Big things sometimes come from small share prices.

That's not always what happens, of course. I've been singling out attractive opportunities in low-priced stocks since my original "5 Stocks Under $10" column nine years ago, and I've had my share of blowups fishing in these speculative waters. When you throw a line into a pond of stocks that are trading in the single digits on purpose -- since nothing happens by accident on a vigilant Wall Street -- you're going to lose your bait form time to time.

However, most of 2009 was wildly gratifying. The stocks that have been beaten down the hardest usually come back the strongest during bullish rallies, and investors have enjoyed a fortunate time to speculate since the market's lows last year.

Let's go over the five picks from last March to prove my point.

Stock

1/15/10

3/13/09

Gain

Sirius XM Radio

$0.67

$0.198

238%

Bare Escentuals

$18.07

$3.66

394%

Focus Media

$17.20

$5.74

200%

Geron

$6.10

$4.36

40%

Ford

$11.60

$2.19

430%

The average gain of 260% in just 10 months is remarkable. Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI) had braced investors for the possibility of a bankruptcy filing a month earlier. Bare Escentuals (NASDAQ:BARE) went from being an unwanted mineral-based cosmetics company to agreeing to a buyout last week for $18.20 a share in cash.

With that out of the way, let's go over this month's picks.

Smart Balance (NASDAQ:SMBL) -- $6.14
This is the time of year when we all resolve to eat better, but Smart Balance is no seasonality play. The company's flagship heart-healthy spread has gained market share in its category for 31 consecutive quarters.

The recent Motley Fool Rule Breakers newsletter service recommendation now has its sights set on a national rollout of its namesake milk. This may be a more competitive market, given the regional dairies that dominate certain markets, but the company's health-conscious brand is a huge asset here. If it takes off, consumers replace milk cartons more often than they do their buttery spread tubs.

Analysts see Smart Balance's profit doubling to $0.12 a share this year, a call that may prove conservative if its milk -- or even its recent sour cream line -- proves popular. The stock is actually trading lower since I singled it out last April, as investors have turned away from defensive sectors and hopped onto sexier growth stocks. I like the lull and the value it implies.

Mahindra Satyam (NYSE:SAY) -- $5.86
I was one of the biggest critics of Satyam Computer Services when the Indian outsourcing specialist admitted to cooking its books last year. Between the bogus financials and the likely defection of accounts, its future appeared grim.

Satyam cleaned house, but it also found a white knight in Mahindra, giving Satyam's brand a necessary credibility infusion. There will be challenges, but the IT giant has come a long way from the brink of despair over the past year.

TASER (NASDAQ:TASR) -- $6.29
Investors warmed up to TASER for a change, after the stun-gun maker announced a strong finish to 2009 earlier this month.

Three big orders (to the police departments of Chicago and Philly, as well as Brazil's Ministry of Justice) shipped out in December, leading the company to project quarterly revenue of roughly $32 million. That would represent a healthy 21% boost over the previous year's final quarter and a healthy leap over Wall Street expectations.

The pros expect better things ahead, targeting a move back to profitability in 2010 on a 19% top-line advance. Controversy -- and lawsuits -- will always follow TASER around, but the company's weapons are becoming popular in fighting crime.

TriQuint Semiconductor (NASDAQ:TQNT) -- $6.24
You've got to love a tech stock that has managed to grow its levered free cash flow at an annual compounded rate of better than 100% for five years running. The RF front-end manufacturer also raised its guidance last week after healthy demand over the holidays.

TriQuint also sees "solid revenue growth" in 2010. Despite the cheery prognosis, the stock is trading for a mere 12 times forward earnings projections.

LivePerson (NASDAQ:LPSN) -- $7.11
The Internet is a pretty amazing place, but it can feel cold and distant when someone is clicking through an online storefront or making a financial decision. LivePerson is there to lend a hand, offering access to real-time human assistance a click away.

LivePerson is giving cynics a run for their money, posting better than expected profits in each of the past three quarters. Attrition rates are improving as we head out of the recession, and the company landed two of the country's largest retailers as new accounts during the third quarter.

Analysts expect LivePerson to have finished 2009 with earnings of $0.27 a share, followed by $0.32 a share in the year ahead. Given the company's scalable model, it's hard not to like its chances of continuing to top Wall Street's guesstimates. Investors can feel the optimism, as the stock has nearly tripled since LivePerson made the cut for my April list.

Five for the road
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 Motley Fool Rule Breakers newsletter service that I write for. You can check it out for free this month with a 30-day trial subscription. There are nearly a dozen active stock recommendations in the growth stock research service trading for less than $10 at the moment, including Smart Balance. Check those out, and I'll be back with more on the third Monday of next month.

Smart Balance and Bare Escentuals are Motley Fool Rule Breakers picks. Ford Motor is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz wonders how many people know that Alexander Hamilton is the guy on the $10 bill. Rick owns no shares in any of the stocks in this article and 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.