It's often said that cheap stocks are cheap for a reason, and companies trading under $10 a share -- particularly those that have been around for awhile and have established business -- likely have something amiss with them.
Yet they can often provide fertile ground for making big gains if they're able to revive their businesses, or if the stock sank due to a temporary setback. The three stocks below provide investors with an opportunity to get in on companies that have hit some hard times, but could be well-positioned to bounce back.
Bed Bath & Beyond
Home goods retailer Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ:BBBY) has been on a downward spiral after squandering the opportunity the bankruptcy of rival Linens n Things offered it many years ago. Choosing to rest on its laurels, it continued to do business as it always had, and ended up watching the internet and mass merchandise retailers pass it by, selling the same types of goods at lower prices and often more conveniently.
Bed Bath & Beyond has been trying to catch up for the past several years, but last year at the instigation of activist investors, it went into reset mode and is starting with a clean slate. It's cleaned house by getting rid of old management and bringing on all-new fresh faces, and CEO Mark Tritton came over from Target with a mandate to make a difference.
The retailer is getting rid of non-core operations (like some of the online businesses it acquired over the years), selling off real estate it owned and then leasing it back, and investing in its digital presence to make it a recognizable value for consumers.
Bed Bath & Beyond has always been adept at producing strong free cash flows, though in recent years that's been gradually diminished, almost as much as its stock price, which now trades for under $9.00 a share.
The home goods giant can go either way, as it waited for so long to get going. Yet it retains a large store of consumer goodwill with its brand name and has an able executive with a proven track record. It's why I think that in five years' time, we'll see Bed Bath & Beyond thriving and not just surviving.
BlackBerry (NYSE:BB) is another company that squandered a lot of time and shareholder value over the years, but now seems to have found its purpose.
No longer the go-to name in smartphones, BlackBerry is a leading presence in 5G network security and artificial intelligence, with a particular focus on the connected car. Its purchase of Cylance in 2018 marked a turning point for the one-time iconic smartphone maker that slipped into irrelevance, but is now positioned for growth.
Some estimates peg the connected car market at 75 million vehicles by 2025, with as many as 1 million semi- or fully autonomous vehicles on the road by then.
From app-laden cars that have built-in ride-hailing and gas station-finding capabilities to driverless utility, the Internet of Things and the connected car of literally tomorrow are going to have great need for enhanced functionality and security.
BlackBerry's Cylance purchase gives it the ability to use AI and machine learning to create solutions that will thwart the infiltration of hackers into smart cars, an essential component of the safety that is paramount in having these 2,000-pound projectiles on our roadways.
Trading at only $5 a share, BlackBerry is a shell of its former self when, prior to the financial market's collapse over a decade ago, it went for nearly $140. It's not likely to attain those heights anytime soon, but investors can expect that there are much brighter days ahead for this stock as it becomes a vital part of our connected future.
Chemicals specialist Tronox (NYSE:TROX) is not so much a broken business as a cyclical one, rising and falling on the whims of market demand.
The company is the world's largest producer of titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigment, the whitest substance on earth, which gives milk, toothpaste, and Oreo cookies their color.
Tronox generates more than 75% of its revenue from the substance, but paint and coats account for the greatest portion of its usage. That means the construction industry plays a large role in the fortunes of Tronox, whether we're in a housing boom or not.
Its stock peeled off over 60% of its value during the COVID-19 pandemic, but has since doubled in value. Even so, shares still trade for less than $8 a share, and there's good reason that a rebound in the housing market could lift its shares.
Its North America segment has been the most resilient for the pigment producer, even during the current crisis, and China is now showing signs of recovery, though Europe and elsewhere remain muted. But as we're just starting to see with the retail sector as global economies begin to reopen, there is pent-up demand that could spark a sustained revival.
Where economists had originally forecast a U-shaped recovery, or even a W-shaped one, there's increasing talk that this could be a V-shaped rebound. Trading at less than seven times estimated earnings, Tronox could bounce higher along with the economy.