It's been a wild ride since I wrote the original "5 Stocks on Wall Street's Dollar Menu" nearly six months ago. I was surprised, at the time, to find so many recognized stocks trading for less than $1 a share.
It's been a deluge ever since.
I'm going to go over a few more stocks that are now in the sub-buck trading range. Please don't use this as a speculative buy list. I think a few of these companies will bounce back. Others deserve to head even lower. Either way, this is clearly a speculative subset of the market, so arm yourself with research if you decide to go bottom-feeding here.
1. Office Depot (NYSE: ODP ) , $0.92
The office-supply retailer broke the buck for the first time ever last week, shortly after posting horrendous fourth-quarter results. Sales fell by 15% to $3.3 billion, as the chain of 1,713 superstores failed to lure shoppers.
It's easy to fathom Office Depot being a little emptier than usual, with companies scaling back on expenditures and corporate layoffs thinning out demand for office supplies. The retailer posted a whopping loss of $1.54 billion during the quarter. Most of that was the handiwork of one-time charges, but Office Depot still would have generated a deficit of $199 million without the charges.
The chain's chances to bounce back rest largely on the state of Corporate America. If companies don't need to order as many printer cartridges and office chairs as they used to, things are unlikely to improve for Office Depot.
2. Sirius XM Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI ) , $0.14
The original "dollar menu" article included Sirius XM, back when it had just dipped below the $1 mark. Things obviously haven't gotten any better for shareholders, even though the company's near-term prospects improved substantially when it received a $530 million capital infusion from Liberty Media (Nasdaq: LINTA) last month.
The likely alternative would have been a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, so investors skirted disaster. However, Liberty's money didn't come cheap, with Sirius committing to a hefty 15% interest rate on the first part of the infusion and surrendering 40% of the company for the rest.
In short, Sirius XM got a lifeline to get it through the next few months. The bad news is that the heavy dilution will keep stock gains in check in the future.
3. AIG (NYSE: AIG ) , $0.42
AIG has been the bailout's unfortunate poster child, but it didn't dip under a dollar until just last month. Now that the insurer's bailout is entering round four, there are more strings being attached to the later handouts.
With the government now on the hook for a controlling stake in AIG, the same nationalization fears that have bogged down Citigroup (NYSE: C ) -- which is a bad trading day or two away from breaking the buck itself -- have common-stock investors naturally worried.
4. Ambac (NYSE: ABK ) , $0.57
Ambac dipped below $1 back in November and January. It quickly bounced back in both cases. That won't be so easy this time.
Ambac's tale of woe isn't new. Bond insurers like Ambac that got stuck guaranteeing mortgage-backed securities were among the first to feel the financial market's freefall. Investors may be disgusted with Ambac for posting a $2.3 billion loss last week for its latest quarter, but they shouldn't be shocked. Some of the deficit was the result of the company writing down the value of its credit derivatives, but that was just a quarter of the carnage.
5. Coeur d'Alene Mines (NYSE: CDE ) , $0.66
Not all precious metal producers are as good as gold. Coeur d'Alene is expecting a 66% spike in its flagship silver production this year, but gold bugs will clearly lament that gold production fell by 50% last year.
The company closed out the year profitably and with healthy reserves in silver. It's not gold, but it's something. Silver prices have bounced back in recent months, but they are nowhere near where they were a year ago, fetching $21 an ounce.
Then again, you can never expect perfection from a dollar menu.
Here are some other ways to buck the buck: