I may be a week late to the "Pi Day" celebration that took place on March 14, but I'm not coming empty-handed to the party. I decided to screen for stocks trading for less than pi -- or $3.14 a share -- to see if I can find some diamonds in the rough.
Naturally, stocks trading this low are there for a reason. They're mostly broken or undiscovered stocks, and the vast majority of them will obliterate your portfolio. This is fertile soil for speculators and riverboat gamblers, and only risk-tolerant investors have any business aiming for stocks trading for less than a Happy Meal. I feel that Blue Apron Holdings (NYSE: APRN), LendingClub (NYSE: LC), and Avon Products (NYSE: AVP) may be in the small handful of low-priced stocks that can bounce back in the coming months. Let me size them up one by one.
Image source: Blue Apron Holdings.
Blue Apron Holdings -- $1.04
There hasn't been a lot of love for the meal-kit provider since it went public at $10 nearly two years ago. It obviously didn't help that sales seemed to peak shortly after its exchange-listed debut. Revenue has clocked in with double-digit percentage declines in each of the past five quarters, and that means that we're now stacking double-digit drops on top -- or, technically, below -- double-digit drops.
Blue Apron has been scaling back on its marketing costs in this cutthroat niche, but it's also milking more money out of its more lucrative customers. The number of families leaning on Blue Apron for its culinary guidance is shrinking, but average revenue per customer is inching higher as folks sticking around are placing larger orders with a sequential uptick in orders per customer.
Analysts see sales turning around next year, but that goalpost keeps moving further out with every rough quarter. Investors are still starting to sense that the worst is behind Blue Apron. As low as the price may be, Blue Apron shares have actually soared 60% since bottoming out three months ago.
LendingClub -- $2.98
The market hasn't taken a shine to peer-to-peer lending the way it has with home-sharing and ridesharing services, and that's resulted in LendingClub shedding more than 80% of its value since hitting the market at $15 in late 2014. It obviously hasn't been an easy road for LendingClub investors, and it hasn't helped that LendingClub has run into regulatory hiccups and lost its CEO to a disclosures-related scandal.
LendingClub's platform continues to grow in popularity. Loan originations hit $2.9 billion in its latest quarter, 18% ahead of the prior year's fourth quarter. Net revenue rose 16%, and the red ink is narrowing as margins improve. Its early read on 2019 is encouraging. LendingClub sees revenue rising 10% to 14% on widening margins. It expects a profit on an adjusted basis during the latter half of this year.
Avon Products -- $2.92
The world of low-priced stocks isn't exclusively a cesspool of sinking stocks. Avon Products has been one of 2019's biggest early winners. The shares have nearly doubled -- up 92% -- as investors get excited about the iconic multilevel-marketing company's "Open Up" turnaround strategy.
You're not alone if you think that Avon isn't as relevant as it was decades ago. Avon itself is scaling back its operations. Avon rallied earlier this year after announcing that it will reduce the number of items its sells, trim its inventory, and slash its payroll.
Wall Street sees revenue starting to grow again next year, and even after nearly doubling this year the stock is trading at just 14.6 times next year's projected profit and a mere 8.6 if we go out to 2021. A lot is naturally riding on its turnaround strategy, but for the first time in a long time, investors don't mind that it's Avon calling.
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