Penny stocks are controversial, to say the least. When it comes to these under $5 per share investment opportunities, Wall Street observers usually either love them or hate them. The penny stock-averse point out that while the bargain price tag is tempting, there could be a reason shares are trading at such low levels like poor fundamentals or insurmountable headwinds.
However, the other side of the coin has merit as well. Naturally, with these cheap tickers, you get more bang for your buck in terms of the amount of shares. On top of this, other more expensive and well-known names aren’t as likely to produce the colossal gains that penny stocks are capable of.
Given the nature of these investments, Wall Street analysts recommend doing some due diligence before pulling the trigger, noting that not all penny stocks are bound for greatness.
With this in mind, we set out our own search for compelling investments that are set to boom. Using TipRanks’ database, we pulled three penny stocks that have amassed enough analyst support to earn a “Strong Buy” consensus rating. Adding to the good news, each pick boasts over 125% upside potential.
Hyrecar, Inc. (HYRE)
We all know about the gig economy, which turned the world of freelance work upside down by using the internet to connect people with skills to jobs that needed doing. And we all know how Airbnb used a similar model in the world of short-term lodging. Hyrecar brings the online sharing model to the automotive sector, allowing vehicle owners to rent out their cars short-term, even hourly; car owners can use their cars to make money during downtime, while car renters get the convenience of a vehicle right when they need it.
Where many companies saw steep revenue drops in Q1, Hyrecar’s top line was healthy. Revenues grew 20% sequentially and 65% year-over-year, to reach $5.8 million. While EPS was negative, showing a 25 cent per share net loss, that was a 19% improvement from Q4’s 31-cent net loss. The solid revenue number and the EPS improvement were based on a 16% increase in rental days from Q4 to Q1.
At $2.25, several analysts argue that now is the time to snap up shares.
Ladenburg analyst Jon Hickman puts Hyrecar into the context of recent events, and likes the fit he sees: “Prior to early March, the company hit a weekly rental day high of more than 20,000 as vehicle supply continued to climb in line with the success of the Fleet initiative. In the days that followed (as the country shut down) through early April, weekly rental days fell to a level of 14,000, but have since begun to recover as the company focused its drivers on delivery opportunities… the company's concerted effort to help drivers sign up with such services as Door Dash, Instacart, and other delivery services (food and packages) has resulted in a notable uptick in weekly rental days, which is now trending toward 18,000.”
Believing that HYRE’s best days are in front, and that the company will see continued growth into 2021, Hickman puts a Buy rating on the stock. His $5.25 price target suggests a one-year upside potential of 133%. (To watch Hickman’s track record, click here)
Overall, Wall Street agrees that HYRE is a stock to buy. The Strong Buy analyst consensus is unanimous, based on 4 recent positive reviews, while the average price target, of $5.94, is actually more bullish than Hickman’s, implying a 171% upside potential in the coming year. (See Hyrecar stock analysis on TipRanks)
Genco Shipping, Inc. (GNK)
Next up is a small-cap shipping company, Genco. The company boasts a market cap of $207 million, along with a major asset: a modern fleet of dry bulk carriers. These ships, varying in size from 34,000-ton Handysize freighters to the giant 175,000+ ton Capemax vessels, are wholly owned and modern, with a majority of the fleet build in the past decade. Genco transports essential dry bulk cargoes such as coal, grain, iron ore, and steel around the world.
The coronavirus pandemic, with its heavy impact on trade and travel, hit Genco hard in Q1. The company saw earnings plummet, and EPS registered a 17-cent loss per share in the first quarter, a sharp turn from Q4’s 7-cent profit. At the same time, the company was able to continue streamlining its operations, including selling off three of its least profitable vessels, and took action to improve its cash position. Genco finished the quarter with $134.3 million in unrestricted cash on hand, and is negotiating a further $25 million in collateralized credit from its main lenders.
Despite the recent struggles, one analyst argues that the $4.94 price tag is a solid deal for investors.
Writing on GNK stock for Evercore ISI, Jonathan Chappell said, “GNK still retains the strongest balance sheet in the dry bulk industry… GNK should be able to build upon its cash balance, enabling it to return to the prior dividend run rate once there is more clarity on the global economic backdrop and the timing on an eventual dry bulk market recovery, while its liquidity could also render it as the market consolidator if other less-well-capitalized owners fall victim to a prolonged global recession.”
Chappell's numbers are upbeat, too. The $9 price target suggests a robust 82% upside potential, and fully supports his Buy rating on the stock. (To watch Chappell’s track record, click here)
Chappell's bullish stance on Genco Shipping is in line with Wall Street’s view. GNK has a Strong Buy consensus rating, based on 4 Buy ratings and single Hold set in recent weeks. Meanwhile, the average price target of $10.80 leaves a room for nearly 119% upside from current levels. (See Genco stock analysis on TipRanks)
Reed’s, Inc. (REED)
Reed’s, a small cap company in the craft soda markets, is best known for its ginger ale and ginger beer products. The company’s eponymous brand and product line also extends to zero-sugar sodas and ginger candy. It’s a small niche, but one with a clear path forward: Reed’s reported a 13% year-over-year sales increase in Q1 2020.
That sales increase translated into a $9.5 million top line. While EPS has been showing let losses for the past two years, those losses bottomed in Q3 2019; the Q1 number, a loss of 5 cents per share, represented the smallest loss in 9 quarters, and a 44% sequential improvement. Looking forward, the quarterly loss is expected to narrow further, to just 3 cents per share, in Q2. The positive outlook is buoyed by the 21% volume growth of the core Reed’s Ginger Ale brand in Q1.
At only $0.68 per share, some members of the Street see an attractive entry point.
Maxim analyst Anthony Vendetti writes of REED, “…the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in some slight reset delays, it has also generated robust supermarket trends, creating increased demand for REED products in grocery stores. The company continues to expand its distribution network and has increased its manufacturing capacity… REED continues to enhance its supply chain, only experiencing minimal disruptions due to COVID-19.”
Overall, based on "REED’s differentiated product offerings and continued progress," Vendetti stays with the bulls. That solid position underlies Vendetti’s Buy rating, while his $2 price target implies a whopping 194% upside potential for the year ahead. (To watch Vendetti’s track record, click here)
Like the other stocks in this article, REED has a Strong Buy consensus – and it is based on 3 Buy ratings given in the past 3 months. The shares have an average price target of $2.33, suggesting a 243% upside from current levels. (See Genco stock analysis on TipRanks)
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