Let's address one thing up front: Share prices are an arbitrary number and don't indicate whether a company's stock is cheap or expensive. Determining value is much more complicated than simply looking at the most recent price tag.
However, a small share price might make it easier for investors with small accounts or small periodic account deposits to make a purchase. Whether you fall into that camp -- or you're just looking for a few new investment ideas -- Transocean (RIG 0.48%), Retail Opportunity Investments (ROIC -3.19%), and SSR Mining (SSRM -5.74%) might be worth considering. Here's what three of our Motley Fool contributors had to say.
Time to buy offshore oil again?
Nicholas Rossolillo (Transocean): It's been a while since I've written about Tranocean. Since then, the offshore driller surged higher along with oil prices, only to come tumbling down once again as energy took another step back headed into the summer months. It's been a frustrating cycle for investors hoping that Transocean and its peers would mount a recovery and break out of their "follow-the-oil-price" rut they've been in for some time.
Whether you believe Transocean shares will continue to play lemming or that the offshore segment of the industry is due for a rebound, this sub-$20 stock ($6.50 as of this writing) is worth a look. Oil is notoriously cyclical, and its most recent tumble has a lot to do with global trade tensions and fear of a widespread economic slowdown. Nevertheless, demand for energy remains robust, and the time to buy tends to be when fear is the norm. It isn't quite the widespread panic that cropped up in 2014 and 2015 that created a massive buying opportunity, but worry has nonetheless been a dominant force as of late. "Buy when others are fearful" could be an adage worth following here.
If oil does rebound, history suggests Transocean's proxy share pricing will follow suit. But reason No. 2 for buying the stock could be even better. After years of low capital spending from oil producers, offshore is beginning to show signs of renewed interest. It's still a far cry from the capital-intensive budgeting that oil majors were involved in a few years ago, but they're spending again. That bodes well for Transocean, which has been retiring older rigs and gearing up for an eventual wave of offshore projects to come online.
Granted, Transocean isn't actually cheap, at least not when considering its recent slip back into the red after paying operating expenses. However slow progress has been, though, management is making progress to clean up the balance sheet and stay positioned for an eventual rebound. After a big tumble this spring, this driller's beating may have been overdone.
Cash-powered dividends, built around West Coast retail spaces
Anders Bylund (Retail Opportunity Investments): Retail Opportunity's stock has traded in a tight range between $15.44 and $19.80 per share over the past 52 weeks and currently sits right in the middle at $17.74 per share. This ultra-focused real estate investment trust, is not a barn-burner of a growth story. Instead, the company offers relatively stable share prices alongside a generous dividend policy, currently showing an annual yield of 4.5%.
The company specializes in acquiring shopping centers anchored around high-quality supermarkets in densely populated metro areas on the West Coast. It's a highly specific market strategy, and one that lets Retail Opportunity focus on high-quality retail spaces. The company leases out the land and buildings in its managed areas and then sits back to perform basic maintenance and collect profitable lease payments tied to long-term contracts.
The portfolio currently contains 89 shopping centers from San Diego to Seattle, covering a total of 10.2 million square feet. Even in an era where e-commerce alternatives are stealing business from traditional retailers, a massive 98% of Retail Opportunity's available business spaces are actively leased out. Nearly half of its annual revenues are collected from supermarkets and restaurants, led by Albertson's and Safeway. These key retailers aren't easily replaced by online rivals.
It's a shareholder-friendly business model. Revenue and free cash flow more than doubled over the past five years, and Retail Opportunities pays out 75% of those cash flows in the form of dividend checks. This is the only pure-play income stock in my personal stock portfolio, and maybe it belongs in yours as well. Now that it's trading at less than $18 per share, it's easy to get started with this high-quality investment.
A golden opportunity
Neha Chamaria (SSR Mining): Precious-metals stocks have caught investors' attention lately. Fears of a global slowdown and declining bond yields, among other things, have added to their appeal. In any case, owning a precious-metals stock or two in your portfolio is a great way to diversify, which is why I suggest you check SSR Mining, a Vancouver-based gold and silver producer, shares of which are currently trading at around $13 apiece.
SSR Mining operates three mines, including its flagship Marigold mine in Nevada and Seabee in Saskatchewan. While these two are gold mines, the company's Puna operations in Argentina produce silver and hit commercial production in December 2018. In its latest quarter, all three of SSR Mining's mines were profitable. In fact, SSR Mining's gold equivalent ounces (GEO) production hit a near record of 112,513 ounces in Q1, boosting the miner's revenue by 29% year over year and net income to $5.7 million, versus a loss of $2.3 million in Q1 2018.
SSR Mining has some solid plans up its sleeve, including target GEO production of at least 440,000 ounces by 2021. That's roughly 11% growth over its estimated 2019 midpoint production. Even better, SSR Mining expects its cash costs of production to drop to $615 per ounce by 2021, versus an estimated $700 per ounce this year. Even if gold prices remain flat and assuming no operational hiccups, rising production and declining costs should ring in more money for SSR Mining. A strong balance sheet further strengthens the miner's case, making it one of the few gold and silver stocks to consider.