The occasional shower of pennies from heaven might do our bank accounts some good. Alas, Fools can't say the same for penny stocks. They're often subject to manipulation and deceit, making it harder for investors to separate the few good offerings from the multitude best ignored.

Still, many investors enjoy dabbling at the low end of the stock-price spectrum. At Motley Fool CAPS, a "penny stock" is any stock trading under $10, and you'll find some of the best CAPS All-Stars regularly seeking out winning investments there. We identify them with a penny icon.

Pinching pennies
This week, we'll look at some of the low-priced investments the CAPS community has singled out as those with the best chances of success by bestowing four- and five-star ratings on them. We just might want to turn our umbrellas upside-down!

Here are three low-priced stocks enjoying high CAPS support: 


Recent Price

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Return on Capital

Heckmann (NYSE: HEK)




Micron Technology (NYSE: MU)








These three companies are low-priced, but that isn't necessarily enough to suggest they'll have an easier time recording big gains. Low-priced stocks are often low-priced for a reason. We have to check and see what their catalysts for growth might be before diving in to the shallow end of the stock pool.

Your two cents' worth
Invariably, when a Chinese small-cap RTO stock is called out as a fraud these days and the stock plummets, some shareholders cling to the notion that the accuser is wrong and is short the stock, just trying to make a quick buck from the devastation that ensues. Besides, there's often "smart money" that has invested big bucks in Chinese small caps, and they've undoubtedly done their due diligence on their positions.

Chinese fertilizer maker Yongye International (Nasdaq: YONG), for example, got a big boost when Morgan Stanley agreed to invest a truckload of money in the company despite claims of fraud. China MediaExpress was another that had the savvy investors at Starr International buying in. But that's no guarantee of righteousness. China MediaExpress was subsequently delisted and now trades on the Pink Sheets.

Heckmann is no wet-behind-the-ears investor, yet it was hoodwinked by China Water & Drinks, which took it for millions. It subsequently had to restate its own financials because the Chinese drink company is alleged to have been a fraud.

Still, the exception proves the rule, and Heckmann has generally proved itself an adept investor, attracting CAPS members who like its success. Almost 98% of those rating the company believe it will outperform the broad market averages. Add Heckmann to the Fool's free portfolio tracker, and then head over to the Heckmann CAPS page and tell us whether you think it's special, too.

Win some, lose some
Computer sales tend to be slack during the summer, so seasonal weakness among chipmakers such as Micron Technology is nothing new. But analysts are worried that the sector may face secular softness, and that's pushed shares of semiconductor companies down sharply. Micron's stock is down 20% over the past month, Rambus (Nasdaq: RMBS) is down 10%, and SanDisk (Nasdaq: SNDK) is off 7%.

But there's more at play between Micron and Rambus as the two battle each other in court. Last month, Micron and Hynix Semiconductor won a federal appeals court ruling that said Rambus shredded documents in its patent-infringement cases against the memory-chip makers. Yesterday, though, a California Superior Court judge ruled that the jury in an antitrust lawsuit can't be instructed about the document destruction.  However, the defendants will be allowed to present evidence on this in court.  

CAPS member cdubey believes Micron has the financial wherewithal to survive the market's vagaries.

- Very undervalued compared to the industry PE=5.8 PS=1!

… Very good balance sheet.

- Will do well in short term at least.

Follow along on whether Micron can chip away at its rivals by adding its stock to your watchlist.

A good bet
The allure of private-label products has been a tried-and-true success at grocery chains such as Kroger as well as discount mass merchandisers such as Target (NYSE: TGT). My cart is typically filled with mostly Great Value products when I shop at Wal-Mart.

So it's no surprise that store brands are becoming a source of focus at SUPERVALU as it expands its Save-a-Lot chain (for which it hired away a former Wal-Mart executive to head up). Save-a-Lot Today will be part of the grocery chain's private-label program, joining Essential Everyday, which will replace current store brands on the shelves at Albertson's and the company's other chains.

CAPS All-Star member xserver thinks if SUPERVALU pays down its debt, it will be in the express line for growth. You can tell whether the grocery-store chain is succeeding by adding the stock to the Fool's free portfolio tracker and following along on its progress.

Penny for your thoughts
Should we fill up the change jar with these penny stocks, or ignore 'em like a discarded coin on the street? Consult our free CAPS investor-intelligence community, where your two cents really count.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Heckmann, Yongye International, Wal-Mart, and SUPERVALU. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Yongye International and Wal-Mart, creating a diagonal call position in Wal-Mart, and buying calls in SUPERVALU. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. 

Fool contributor Rich Duprey has no financial position in any of the stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.