A lot of stocks have been rallying in recent months, but it doesn't mean that everything that the market has left behind is worthless. There are plenty of stocks -- even some with Happy Meal price tags -- that have the potential to bounce back.

Brookdale Senior Living (NYSE:BKD), trivago (NASDAQ:TRVG), and LightInTheBox (NYSE:LITB) are three stocks trading below $3 a share that I think have some serious upside. Let's see why I think these market laggards will bounce back in the year ahead. 

Against an outdoor backdrop, a hand places a coin on the largest of four progressively taller stacks of coins. The coins are stacked on wooden blocks that spell out 2020.

Image source: Getty Images.

Brookdale Senior Living

If you're not familiar with Brookdale Senior Living, you're probably wincing at the name anyway. COVID-19 has been devastating to the assisted living facility and senior housing industries. Senior citizens are a high-risk group in this pandemic, and residential buildings that house our country's elders have been a hotbed of bad news. 

Brookdale owns and operates 737 senior communities with the ability to serve 65,000 residents. This isn't necessarily a company that was in great shape before the coronavirus outbreak had people rethinking senior living options. Revenue has declined in each of the past three years, and Brookdale has struggled to turn a profit over the past decade. It hasn't shelled out a dividend since 2008. Yes, 2008.

The good news is that folks aren't leaving senior living communities in droves. Brookdale's weighted average occupancy rate has only declined from 84% to 79.2% over the past year -- and the average resident is paying slightly more in that time. It also negotiated with the landlord for 120 of its communities to achieve permanent rent reductions for Brookdale in the future. With $600 million in liquidity and a stock that has surrendered more than 60% of its value in 2020, there's a high ceiling at the other end of the COVID-19 crisis. 


The travel industry is another market that's been tossing and turning this year, and trivago is feeling the pain as an online platform for hotels and other lodging possibilities. Its latest quarter was brutal, with a 93% plunge in revenue. 

The company was already cutting costs and sacrificing revenue growth for the sake of profitability, as it was in the black for each of last year's four quarters. It should bounce back. It has improved its platform during the lull. There are now 3.8 million listings of all types on the site. And its largest market is Europe, which is ahead of the curve on the pandemic front relative to the U.S., so it should recover quicker than stateside travel portals. 


You may think that stocks trading below $3 are slow growers or deficit-saddled business, but let's throw a curve by closing out this list with LightInTheBox. The Chinese e-tailer sells to the world, sourcing everything from fashion-forward apparel to consumer electronics to lighting solutions locally at low costs that allow it to offer really low prices for buyers that can be patient with the fulfillment process 

You won't mind the growth. Revenue soared 96% in its latest quarter. Guidance calls for a 59% to 83% increase in the current quarter. It's now rattled off four quarters of profits, driving the trailing earnings to the single digits. Investors are generally nervous when it comes to investing in China stocks, but LightInTheBox offers an eye-rubbing combination of uber top-line growth with really low earnings multiple. Now it's just a matter of time before growth and value investors pay attention. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.