A few bucks can go a long way these days, even on Wall Street.
I've long been singling out attractive stocks that are trading in the single digits, all the way back to my original "5 Stocks Under $10" column more than seven years ago. Although there are some stocks worth looking at here, there are risks involved when you dive into this territory. Stocks don't trade for the lowly price of roughly two gallons of gasoline by accident. Some stocks have fallen hard. Others deserve to remain undiscovered.
In short, one has to approach this list knowing that a few of these stocks may blow up, in the pursuit of the one big winner that will make everything worthwhile. Let's go over this month's list.
I can't believe that this wedding-planning website is a swinging single again. Shares fetched as much as $32.18 apiece in February 2007. The company had been on fire, since everyone knows that fretting fiancees need a little guidance in spending a ton of money to make their weddings magical.
But things have slowed lately. Even though online advertising is still growing, profits have gone the other way, as crunched margins and lackluster progress in its online bridal-registry business have kept investors from kissing this bride.
The good news is that the market's apathy has pushed down the stock's valuation. The Knot is now trading for slightly less than 20 times next year's hosed-down analyst guesstimates. A teen bride that's still a niche leader? I like it.
One of the dot-com realm's misunderstood stocks is Travelzoo. It's not a travel booking website like Priceline.com
The company has been rattling off horrendous quarters lately, but that's largely the result of taking a hit to grow its overseas presence. A company can't use international losses to offset domestic profitability gains, so the company's finances -- although imperfect -- aren't as bad as the bottom line suggests. The overseas push is working, too: The company now has more than a million subscribers in the United Kingdom. Heading into Thursday's quarterly report is likely to bring another dud of a report, but eventually the company is going to turn itself around globally. The turnaround may very well begin on Thursday.
Sticking with the busted travel sites, Orbitz is trading for just a third of last year's IPO price. A bad stock is unattractive at any price, but Orbitz remains a huge brand in online travel bookings. Sure, it lacks the sizzle of Priceline's marketing, fiscal performance, and "no booking fees" magnetism, but Orbitz is simply unloved and oversold at this point.
If it doesn't right its wrongs, Orbitz would make a no-brainer acquisition by a larger portal or a private-equity firm. It's virtually a win-win scenario.
Even black-draped Goths deserve a little sunshine now and then. The edgy specialty retailer has been battered in recent years, but the bleeding is starting to let up. Comps are starting to stabilize. Hot Topic has even topped Wall Street's profit targets in back-to-back quarters.
Even if recent executive moves are suspect, the numbers tell a different story. You can't spell emo without mo, and Hot Topic is gradually starting to get some.
Sirius Satellite Radio
It's crunch time for satellite radio. If the FCC doesn't approve the controversial merger with XM Satellite Radio
The dirt-cheap price tells you what the market thinks. New-car sales are sputtering in this economy, and new cars are this industry's prime sales outlet. There are also many challenges to the medium, including the wider availability of free Internet radio. Yes, Sirius is a risky pick, but it also comes with plenty of discounted upside if it's able to turn its business and its nearly 9 million subscribers into a profitable venture.
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 service. You can check it out for free this month with a 30-day trial subscription. There are more than a half-dozen active stock recommendations in the growth-stock research service trading for less than $10 at the moment, including The Knot. Check those out, and I'll be back with more next month.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz wonders how many people know that Alexander Hamilton is the guy 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.