There's nothing wrong with low-priced stocks -- as long as they're the right low-priced stocks.

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 generate incredible gains.

There are risks, and they are readily apparent given the recent volatility. There are often good reasons for stocks to be ignored or beaten down. However, a market rally can work wonders for the unloved with positive catalysts in their pockets.

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

Stock

8/13/10

3/13/09

Gain

Sirius XM Radio

$1.00

$0.198

405%

Bare Escentuals*

$18.20

$3.66

397%

Focus Media

$17.70

$5.74

208%

Geron

$5.12

$4.36

17%

Ford

$12.15

$2.19

455%

* Bare Escentuals was acquired for $18.20 a share earlier this year.

The average gain of 296% in just 17 months is remarkable. Sirius XM Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI) had braced investors for the possibility of a bankruptcy filing a month earlier. Now it's a thriving media giant with four quarters of breakeven results under its belt. Ford (NYSE: F) may have been the better-positioned stateside automaker, but no one was buying cars at the time. It's a whole new world now, with Sirius XM gaining subscribers and new auto sales growing nicely month after month at Ford.

Let's go over this month's picks.

Brocade (Nasdaq: BRCD) -- $4.91
Mr. Market can be a forgetful beast, even when it comes to data storage. Shares of Brocade are trading near a 52-week low heading into Wednesday's quarterly report.

You don't want to bet against Brocade on the earnings stage. You have to go all the way back to 2005 to find the last time the tech wreck didn't beat Wall Street's consensus profit estimate.

Yes, the fact that Brocade has still been slammed despite perpetually landing ahead of the pros doesn't make this a slam dunk. It's not a perfect company. Wall Street sees top-line growth in the single digits in fiscal 2010 and fiscal 2011. There are certainly faster growers if companies are ramping up their IT spending.

However, with earnings pegged to hit $0.59 a share this year and $0.63 a share next year, Brocade presents a tempting value given its forward profit multiple in the single digits.

China Finance Online (Nasdaq: JRJC) -- $7.95
I singled out this investing research provider nearly a year ago in this column, but let's take another look at this Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. CFO had its share of stumbles last year -- trading lower over the past year -- as premium subscriptions stalled as individual investors grew weary of buoyant Chinese equities.

It's been a kinder climate for CFO lately. The Chinese dot-com rocked in its previous quarter. Revenue soared 30%, more than twice what analysts were expecting. CFO also posted a healthy profit, as the pros were braced for a widening deficit.

Investors will get another chance to weigh the company when it reports its quarterly results Thursday. If premium subscriptions keep heading in the right direction and its ad-based revenue improves, CFO may not be in single digits for much longer.

Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: KERX) -- $4.56
Investors willing to be patient for potentially potent paydays may warm up to Keryx. It's hard to judge the nascent biotech by last week's report; it generated absolutely no revenue, as it continues to invest in its pipeline.

This isn't just a random wager. Keryx is conducting late-stage clinical trials on Zerenex -- its most prolific pipeline drug -- as a treatment for high phosphate levels. It's also hoping that its perifosine bears clinical testing fruit as a treatment for multiple myeloma and colorectal cancer.

The approval process can be tedious and the failure rates are high. However, Keryx is collecting lottery tickets. Given its small size of just over $200 million in market capitalization, a single blockbuster can go a long way.

MannKind (Nasdaq: MNKD) -- $6.53
If you prefer your early stage biotechs a little closer to pay dirt, MannKind may be up your alley. The company's hitching its wagon to Afrezza, an inhalable form of insulin. This could obviously be a huge drug -- especially for diabetics who have tired of needle pricks -- but it has to win commercial approval first.

It won't be easy, as bigger pharmaceuticals have tried and failed. However, MannKind persuaded two beefy investors to commit to buy as many as 36.4 million shares in a move to raise cash and pay down debt. Sure, one of those two groups is controlled by MannKind's own CEO, but that adds more weight to the argument that an insider is willing to swap out debt for equity.

Joe's Jeans (Nasdaq: JOEZ) -- $1.81
Let's get down with denim. The maker of premium jeans saw its revenue soar 51% last quarter, as the company expanded its retail footprint. Earnings went the other way, but let's give the benefit of the doubt to the heady expansion. Joe's says the seven new stores it opened during the quarter were profitable within 30 days.

Joe's jeans aren't cheap, so its fate rests on the shoulders (hips?) of improving discretionary income and the growing allure of its brand. However, despite the margin crunch of expanding into lower-priced clothing items and ramping up its distribution, Joe's remains profitable.

At a share price where it would take a round lot (100 shares) to buy a pair of its jeans, it's a worthy value to cap off this month's list of recommendations.

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 subscription, starting today. There are nearly a dozen active stock recommendations in the growth stock research service trading for less than $10 at the moment, including China Finance Online. Check those out, and I'll be back with more on the third Monday of next month.

China Finance Online is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Ford Motor is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. 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. Rick 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.