If you’re on a budget, yet in a risk-tolerant mood, it’s worth taking a look at penny stocks – companies whose shares sell for less than $5 apiece. Here you get a lot more for your money; For example, buying a single share of Amazon will set you back $1,865, but if you wanted to spend the equivalent amount on a stock worth $3, you could load up on 621 shares of company x.
Is it worth it though? Of course, the risk is a lot higher and there’s a chance you could lose the whole investment. Some might not even call it an investment, but rather a speculative shot at massive gains. Still, the possibility of returns is real. While the low price is a put off for some, it could also mean that company x is significantly undervalued and poised to reward the intrepid investor with mighty returns in the future. Like anything else, it’s picking the right one that’s the hard part.
Here’s where we call on the pros. TipRanks’ Stock Screener tool was able to filter through thousands of stocks to identify those not only trading under $3 a piece, but also ones which have been making waves on the Street as of late. We found three, that according to the analysts, all show promising signs of making their way out of the penny stocks category and into larger cap territory soon enough. On top of this, each has enormous room for growth, and furthermore, all presently have a “Strong Buy” consensus rating from the Street. Here’s the lowdown.
MannKind Corporation (MNKD)
Let’s start off with the cheapest stock on our list, MannKind Corporation. Shares of the small-cap biotech are currently selling for $1.51. The diabetes-focused company has a market cap of $312 million, but looking back to the mid 2010’s, MannKind was worth almost $4 billion. So, what happened since then?
Bad financial practices combined with underwhelming sales have seen the company lose favor with investors. However, according to Oppenheimer’s Steven Lichtman, MannKind has been steering itself to safety over the last couple of years.
Lichtman initiated coverage of MannKind with an Outperform rating and set a price target of $2.50. The figure suggests a possible gain of 66% over the coming months. (To watch Lichtman’s track record, click here)
MNKD has one approved FDA treatment on the market: Afrezza. It’s a device which consists of a dry powder formulation of human insulin that is delivered through a portable inhaler. The superfast mealtime insulin’s goal is to improve post-meal glucose control without increasing the risk of hypoglycemia. Although it’s popular with the few who use it, part of its problem has been the lack of insurance for its users. The company has been working with payers and, additionally, new data has helped prescription growth. According to Lichtman, shifting mealtime insulin users away from “tough competitors" towards Afrezza remains key for its success.
Lichtman said, “MNKD management has taken steps over the past couple of years to accelerate Afrezza (insulin delivery) sales and diversify using its core Technosphere drug delivery platform. Successes have included continued solid data behind Afrezza and a new partnership with United Therapeutics (UTHR) using Technosphere in UTHR's PAH drugs... While we have not yet seen an inflection in new prescriptions, prescriptions have been steadily increasing, the pipeline around MNKD’s core Technosphere technology has increased and the company's efforts to restructure cash commitments have improved the risk/reward on the shares, in our view.”
The Street is currently quiet when it comes to MNKD’s prospects. Those that have been taking note, though, remain bullish on its future. 3 Buy ratings add up to a Strong Buy consensus rating. The average price target is identical to Lichtman’s, $2.50, and therefore also indicates upside potential of 66%. (See MannKind stock analysis on TipRanks)
Soleno Therapeutics Inc. (SLNO)
This rare disease-focused biopharma had an excellent 2019, adding 72% to its share price along the way. It still only has a $2.85 price per share and market cap of $127 million, but if the analysts on the Street have their way, Soleno will continue its upward trend in 2020 and most likely won’t remain a micro-cap for long.
Soleno is currently concentrating on its lead product candidate, DCCR (diazoxide choline controlled-release), a tablet for the treatment of PWS (Prader-Willi Syndrome). The disease is a rare genetic disorder which can cause a wide range of physical symptoms, learning difficulties and behavioral problems. It can also bring on an excessive appetite which can lead to obesity.
Oppenheimer’s Leland Gershall believes Soleno has a lot more left in the tank following its rise last year. The 5-star analyst recently initiated coverage on the biopharma with an Outperform rating and set a price target of $10. Should the target be met, investors could pocket gains of 251% in the year ahead. (To watch Gershell’s track record, click here)
Leland noted, “DCCR has demonstrated clinical proof-of-concept in PWS, and active ingredient has a long record of human safety. A Phase 3 registration trial will report top-line results in 1H20, for which KOLs are favorable. While the PWS category features several late-stage candidates, our physician consultants regard their distinct mechanisms and delivery formats as providing ample opportunity for each. With just a $65 million enterprise value, we like the risk-reward and recommend building a position ahead of the Phase 3 reveal.”
In a similar vein to MannKind, Soleno has three analysts currently tracking its progress, and all are resoundingly effusive. A Strong Buy consensus rating breaks down into Buys only. Upside of 216% could be in the cards should Soleno reach the average price target of $9 over the next 12 months. (See Soleno stock analysis on TipRanks)
Marinus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (MRNS)
Marinus is another company with a singular focus and bargain price tag, $2.26 to be exact. The biotech currently has one clinical stage candidate, ganaxolone (GNX), a neuropsychiatric therapy with various indications including epilepsy and other drug resistant neuropsychiatric disorders.
In December, the company announced updates from its programs in tuberous sclerosis complex, or TSC, CDKL5 deficiency disorder, or CDD, and PCDH19-related epilepsy. Highlights included data from the PCDH19-related epilepsy Phase 2 trial which showed patients with low levels of allopregnanolone-sulfate (Allo-S) exhibited improved ganaxolone responses. Following the data readout, Marinus performed a biomarker analysis to identify other rare genetic epilepsies that may benefit from the GABAA-receptor modulatory effects of ganaxolone and as a result, announced TSC as the next planned orphan epilepsy program to study the effect of the drug on seizures. Additionally, the company revealed it was granted orphan drug designation by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for ganaxolone for the treatment of CDD.
Oppenheimer’s Jay Olson likes ganaxolone’s clinical data and believes Marinus’ “focused approach” will pay off, calling MRNS a “leader in orphan epileptic disorders.” Olson said, “We are confident in GNX IV development for acute RSE following impressive Phase 2 data with a pivotal Phase 3 trial being planned, in addition to chronic treatment of rare genetic epilepsies currently in pivotal Phase 3 trials with potential for biomarker enrichment. PPD adds potential optionality. We estimate peak revenues of $1.1 billion in 2030.”
Therefore, Olson started coverage of MRNS with an Outperform rating and set a price target of $6. What does this indicate, then? Potential upside of an impressive 165%, should the target be met over the coming year. (To watch Olson’s track record, click here)
Following the pattern to a T, Marinus receives a Strong Buy consensus rating from the Street consisting of 3 Buy ratings. The average price target comes in at $5.67 and implies potential gains of a considerable 151%. (See Marinus stock-price forecast on TipRanks)