5.75
This isn't AMD at its best. The chipmaker has posted seven consecutive quarterly losses, with a return to profitability unlikely in the near-term. It is fighting against the bigger and profitable Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) in the cutthroat microprocessor market.
So why believe in AMD? Well, let's just say that garage sale Picassos often have dust and scratches. The negativity is why investors have the opportunity to pick up the silver medalist for a pittance. No one is going to let Intel own the market. It would disrupt the industry if computer makers had to yield pricing power to a sole survivor.
Perhaps that's why a Banc of America Securities analyst upgraded AMD last week, feeling that the stock has bottomed. AMD has sold off non-core assets and it remains a thorn in Intel's side. It's here to stay, warts and all.
E-House (NYSE: EJ ) -$9.15
At its peak shortly after last summer's IPO, E-House traded as high as $36.45. As China's largest real estate agency, it was a no-brainer for investors who want to piggyback on the country's economic boom. If disposable income is improving in a country growing at a 10% annualized clip, home ownership is a natural.
Things changed when China's stock market began to tank, but the important thing for investors is that the Chinese economy is still growing. E-House posted monster quarterly results last month. Revenue and earnings were up 79% and 85% respectively.
Analysts see the company earning $0.73 a share this year and $1.01 a share in 2009. E-House isn't just trading in the single digits, its forward earnings multiple is, too. That's a bargain, and one that is getting even cheaper given today's lower opening.
LCA-Vision (Nasdaq: LCAV ) -$5.40
Laser-powered vision corrective procedures are a tough sell in this economy. When money is tight, contact lenses and eyeglasses will have to do. LCA-Vision is feeling the pain. It has missed Wall Street's profit estimates badly in each of the past two quarters. It suspended its dividend and is slashing its workforce.
This isn't pretty, but LCA-Vision remains profitable beyond last quarter's dip. The company's fleet of 78 LasikPlus centers will have to wait for the economy to bounce back, but the longer it waits, the greater the pent-up demand for its services will be.
IMAX (Nasdaq: IMAX ) -$6.77
Leisure isn't dead. One of this year's refreshing surprises is that things are hopping at the local multiplex. Local escapism is as good an explanation as any for folks heading out to theaters in record numbers.
This dovetails perfectly with IMAX's master plan of canvassing exhibitors with its new digital projector system over the next few years. Providing more entertainment value with its bigger-than-life cinematic experiences, IMAX will be in much better shape tomorrow than its lackluster financial state today. It is why I recommended IMAX to Motley Fool Rule Breakers newsletter subscribers, and why I believe that its days of trading in the single digits are numbered.
Tree.com (Nasdaq: TREE ) -$8.05
When IAC (Nasdaq: IACID ) completed its split into five distinct companies, Tree.com got the short end of the twig. After all, how could the market ever love a company behind LendingTree.com and RealEstate.com in these horrendous times for creditors and residential realty?
Analysts don't see Tree.com turning a profit for a couple of years, but that is also sentiment based on the market's current conditions. Home resales are likely to pick up before developers get back on track. The appetite for lending products clearly isn't going away. Tree.com may be ugly today, but I suggest that its turnaround will come quicker than the market expects. As a stand-alone company, that is the sole focus of Tree.com. It's a risk, but that's what they also say of fixer upper homes.
Five for the road
Turnarounds never happen overnight. These five stocks aren't trading in the single digits by accident. If I'm right about the catalysts, though, they may not be trading in the single digits for too much longer.
Finding promising stocks while they're still cutting their baby teeth is at the heart of the Rule Breakers newsletter. You can check it out for free this month with a 30-day trial subscription. There are more than a half-dozen active stock recommendations in the growth stock research service trading for less than $10 at the moment, including IMAX. Check those out, and I'll be back with more next month.