A Spanish-language TV broadcaster…a shale-oil-sand company…a biotech firm with a potential cure for prostate cancer. Many investors have never heard of these companies or want nothing to do with them because their share prices are under $10. When a stock trades that low, Wall Street analysts typically don’t follow the company, and many pension funds and mutual funds won’t touch it. But stock-picking expert Hilary Kramer says that despite their low prices, these types of businesses can offer solid balance sheets, healthy business models and promising growth prospects, making them bargains in a late-stage bull market where very few stocks are cheap anymore.
Here are 10 of Hilary Kramer’s favorite stocks under $10, divided into two categories that she focuses on…
These companies usually are small, with market capitalizations ranging from just a few hundred million to two billion dollars. They draw little attention either because they operate in unglamorous niches or because investors don’t yet realize their potential for growth.
• Entravision Communications (EVC) is a leading Spanish-language media company that operates television and radio stations mostly in the Southwest US. Investors are nervous that TV broadcasters in general will continue to see declining advertising revenue as more viewers migrate to the Internet. But Entravision is likely to expand faster than the rest of the TV industry because the US Hispanic population is growing at about three times the rate of the rest of the population. Recent share price: $4.94.
• Magic Software Enterprises (MGIC) is an Israeli information-technology company specializing in cloud-computing applications. It helps large companies integrate the dozens of different kinds of software they use and makes sure workers can access it all seamlessly over the Internet on smartphones and other mobile devices. Its products are becoming vital tools for millions of employees at global companies including Adidas, Boeing, Coca-Cola and Toyota. Recent share price: $8.28.
• Republic First Bancorp (FRBK). Local and regional US banks are likely to be stock market leaders in the coming years. That’s because they’re priced more cheaply than larger, nationally known banks and have historically outperformed in periods when the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates. This bank, with 23 locations in the greater Philadelphia area and about $2 billion in total assets, is growing its lending and overall assets at a 20%-to-30% annual rate. Recent share price: $6.75.
• Smart Sand (SND). Crush-resistant quartz sand is a critical component of the fracking industry, helping to prop open the fractures that drillers create in underground shale rock to allow oil and natural gas to flow out of the rock and into wells. This company owns one of the nation’s largest specialized-sand deposits, located in Wisconsin. Higher energy prices mean demand for fracking sand is expected to grow nearly 40% annually over the next few years. Recent share price: $2.77.
• TherapeuticsMD (TXMD) makes drugs targeted to women, a potentially lucrative area of the pharmaceutical industry that doesn’t get much attention from investors. Until recently, the company’s only product was prescription prenatal vitamins sold through obstetricians. But its profits should swell over the next few years, thanks to its new FDA-approved product, Imvexxy, a low-dose estrogen therapy to provide relief from vaginal pain for postmenopausal women, as well as a strong pipeline of other hormone therapy drugs in late-stage clinical trials. Recent share price: $4.89.
• Tyme Technologies (TYME) is a biotechnology company with a treatment called SM-88 that is a potential blockbuster in the fight against multiple types of cancer, offering a less toxic alternative to traditional treatments. Investors have shown limited interest because the science is complex, the company just went public in 2015 and SM-88 does not have FDA approval. Betting on not-yet-approved drugs is never a sure thing, but SM-88 has shown promising results in Phase II clinical trials for pancreatic and prostate cancers. Recent share price: $2.24.
These are once-high-flying stocks that suffered significant setbacks and saw their share prices and market capitalizations plunge. The companies are still being punished for negative headlines—but they’ve resolved many of their problems and found new catalysts for growth.
• Aegon (AEG). This Dutch financial-services provider is one of the leading insurance and asset-management companies in the world. It trades at a significant discount to other major life insurers because of past troubles—the company needed a three-billion-euro bailout during the 2007–2009 global recession. But Aegon has repaid its bail-out money and now derives about 60% of its revenue from its faster-growing US subsidiary, Transamerica Financial. Recent share price: $6.08.
• Halcón Resources (HK). During the US fracking boom from 2010 to 2014, this oil and natural gas driller traded for as much as $2,200 per share. When oil prices collapsed, it was caught with too much financial leverage and went bankrupt. Halcón emerged a leaner, more disciplined company in 2016 focused on the Permian Basin in West Texas, where it’s far less costly to drill than in shale rock basins in other states. With oil prices more than doubling since early 2016 and likely to trend higher, the company is positioned to ramp up production quickly and affordably. Recent share price: $3.32.
• PDL BioPharma (PDLI) doesn’t make money like conventional biotech firms do by developing drugs and bringing them to market. Instead, it acquires small, undervalued firms and biotech products that already have FDA approval. It also earns royalties by licensing out its patents on early-stage drugs to major pharmaceutical companies. In recent years, many of its patents expired, royalty payments shrank, and investors moved on. But PDLI BioPharma still is sitting on more than a half billion dollars in cash and is improving earnings growth thanks to its newest flagship product, the popular hypertension drug Tekturna. Recent share price: $2.49.
• Sumitomo Mitsui Financial (SMFG), Japan’s second-largest bank, with the equivalent of $1.7 trillion in assets, saw its stock fall 75% during the 2007–2009 global recession. But shares have become so cheap that even a slight improvement in profits will send the price much higher. That makes Sumitomo an attractive way to play Japan’s recent economic resurgence. The world’s third-largest economy expanded at an annualized pace of 3% in the second quarter of 2018…Japanese wages are rising at the fastest pace in more than two decades…and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to continue the government’s massive spending and fiscal stimulus measures. All of this should boost the performance of Sumitomo’s commercial-banking, consumer-finance and wealth-management divisions. The dividend yield was recently 4%. Recent share price: $7.75.