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Got $5,000? These 2 Ultra-Cheap Stocks Are Bargain Buys

By David Jagielski - Updated Apr 13, 2021 at 5:00PM

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They've underperformed the S&P 500 in the past month, but these stocks show lots of potential over the long term.

If you have money to invest and want to make the most of it, you should consider putting it into cheap stocks that can easily rise in value. This is a wiser approach than investing in an expensive stock that may have already reached its peak. The bigger the bargain you find, the bigger the return will be if the stock hits it big.

Two stocks that look incredibly cheap right now and are great places to invest $5,000 in are Fulgent Genetics (FLGT 1.82%) and ViacomCBS (PARA 2.15%). Although their share prices have been falling lately, investors shouldn't overlook the value these stocks possess. 

Investor pressing the buy button on an app.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Fulgent Genetics

Testing company Fulgent Genetics has played a major role in COVID-19 testing. The California Department of Public Health said in January that it has been the top provider in the state for coronavirus testing and that nearly 97% of its tests were processed within two days.

It's easy to see just how much of an impact the testing had on its financials during the past year. When Fulgent released its fourth-quarter results on March 4, it posted sales of $295 million for the period ending Dec. 31, 2020. That is an incredible 3,400% increase from the $8.4 million it recorded in the same period one year ago. Its net income of $166.3 million in Q4 was also a sharp improvement from the $0.3 million loss it incurred in the prior-year period.

While investors may be concerned that COVID-19 testing will go away now that there are multiple vaccines available, Fulgent is still projecting some great numbers for 2021, expecting sales to hit $800 million. That would be nearly double the $421.7 million it recorded for all of 2020. The bulk of its revenue will still relate to COVID-19 testing, but $70 million will also be used for next-generation sequencing testing, which the company expects will grow at an annual rate of 92%.

Fulgent is still growing, and investors shouldn't count the stock out as there will still be a strong demand for testing, especially as businesses will want to stay open and prevent possible outbreaks. Fulgent's tests are effective in detecting all the major variants of COVID-19.

With a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) multiple of less than seven, Fulgent is an incredibly cheap buy right now. Another testing company and healthcare giant Abbott Laboratories trades at a multiple of 23. And investors are paying 27 times earnings for the average stock in the Health Care Select Sector SPDR Fund. Fulgent is incredibly cheap, and with its shares down 16% in the past month (while the S&P 500 has risen 5%), now may be a great time to buy the healthcare stock on the dip.

2. ViacomCBS

ViacomCBS shares fell by more than 50% in just one month. Investors dumped the stock in a hurry after the company announced a $3 billion share offering. Three-billion dollars is a staggering amount, and it clearly worried investors that money is tight for the entertainment company and that perhaps its Paramount+ streaming business will require a ton of cash --  one of the reasons the company gave for why it raised the money. 

However, I see the move as a shrewd business decision; management took advantage of an inflated stock price and raised the money at a great time. The stock had roared to an all-time high of $101.97 in March just before ViacomCBS announced the offering. Although investors may have been bullish on the launch of Paramount+ (which happened on March 4), the rapid ascent in value simply wasn't justifiable. On Feb. 24, ViacomCBS reported its year-end numbers. Sales for all of 2020 totaled $25.3 billion and were down 6% year over year. Although its Q4 earnings for the last three months of the year were a positive $810 million (versus a loss of $258 million), they were down 27% for the full year. It was hardly an incredible earnings performance, which suggests there may have been some speculation (or Reddit hype) behind the stock's surge.

When it saw an opportunity, management took advantage of the higher share price while it could. ViacomCBS will need money to compete against the likes of Walt Disney and Netflix in the streaming business. They will also need money to be able to sign exclusive deals. Adding billions in cash will certainly help with Paramount+'s growth, and investors should remain bullish on that. With a forward P/E ratio of about 10, ViacomCBS is incredibly cheap, as Disney and Netflix trade at much higher multiples of 97 and 55 times future earnings, respectively.

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Stocks Mentioned

Fulgent Genetics, Inc. Stock Quote
Fulgent Genetics, Inc.
$55.52 (1.82%) $0.99
The Walt Disney Company Stock Quote
The Walt Disney Company
$96.14 (1.84%) $1.74
Netflix, Inc. Stock Quote
Netflix, Inc.
$179.95 (2.90%) $5.08
Paramount Global Stock Quote
Paramount Global
$25.21 (2.15%) $0.53
The Select Sector SPDR Trust - The Health Care Select Sector SPDR Fund Stock Quote
The Select Sector SPDR Trust - The Health Care Select Sector SPDR Fund
$129.68 (1.12%) $1.44

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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