In these belt-tightening Dollar Menu days, it's good to know that there are still plenty of low-priced stocks that have the potential to give you more bang for your buck.
I've been singling out attractive stocks that happen to be trading in the single digits, dating all the way back to my original "5 Stocks Under $10" column seven years ago. Naturally, there are beefy risks here. You don't trade for less than a Hamilton unless you have either done something wrong or have failed to be recognized for doing something right.
Many of my picks will never make it out of the gutter, but the upside is explosive for those that do break out. Let's go over this month's list.
Market sentiment has turned on Chinese travel portals. Even the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing are being spun as a negative, with limited hotel availability crimping the commission-generating potential. eLong has never been a market darling, but even niche leader Ctrip.com
So why believe in eLong? Well, let's start with its yuan-stocked balance sheet. The company isn't trading for much more than its $6.27 a share in cash. It isn't posting the revenue gains or even the profitability of larger rival Ctrip, but travel in China is going to be a booming business for several more years.
This isn't just about the Olympics. If anything, the global spotlight will hopefully do more to stir up demand for future travel in China than just the near-term flurry this summer.
Known as Website Pros until this month's name change, Web.com is a one-stop shop for companies looking to establish a Web presence. From site-building tools to search-engine optimization and lead generation, the company does it all.
An iffy economy may inspire displaced workers to get entrepreneurial in cyberspace. The company's most recent quarter was strong, with revenue soaring 88%. Margins weren't as kind, though adjusted earnings still rose a respectable 33% to $0.16 a share. As a bonus, the company's growth business and juicy dot-com real estate like Web.com and Leads.com make it a possible buyout candidate.
Biotech investors know what they’re getting into when they dabble in the single-digit waters: losses and long approval processes for promising drugs. VIVUS fits the bill. You have to go all the way back to 2002 to find the last time that VIVUS traded in the double digits, and it didn't stay there long.
However, VIVUS had encouraging news last week on its Qnexa diabetes drug. During a mid-stage trial, a study had it both reducing blood sugar and inspiring weight loss in patients with type 2 diabetes. It's still a long way to the end of the approval tunnel, but it's good news for patient biotech investors.
The name is hokey. The business model of moving jewelry items via auction is questionable. However, it's hard to argue against results. The Bidz.com landing page -- which launches visitors immediately into a sea of jewelry auctions that are about to end -- is addictive.
Don't take my word for it. Let the numbers speak for themselves. Revenue and earnings grew by 39% and 34% respectively this past quarter, well ahead of the pace of conventional jewelers and even online darling Blue Nile
Many mall retailers are struggling, but surf and skate champ Quiksilver is riding a healthier wave. It posted a surprising $0.30-a-share profit from continuing operations this past quarter. The company is also doing very well in Europe, where economies are holding up better.
Retail can be fickle, but that is all the more reason to join Quiksilver's team after a strong, blowout quarter.
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 this month with a 30-day trial subscription. There are more than half a dozen active stock 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.