Plenty of investors love to focus on stocks that have low share prices. A stock's price by itself doesn't say much about a company, because to put a real value on a business, you also have to know how many shares the company has outstanding and what its past and future revenue and earnings look like. In particular, when you look at stocks that have fallen in value recently, you have to be careful to avoid value traps that will only keep declining.
Even with the stock market having been in a big boom lately, you can still find a few well-known reasonably priced stocks that have shares you can pick up for less than $10 apiece. Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F), Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ: CZR), and ADT (NYSE: ADT) have gone through their share of challenges recently, but there's reason to believe that their futures look brighter and that you won't be able to pick them up for a single-digit price tag much longer.
1-Year Price Change
Ford Motor Company
Data source: Yahoo! Finance. Stock price as of Aug. 10 close.
Ford seeks to drive higher
Ford Motor Company has gone through a tough few years, seeing its stock steadily lose ground since 2014. Weakening sales abroad, especially in the difficult European market, spurred the automaker to engage in a huge restructuring effort that has cost the company more than $10 billion. Investors are growing impatient with CEO Jim Hackett, and recent results have included massive losses in Europe, a near-disappearance of profit from its Chinese joint venture, and even some signs of potential trouble for Ford's iconic F-series pickup line. Those problems and the expenses involved in trying to fix them have led some to worry that a dividend cut could be right around the corner.
Ford hasn't given up hope. In China, the company's new Ford Territory sport utility vehicle could help it reverse sales declines in the world's second-largest economy. A rising consumer class in China needs affordable options, and the Territory targets first-time buyers who the automaker hopes will become lifelong Ford customers. Meanwhile, efforts to develop self-driving vehicles could eventually turn into a lucrative spinoff for Ford shareholders. Competition from other automakers remains fierce, but Ford's shares are cheap enough to offer some margin of safety even if its turnaround takes a bit longer than expected.
Image source: Getty Images.
Caesars Entertainment has fought an uphill battle for a long time. The casino resort company has focused most of its efforts on the U.S. market, and that's led to Caesars having largely missed out on the boom in the Asian gaming capital of Macau. While growth in the former Portuguese colony exploded higher, Caesars operations in Las Vegas and Atlantic City struggled. Even when Macau went through a downturn that refocused attention on U.S. exposure, Caesars still had to deal with its own internal challenges, and the ultra-competitive domestic market recently forced the company to consider room-rate reductions in order to boost occupancy rates.
But Caesars is moving forward in several directions to find new growth opportunities. In Japan, the likelihood of a new market for casino gaming operations could give Caesars a key entry into an important part of the Asian market, although the price to build a Japanese casino will be a gamble in itself. Caesars could be an even bigger winner if the legalization of sports betting across the country reignites interest in its network of regional casino resorts, because its footprint includes not only Atlantic City but also a host of properties throughout the Mississippi Basin that play vital roles in the local economies of the communities they serve. It's not a sure bet, but Caesars has a good chance of getting a winning hand in the long run.
Security is a big concern for many people, and ADT has sought to profit from providing its security services. Yet after a promising January IPO, ADT stock has steadily lost ground. Sales have been increasing, but ADT hasn't captured as much of the growing market as investors had expected, and that's delayed the company's ability to become profitable quickly. Rising competition threatens ADT's ability to retain the leadership position that its name initially gave it as it went public.
Even with the setbacks, ADT has promise. On the residential side, the company tries to offer full-service customer support that can give buyers a much more positive experience than the self-service, rock-bottom pricing approach that many of ADT's competitors have adopted. ADT also has the ability to serve commercial business customers more effectively, especially given the specialized needs those customers have. With an inexpensive valuation, value investors can feel more comfortable looking to ADT as a potential safety play.
Don't minimize the risks of cheap stocks
Just because a stock is cheap doesn't mean it's destined to go up. These three companies still have work to do, but if they can succeed in living up to their potential, climbing higher than $10 could be just the first step on a much longer journey toward success for their shareholders.
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