Although many stocks trade below $10 per share, some deserve that price more than others. Many will remain stuck at that level, while some go on to produce massive growth. AMD is on fire after falling into penny-stock status five years ago. And at the low point of the dot-com bust, even Amazon briefly fell below the $10-per-share level.
Likewise, many stocks under $10 per share today also could move significantly higher. Investors looking for such potential could find it in stocks including Ironwood Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:IRWD), Nokia (NYSE:NOK), and Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA).
Ironwood Pharmaceuticals develops treatments for gastrointestinal (GI) issues. For now, it survives on a product called linaclotide, better known by its market name, Linzess. Linzess treats irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and can also relieve chronic constipation.
With its dependency on one drug, Ironwood carries with it some degree of risk. This may explain why the stock has a history of making huge gains only to fall back.
However, the company could have a second drug on the market soon. A refractory GERD treatment, currently known as 3718, is in phase 3 trials. Still, Linzess drives revenue for now. Demand for Linzess grew by 9% year over year in the most recent quarter. Moreover, despite overall revenue falling in that period, the company remains on track to deliver mid- to high-single-digit revenue growth going forward.
Ironwood also delivered its fifth consecutive quarterly profit. The company earned $0.16 per share of non-GAAP net income, up from $0.10 per share in the year-ago quarter. Additionally, although analysts forecast a 5.5% fall in earnings for the year, they expect a rebound of more than 23% in fiscal 2021.
For now, Ironwood trades at a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of about 10. This makes it a reasonably priced stock considering the forecasted growth. Moreover, if the company can stay profitable and earn approval on its refractory GERD treatment, this pharmaceutical stock will probably not stay below $10 per share for long.
Nokia has worked to redefine itself as a telecom equipment provider since Apple's iPhone rendered its cellphones obsolete. So far, Nokia stock has failed to come anywhere close to returning to its 2007 peak above $40 per share.
However, many hold out hope that the rise of 5G will turn its fortunes around. Nokia trades at about $3.90 per share as of the time of this writing.
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Admittedly, Nokia has sent mixed messages as to whether 5G is actually a blessing. The company may have also hurt itself by suspending its dividend last year to invest more in 5G. The current geopolitical climate has become a mixed blessing to Nokia. Removing competition from Huawei will undoubtedly win Nokia contracts in certain countries. However, the loss of its business from China Mobile also has an offsetting effect.
Nokia currently appears undervalued, trading at a forward P/E ratio of about 11.5. Analysts predict earnings increases of 12% this year and nearly 18% in fiscal 2021.
Nokia also posted strong results in its most recent quarter. Though revenue fell, the company reported non-GAAP earnings of six euro cents ($0.07) per share, beating analyst expectations. The equipment maker also raised its fiscal 2020 outlook, expecting to earn 25 euro cents ($0.29) per share for the year. Nokia also raised guidance on free cash flow to "clearly positive."
After years of range-bound trading, Nokia will have to prove itself to investors. Still, if it can maintain growth and bring back the dividend, Nokia stock could see long-awaited gains.
Zynga put itself on the map with Facebook games such as FarmVille, Mafia Wars, and Words With Friends. However, the special relationship with Facebook ended in 2012, and many wrote the stock off when it fell into penny-stock status.
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Nonetheless, Zynga stock has seen a revival since former Electronic Arts executive Frank Gibeau became CEO in 2016. Under Gibeau, Zynga has added game franchises and made its way to profitable. Zynga has also gobbled up rivals such as Peak and is in the process of purchasing Rollic Games. The recent Peak acquisition helped Zynga become the top mobile gaming app in both the Apple App Store and on Alphabet's Google Play.
These acquisitions may have led to higher operating expenses and a quarterly loss. However, Zynga's financial picture continues to improve. In the latest quarter, total revenue increased by more than 47%, adding up to the highest quarterly revenue in company history.
Zynga has built a three-year track record of profitability. Once it fully integrates its new franchises into its ecosystem, its investments should help take both profits and the stock price higher over time.