Do you think all the best stocks to own are priced with a three-figure or even four-figure number? Not so fast. While it's true Tesla's stock is trading near $700 and Amazon's stock is stunningly priced around $3,000 per share, plenty of great picks can be bought for a fiver or less. Here's a rundown of your three best bets currently priced under $5.
Genworth Financial is not just surviving but thriving
Recent per-share price: $3.55
Like most other stocks, shares of long-term care, life, and mortgage insurer Genworth Financial (GNW 3.30%) tumbled between February and July of last year as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged the U.S. Investors didn't know exactly how the contagion might impact the economy or insurers in particular. But they widely presumed it was going to be rough.
As it turns out, not only was the worst-case scenario never realized, but Genworth may have actually benefited from the pandemic. Revenue for the fourth quarter was up 11% and grew similarly for the full year. Adjusted operating income fell 24% year over year, but the insurer remained profitable in incredibly difficult circumstances. Most noteworthy is how the pandemic seems to have increased the number of newly underwritten policies, partially boosted by a surge in first home purchases, which often require the purchase of mortgage insurance.
Note that the Genworth Financial you may buy today probably won't be the same Genworth a year from now. It recently sold its stake in its Australian mortgage insurance business, while its intended merger with China Oceanwide has been postponed indefinitely. It's also mulling a sale of its U.S. mortgage business.
It remains to be seen how all of this is going to shake out. However, it's all an indication that the company is proactively seeking ways to meet debt obligations coming due this year and perhaps exit 2021 smaller but in better condition. This turbulence and uncertainly may also already be fully priced into the stock.
Nokia isn't a mere phone company
Recent per-share price: $4.18
Not that it matters much, but Nokia (NOK 3.28%) isn't an American company, and the stock in question isn't technically a stock. Rather, it's a U.S.-listed American depositary receipt (ADR) reflecting the U.S. dollar value of shares of the Finnish company as issued in Helsinki. Nevertheless, you can step into this solid company's ADR at a price of just above $4, giving you a round lot -- 100 shares -- for less than $500.
And doing so makes sense given the company's prospects.
There's the Nokia you know -- the one that makes so-called feature phones and low-cost smartphones. Then there's the Nokia you don't know -- the one that makes networking equipment needed by telecom companies, along with the software and intellectual property needed to make those networks function. It's building several different 5G networks in overseas markets, for instance, and at the same time actively monetizing its intellectual property. Earlier this month, the company announced a significant patent licensing deal with Samsung Electronics. This is by far Nokia's breadwinning business.
The company is expected to post steady sales and earnings this year and next as it rebuilds itself. Given the recovery backdrop at the same time the 5G revolution is beginning in earnest, those outlooks may underestimate what's coming for this telecom technology player.
Behind the scenes, BGC Partners is picking up speed
Recent per-share price: $4.54
Finally, add BGC Partners (BGCP 1.26%) to your list of top stocks under $5 per share.
Not only does its $1.7 billion market cap keep it off most investors' radars, but the company's not a brand name familiar to most consumers. There's a decent chance you've been a beneficiary of its services, however, perhaps without even realizing it. BGC offers trade execution and clearing service to brokerage firms, investment companies, and other financial institutions.
It's good at what it does, too. The company's Fenics GO was named Risk.net's 2021 OTC (over-the-counter) trading platform of the year, and BGC has steadily added clients/users of its suite of trading technologies.
It wouldn't be accurate to say the company is a perpetual growth machine, because it isn't. It would, though, be accurate to say the organization grows more than it contracts, as its wares are proving increasingly valuable to its customers. In this vein, analysts are calling for 7.5% sales growth this year, to be followed by 6% growth next year, with earnings projected to grow at a slightly stronger clip. It certainly doesn't look or act like a sub-$2 billion company with shares priced below $5.