As a rule, Wall Street brokers and financial advisors typically try to steer their clients away from stocks that trade under $10, as well as avoid like the plague stocks that trade under $5. There are myriad reasons, not the least of which is the broker or advisor faces scrutiny down the hall from his or her compliance manager. These are the sales prevention people, who typically fail as brokers and take a compliance job to stay in the business.
The truth of the matter is that stocks trading under $10 offer investors and traders the ability to actually accumulate a large position in their portfolio. It is pretty hard to establish a strong position with a stock trading at $400 or $500 a share. We combed through the research from the firms we cover and came up with some top names trading under $10 that may have some real solid upside potential.
Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) has spent years in the shadow of its competitors but a new graphics chip for the PlayStation 4 gaming console may turn the share price around. Jim Cramer from CNBC rates the stock a Buy. Merrill Lynch also has AMD as a stock to buy with a $6 price target. The Thomson/First Call estimate for the stock is $4. AMD closed yesterday at $3.91.
Alcatel-Lucent S.A. (ALU) is a top name to buy at Raymond James. In fact the optical products company makes the list of top stock picks. The ill-fated merger between the two companies has taken many years and many CEOs to find any traction. However, the big carriers are starting to increase orders, and the company is getting a nice share of them. Raymond James has a $4.50 price target. The consensus estimate is at $3. The stock closed yesterday at $3.58.
Lattice Semiconductor Corp. (LSCC) is a top chip stock to buy at Jefferies. The company announced last month three new complete reference designs that will make it easier for electronic OEMs to deliver media-rich experiences to their end users by taking advantage of low-cost, industry-standard MIPI (Mobile Industry Processor Interface) camera, application processor and display technologies. The Jefferies price objective for the stock is $6.50, and the consensus is also at $6.50. Lattice closed yesterday at $4.63.
Orexigen Therapeutics Inc. (OREX) is a very controversial name that may end up being the only obesity drug play that actually works well enough to move the stock price. Its drug Contrave was tested in four separate late-stage studies, of which the primary endpoint of achieving a 5% weight-loss in a pre-specified percentage of patients was reached each time. Merrill Lynch recommends Orexigen as a stock to buy and has a $10 price target. The consensus target is posted even higher at $12. The stock closed yesterday at $6.29.
Penn Virginia Corp. (PVA) is an independent oil and gas company that primarily focuses on developing the Eagle Ford Shale play in south Texas. Two very large investors include the Bank of Montreal and the legendary hedge fund run by George Soros. Penn Virginia is a stock to buy at Jefferies with a $7 price target. The consensus is at $7 also. The stock closed yesterday at $6.47.
Regions Financial Corp. (RF) is a top financial stock that could pay off big for investors. The company sold its Morgan Keegan brokerage business to Raymond James in 2012 and is focusing on the core banking business. Merrill Lynch considers the company a stock to buy and has a $12 price target. The consensus price objective is at $11, and its last closing price was $9.25.
Sirius XM Radio Inc. (SIRI) continues to draw new subscribers with its programming, and it is also a stock to buy at Merrill Lynch. Despite challenges from other companies offering audio programming, Sirius XM has continued to be a strong player, and the stock actually hit a six-year high last week. Merrill Lynch has a $5 target, and the consensus target stands at $4.45, versus a closing price of $3.82.
Sonus Networks Inc. (SONS) was recently named to the 2013 InformationWeek 500 list of top technology innovators across the country. In July the company authorized a repurchase program to buy back up to $100 million of their stock. Lazard has a Buy rating on the stock and a $4.50 price target. The consensus target is at $4.30, and the stock closed yesterday at $3.41.
SunEdison Inc. (SUNE) has changed its name and ticker but remains a top stock to buy at Merrill Lynch. The company recently did a large secondary offering to expand its solar growth. It also is looking to spin off its semiconductor business in an upcoming IPO. Merrill Lynch has a $10 price target, while the consensus figure is higher at $11. SunEdison closed yesterday $8.16.
Two Harbors Investment Corp. (TWO) is a very wounded mortgage REIT that may offer big gains for investors. The company trades well below book value and has a nicely hedged portfolio. Merrill Lynch has a Buy rating on the stock and an $11 price target. The consensus target was not available. The stock closed yesterday at $9.65. Investors are paid an outstanding 11.3% dividend.
The interesting thread to some of these stocks is they are hardly unknown penny stocks. Many are well known, and in some cases former high-flying stocks that came back to earth for one reason or another. That bodes well for investors looking to own these stocks, as there is a degree of confidence in their staying power. Often Wall Street has mispriced stocks. Sometimes when they do so, investors are provided an extraordinary buying opportunity.