Small share prices can lead to big gains.

Naturally, it doesn't typically pan out that way. 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 seen plenty of stocks with pocket-change prices that were ultimately worth far less than even that.

However, the past few months have been wildly gratifying. It's usually the stocks that have been beaten down the hardest that come back the strongest during bullish rallies, and since early March, it has been a fortunate time to speculate.

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

Pick

Feb. 12, 2010

March 13, 2009

Gain

Sirius XM Radio

$0.8917

$0.198

350%

Bare Escentuals

$18.17

$3.66

396%

Focus Media

$14.17

$5.74

147%

Geron

$5.64

$4.36

29%

Ford

$11.12

$2.19

408%

The average gain of 266% in less than a year 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 month for $18.20 a share in cash.

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

Dice Holdings (NYSE:DHX) -- $6.31
There is consolidation taking place in the online job listings industry, making this a great time for Dice. Unlike larger rivals that serve as a place for all want ads, Dice takes an industry-targeted approach. eFinancialCareers.com, ClearanceJobs.com, and AllHealth careJobs.com post openings in the financial services, security clearance, and health-care sectors.

The deep dive is worth it, because Dice is able to specialize and build communities around its sites (as it has with its flagship tech jobs hub Dice.com).

The recession hasn't been kind to the want ad sites. Dice's revenue took a 25% hit in the latest quarter, compared with a year ago. However, the company is squarely profitable. Analysts see the dot-com earning $0.21 a share this year before hopping back on the growth track with a profit of $0.34 a share for 2011. Given Dice's upside and buyout potential, and the fact that it's fetching just shy of 19 times next year's earnings, it's worth looking at.

Orthovita (NASDAQ:VITA) -- $3.62
Biotechs trading in the single digits are usually companies with potential blockbuster treatments that are several years away from completing clinical trials. Orthovita is different. It's an orthobiologics specialist with several products on the market.

The buzz that made Orthovita a recent Motley Fool Rule Breakers newsletter service recommendation is Cortoss. The biological compound can be used to fill in cracks and voids in vertebrae fractured as a result of injury, osteoporosis, or cancer. It recently received approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

Orthovita's past is a profitless one, but Wall Street is expecting the company to turn the corner this year.

China Real Estate Information (NASDAQ:CRIC) -- $9.43
Mr. Market has been cruel to recent IPOs. China Real Estate Info went public at $12 a pop in October, and now it has fallen into our single-digit laps.

It shouldn't be that way. China Real Estate Information is a market research combination of the country's largest real estate agency and one of China's top online media companies. The projected growth is explosive. Analysts see revenue and earnings rising 64% and 57%, respectively, this year, yet the stock trades for a mere 20 times projected forward profits.

Investors are concerned, especially given China's recent actions to cool down its overheated real estate market. Then again, isn't that the time when research and related services will be even more valuable? I certainly think so.

HealthGrades (NASDAQ:HGRD) -- $4.62
When folks want to check up on a new doctor or find the ideal nursing home for their parents, they often turn to HealthGrades. With the company providing independent health-care ratings, consumers can check the scores of hospitals, physicians, nursing homes, and prescription drugs.

HealthGrades is another underappreciated growth stock. The company will post fourth-quarter results tomorrow. The pros peg 2009 earnings growth at 47%, with a 31% increase on the top line. It shouldn't be a fluke, since they see net income rising another 32% this year. Wall Street has actually underestimated HealthGrades' earnings power in each of the two previous quarters, so this bodes well for tomorrow morning's report.

Shanda Games (NASDAQ:GAME) -- $8.79
In the mood for another 2009 busted IPO out of China? Shanda Games went public last year as one of the country's biggest players in the booming online gaming space. If toiling away in a country 1.3 billion strong isn't enough of an opportunity to chew on, Shanda is making a global push with last month's acquisition of online Flash-based games specialist Mochi Media.

Profitability isn't a problem. Wall Street believes the company earned $0.78 a share in 2009 and will come through with net income of $0.92 a share in 2010. Work the math. Shanda Games is a fast-growing company that isn't just trading in the single digits: Its forward P/E multiple of 9.6 also prices it with a single-digit valuation.

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

Orthovita is a Rule Breakers pick. Ford Motor is a Stock Advisor pick. 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 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.