My little pond has become an ocean.
At least that's the way I feel these days, as more and more stocks fall into single digits, giving this monthly column a bigger pool to fish from.
I've been singling out attractive low-priced stocks since my original "5 Stocks Under $10" column eight years ago. There are risks aplenty in scouring the single-digit minefields, but there are clearly rewards to be had for those who choose correctly.
Let's go over the list.
The smartphone pioneer is on fire these days. The stock was one of last week's biggest winners -- up a healthy 33% in an otherwise slumping market -- and that is on top of the buzz building from the previous week's Consumer Electronics Show.
Even cynics who left Palm for dead are feeling a pulse, maybe because of last month's rollout of its own version of the iTunes App Store and this month's one-two punch of the Nova Web-based smartphone operating system and the Pre smartphone.
All of this in concert doesn't mean that Palm will rub elbows with the BlackBerry and the iPhone crowds. It doesn't have to. The way that the smartphone market is growing, it simply needs to stay alive with a respectable sliver of the market. All of the recent announcements give it a chance, even if that chance is still a long shot.
Video games remain a growth industry. Industry watcher NPD Group estimates that the country snapped up $21.3 billion in systems, software, and accessories in 2008, a healthy advance over the $18 billion spent in 2007.
Take-Two helped lead the way on the software side, with the blockbuster success of its Grand Theft Auto IV title. Take-Two has fallen out of favor, though, because Wall Street is concerned about the company's near-term earnings prospects and the fallout over the failed buyout by Electronic Arts
It's understandable. Take-Two earned $2.08 a share in fiscal 2008 (which ended in October) but is slated to turn a profit of just $0.11 a share this year. Its chief operating officer resigned last week after just a few months on the job. However, analysts see earnings jumping to $1.00 next fiscal year, giving the stock an attractive valuation based on that year's proposed multiples. It also gives Take-Two time to pull another hit or two out of its hat.
Chinese travel portal eLong hasn't been growing as quickly as market leader Ctrip.com
eLong closed out the third quarter with $150.5 million in cash. The company has 49.6 million shares outstanding, but each stateside-trading American depositary share represents two shares. In other words, eLong's clean balance sheet is packing $6.07 a share in cash. If the company is able to turn the corner and become a profitable entity, investors can pick it up today for practically nothing above its liquidity.
I've never been much of a gold bug, though I can appreciate the rising popularity of previous metals as an inflation hedge in recent years. Eldorado is profitable and growing nicely. Investors will get another glimpse into the company's inner workings when it reports next month.
There's a buzz building around the big-screen maker lately. Shares of IMAX have nearly doubled since bottoming out two months ago. The company's income statements have been a mess in recent quarters, but the migration to digital screens -- coupled with new distribution deals with many of the major studios -- make IMAX a way to give cash-starved movie exhibitors new ways to milk more money out of films.
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. There are more than a half-dozen active recommendations in the growth stock research service trading for less than $10, including IMAX and Take-Two Interactive. Check those out, and I'll be back with more on the third Monday of next month.
Ctrip.com International is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation. Take-Two Interactive Software and IMAX are Rule Breakers picks. Electronic Arts is a Stock Advisor recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz wonders how many people know that Alexander Hamilton is the one on the 10-dollar 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.