Many low-priced stocks are that way for a reason and should be avoided. However, not all stocks with low share prices are damaged companies and risky "penny stocks." Here are five stocks, all trading for under $10 per share, that our contributors think are actually good investments.
Sean Williams: Although it regularly flutters right around the $10 mark, I'd suggest that investors take a closer look at Xerox (NYSE:XRX), which is much more than your parents' photocopying company nowadays.
Xerox is in the midst of a multiyear transformation that's de-emphasizing its legacy businesses in favor of high-growth service businesses. Chances are, just as Xerox's commercials predict, you're unaware of the industries where Xerox is gaining a foothold.
For instance, Xerox is responsible for processing all Medicaid claims in California, the state with the largest population, and it has around 12 states that it currently contracts with to provide Medicaid services. With Obamacare providing easier access to medical care vis-a-vis the Medicaid expansion, Medicaid spending could wind up doubling between 2014 and 2022, which would play right into Xerox's hands.
Additionally, Xerox is among a handful of companies providing electronic health records to the healthcare industry. As hospitals and physicians push further into the digital age, Xerox should be able to capitalize.
Lastly, you'll even see the Xerox brand name behind the electronic toll collection process in parts of Texas.
As you might have guessed, Xerox's transformation isn't without its speed bumps. The company has restructured its operations and cut costs numerous times now, occasionally missing Wall Street's expectations. However, with a forward P/E of nine, a yield of close to 3%, and the company essentially trading at book value, Xerox could be an intriguing stock worth socking away for the next decade or longer.
Brian Feroldi: While I generally tend to avoid investing in stocks that trade for less than $10, there are a few stocks trading in that price range that have caught my eye recently. One of them is IGI Laboratories (NASDAQ:TLGT), a specialty generic pharmaceutical manufacturer that has been on a stellar run for the past few years.
The company's strategy is to sell generic versions of specialty pharmaceutical products for the topical, injectable, complex, and ophthalmic markets. With every passing year, more drugs in these markets lose patent protection, and IGI has been aggressive in creating copycats, obtaining regulatory approval, and selling them in pharmacies at a discount.
While the company currently has only seven products on the market in 12 different formats, the company has a huge pipeline of 30 products currently pending approval, which represents a $1.4 billion market opportunity. While the company is still losing money, it expects to reach breakeven by the end of the year, and from there profits should grow quickly as its pipeline clears regulatory approval and starts generating revenue.
Even with a price tag of less than $7, the stock can hardly be called cheap as it is currently trading around 9 times sales, but given its huge pipeline, that price may look reasonable a few years from now. With the recent beat-down in healthcare-related stocks, now might be a great time to pick up a few shares in this small-cap growth story.
Chambers Street recently entered into an agreement to merge with Gramercy Property Trust, in an all-stock deal expected to close late this year. The merger makes a lot of sense -- the companies have complementary portfolios of properties, and the merger will add diversification and allow more financial flexibility to pursue opportunities as they come up. Additionally, the deal is expected to produce about $15 million in annual cost savings.
The combined company will use the Gramercy name and ticket, and will consist of 298 properties, 99.4% of which are occupied. Among the companies' largest tenants are Bank of America, Amazon.com, Raytheon, and many other big-name corporations.
Despite the seemingly good news, Chambers Street shares dropped considerably following the announcement -- mainly because the terms were agreed upon at a lower value than the then-current share price. And shares have continued to fall amid the general market weakness lately. Having declined more than 18% year to date, Chambers Street trades for just $6.57 per share, and pays an impressive 7.8% dividend on a monthly basis.
As we await the merger vote that's scheduled to be presented to Gramercy's shareholders in December, now may be the time to get in on this great REIT business at a cheap price.
Selena Maranjian: InvenSense (NYSE:INVN), recently trading near $9 per share, seems attractively priced, with a forward-looking price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of about 15 and a five-year growth forecast of 20%. The company is a leader in motion-sensing technology, which is used extensively in smartphones and other mobile devices. (Think, for example, of optical image stabilization, which plays a big part in making mobile cameras so good.) InvenSense's stock has been more than halved over the past year, presenting an appealing entry point for long-term believers.
Why has the stock dropped? Well, its last quarterly report was solid, but management's near-term guidance was weaker than many hoped. Quarterly revenue was up 59% over year-earlier levels, with adjusted net income advancing 10.5% and topping analyst expectations. InvenSense's CFO Mark Dentinger blamed some of the weak guidance on the fact that the company has a handful of very big customers, which get volume discounts on pricing. (Apple and Samsung are estimated to generate 38% and 23% of InvenSense's revenue, respectively.) There has also been concern about uncertainty regarding how much growth can be expected from China -- and uncertain consumer sentiment in the United States, too. Dentinger has noted, though, that China still represents a "pretty sound and solid growth story," even if growth slows. In its first quarter, sales in China rose 22%, with profit margins expected to grow.
Meanwhile, InvenSense is aiming to build other revenue streams, such as in microphone and audio platforms -- and even automobiles and drones. Management also has noted rising demand for optical image stabilization in more devices. InvenSense is worth consideration for your portfolio.
Besides the clinical successes of several cancer immunotherapies over the last year or so, I think Inovio is an intriguing immunotherapy stock right now because the company is working on synthetic DNA-based vaccines that could be used to either prevent the onset of disease, or improve patient responses to immunotherapies in general.
Keeping with this theme, Inovio has teamed up with Britain's AstraZeneca to test the ability of its killer T-cell activating immunotherapy INO-3112 (VGX-3100 plus DNA-based IL-12) to improve clinical outcomes in patients with a wide variety of human papillomavirus-driven cancers, when used in combo with Astra's own experimental immunotherapeutic products.
The good news for Inovio's shareholders is that Astra has a strong track record of being aggressive when it comes to its cancer immunotherapy program, meaning that investors should know whether this combo approach works sooner rather than later.
Inovio is also planning on advancing its own lead clinical candidate, VGX-3100, into a late-stage trial for cancer and precancers of the cervix induced by the human papillomavirus next year. So, this tiny vaccine maker has multiple irons in the fire, so to speak, that could create value for shareholders over the next few years. Stay tuned.
Brian Feroldi owns shares of Amazon.com and Apple. George Budwell has no position in any stocks mentioned. Matthew Frankel owns shares of Bank of America. Sean Williams owns shares of Bank of America. Selena Maranjian owns shares of Amazon.com, Apple, Inovio Pharmaceuticals, and InvenSense. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon.com, Apple, and InvenSense. The Motley Fool owns shares of Gramercy Property Trust. The Motley Fool recommends Bank of America. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.