Let me kill the suspense.
I'm not going to name Bear Stearns
I've been doing this for a long time. My original "5 Stocks Under $10" column dates all the way back to 2001. Scouring for stocks that trade at price points this low is risky. There is usually a good reason for a stock to be battered or ignored.
However, risk-tolerant investors will find opportunities here. Let's unearth another five this month.
There was a time when TheStreet.com was as hot as one of Jim Cramer's on-air rants. Things have cooled after last month's disappointing fourth-quarter report. Revenue and earnings may have grown by 38% and 19%, respectively, but there was a lot not to like in the report.
Whether it was the year-over-year decline in premium subscription revenue or the dilutive preferred stock offering, The Street investors are now banking on Internet advertising to be a growth driver, at a time when many financial services providers that usually battle for sponsored exposure are buckling at the knees.
I don't buy it. Sure, this will be a near-term sting, but this industry is all about exaggerated gyrations to Mr. Market's ups and downs. The stock is now trading at just 14 times this year's profit target and around 11 times next year's estimate. That's too juicy a valuation to pass up in the financial journalism industry, which I have an obviously biased opinion on.
Here's another buying opportunity that fell smack dab onto my radar. Until last week, Build-A-Bear had never closed in the single digits. The once-promising 2004 IPO has crashed hard, in a move telegraphed through several quarters of free-falling comps.
That is death for any retailer, especially one as trendy as Build-A-Bear, where kids create their own stuffed animals that are born before their very eyes. Shareholders bailed on the company last week, no doubt upset that the company's review of strategic alternatives failed to smoke out a buyer.
I'm not going to suggest that Build-A-Bear can become popular again under its old model. The birthday parties and giddy toddlers have moved on. However, I do like that the company is finally taking its Bearville virtual community more seriously. Toy brands like Webkinz, Barbie, and Bratz have successfully blended physical purchases with online experiences. It's long overdue, but Build-A-Bear has a shot to make this work. Now trading at just seven to eight times earnings, it's still a big gamble because deteriorating comps will ultimately eat away at both profitability and share price. Then again, online success can also lead to big rewards for a big gamble.
In looking for the perfect headline to sum up Texas Roadhouse's disappointing quarterly report last month, I had little choice but to go with "Texas Chain Saw Massacre," given the weak guidance and scaled-back expansion plans.
Texas Roadhouse is still growing. Even its outlook for 2008 calls for profits to climb 5% to 15%. That may seem a bit lethargic in justifying the company's earnings multiple in the teens, but that also ignores the eventual recovery in the restaurant industry. Once earnings growth and expansion ramps up again, Texas Roadhouse will seem dirt cheap in retrospect.
An online travel site in fast-growing China? The Olympic Games in Beijing as the cherry on top? Unfortunately, eLong hasn't lived up to the hype. It is growing a lot slower than industry leader Ctrip.com
Thankfully, eLong has plenty of time to get it right. It isn't trading for much more than the $6.24 per ADS in cash on its balance sheet. That should help limit the downside in the near term as it discovers the best way to ride the growing interest of travel in a once-dormant country with 1.3 billion potential travelers.
Maybe you've seen the Smart Balance spread -- a supposedly healthier alternative to both butter and margarine -- at your local supermarket. The company has recently expanded to put out heart-healthy peanut butter, cooking oil, and mayonnaise.
Smart Balance is growing. The company expects a 30% spurt in net sales this year. Losses have been brutal, giving us an attractive entry point as the company expands the reach of its healthy foodstuffs.
Five for the road
Turnarounds never happen overnight. These five stocks aren't trading in the single digits by accident. If I'm right about the catalysts, though, they may not be trading in the single digits for too much longer.
Finding promising stocks while they're still cutting their baby teeth is at the heart of the Rule Breakers newsletter. You can check it out for free with a 30-day trial. There are a dozen recommendations in the growth stock research service trading for less than $10 at the moment. Check those out, and I'll be back with more next month.
Ctrip is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems stock pick. Yes, a 30-day free trial will keep you going until next month's installment.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz wonders how many people know that Alexander Hamilton is the one on the $10 bill. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.