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[Editor's note: "5 Cheap Stocks to Buy That Are $6 or Less" was originally published in May 2019. It has since been updated to include the most relevant information available.]The stock market's volatility at the start of 2019 didn't make me any less bullish on stocks, and that mentality has paid off -- the Dow Jones is up 10% year-to-date. And my penny stock picks? While some are down from their first-quarter peaks, most of them remain considerably higher on a YTD basis.Among these stocks, market movements can cause some noise. But the investment thesis on cheap stocks to buy is predicated on huge moves higher in the long-term. Thus, in the near-term, macro-driven movements amount to nothing more than a sideshow.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsFrom this perspective, now might be a good time to pile into some stocks under $6. These stocks to buy are a high-risk bunch. But they do have high-reward potential, too. * 10 Cheap Dividend Stocks to Load Up On With that in mind, here is a list of five of the best penny stocks to buy that I think have more upside potential to ride the market's bullishness. Pier 1 (PIR)PIR stock price: $3.36 Year-to-date: -45%Furniture retailer Pier 1 Imports (NYSE:PIR) has had a tough time getting its act together for several years. PIR stock has collapsed over the past year. These problems aren't new. Over the past five years, this stock has lost more than 90% of its value.Source: Shutterstock Having said that, there is visibility for a turnaround in PIR stock in the near future.At its core, Pier 1 has been killed by rising e-commerce threats creating huge pricing and traffic headwinds. Pier 1, which stands somewhat square in the middle of price and quality, doesn't really have anything special about the business to protect against these headwinds. Consequently, sales and margins have dropped in a big way.But, the company has a three-year strategic plan to turn the business around. The plan includes bigger investments in omnichannel commerce capabilities and marketing.No one knows whether this plan will actually work. But home furnishings is a market with enduring demand, so that helps.Meanwhile, PIR stock is dirt cheap. At 50 cents per share in earnings power, it wouldn't be unreasonable to see this stock hit $8 (a market-average 16x multiple). Groupon (GRPN)GRPN stock price: $2.32 Year-to-date: -28%Much like Pier 1, savings-king Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) feels like one of those companies that were loved yesterday but will be forgotten tomorrow. But I don't think that's true. I get that the savings and deals market is commoditized now. I also understand that Groupon really isn't a household name for coupons like it used to be.Source: Shutterstock But I'm a numbers guy. And Groupon's numbers are pretty good. Its margins are improving thanks to management's focus on higher-margin businesses.Operating expenses are also being removed from the system, so the company's overall profitability profile is improving.Aside from the numbers, Groupon launched an aggressive advertising campaign last year with hyper-relevant Tiffany Haddish that scored just shy of 100 million views. I think this campaign will have a long-term positive effect on usage, which could drive the stock higher. * 10 Stocks Under $5 to Buy for Fall Put it all together, and it looks like GRPN stock could have a big-time rally in 2020. Zynga (ZNGA)ZNGA stock price: $5.55 Year-to-date: 46%I'm not a huge fan of the mobile gaming sector. It's a tough space plagued with competition and low margins. Plus, competition is only building thanks to social media apps becoming increasingly multi-purpose.Source: Shutterstock But mobile gaming company Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) seems to have found the key to success in the mobile gaming world.Zynga used to be a mega-popular browser game company with tons of users. But then the company overreached by branching into games that had heavy overlap with the traditional video game market, like sports titles. They couldn't compete in that market. Eventually, the over-extension sparked user churn, and ZNGA stock spiraled downward.That forced Zynga to re-invent itself into something much more relevant and defensible. They did just that. Zynga has transitioned its business model from web-focused to mobile-first while narrowing its gaming title focus. This pivot has streamlined operations, re-invigorated top-line growth, cut costs and improved profitability.From where I sit, this pivot appears to be in its early stages. Mobile is a secular growth narrative, and ZNGA has developed a gaming portfolio that is focused and tailored to that growth narrative. Thus, so long as mobile engagement heads higher, Zynga's numbers should get better. Better numbers will inevitably lead to a higher stock price. Arotech (ARTX)ARTX stock price: $2.24 Year-to-date: -15.4%There is no hiding the fact that the defense sector has been hot under President Donald Trump. Trump came into office, upped the ante on defense and military spending, and in response, the whole world is spending more on defense and military.Source: arotech.com Defense contractors win when this happens. That is why mega-cap defense contractors like Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) and Boeing (NYSE:BA) have been on fire for the past several quarters. But one micro-cap defense contractor that has missed out on this rally is Arotech (NASDAQ:ARTX).Over the past several years, the financials at Arotech haven't gained any ground. Five years ago, its revenues were $103.5 million and its net income was $3.5 million. In 2017, its revenues were $98.7 million and its net income was $3.8 million.In other words, its profits haven't risen much in five years. When profits don't go up, the stock tends not to go up. It is a simple relationship. But its profits are stabilizing. When profits go from declining to stabilizing, they usually go to growth next. * 15 Growth Stocks to Buy for the Long Haul And, when profits go up, stocks tend to go up. As such, it looks like Arotech is finally joining the tide when it comes to big boosts in defense and military spending. This tide will inevitably lift Arotech's earnings power substantially, and ARTX will rally as a result. Blink Charging (BLNK)BLNK stock price: $2.60 Year-to-date: 100%When it comes to cheap stocks, there are few as volatile as Blink Charging (NASDAQ:BLNK).Source: Shutterstock Over the past two years, BLNK stock has gone from $10 to $3, and popped from $4.50 to $8; it now sits at a paltry $2.60. This volatility won't give up any time soon. Thus, if you want to avoid volatility, I'd normally say avoid BLNK stock …That being said, if this company's secular growth narrative surrounding building a network of electric vehicle charging stations globally materializes within the next five years, this stock could be a 5- or even 10-bagger.It is a big risk. But, eventually, global infrastructure will need to match demand. At that point in time, there will be some huge contracts awarded to electric vehicle charging station companies.Will Blink be one of them? Perhaps. Tough to tell. But if they do land some big contracts, this stock could have another huge pop in a short amount of time.As of this writing, Luke Lango was long FB, PIR, GRPN and ARTX. More From InvestorPlace * 4 Top American Penny Pot Stocks (Buy Before June 21) * 5 Safe Stocks to Buy This Summer * The 5 Best Telecom Stocks to Buy Now * 6 Innovative Stocks With Big Long-Term Growth Potential The post 5 Cheap Stocks to Buy That Are $6 or Less appeared first on InvestorPlace.
If you listen to Pandora regularly, you might notice new channels, shows, podcast and playlists popping up. Roughly one month after finalizing its $3.5 billion acquisition of Pandora , Sirius XM announced a first-ever, original content team for the platform. As Sirius explains, this is a move to generate music, sports and talk programs as a way of moving the service beyond just streaming music. It's also likely an attempt to take on the likes of Spotify, which recently made its own investment in podcasts .
Stocks under $5 usually aren't the best stocks. After all, almost every company prices their initial public offering at $10 per share or more. Thus, if a stock is trading under $5, that means the stock has most likely been subject to a 50%-plus sell-off, which is a sign that the company is having major trouble.For this reason alone, stocks under $5 should be classified as high-risk stocks by investors.But, some of them should also be classified as high-reward stocks. Again, stocks under $5 got there because investors sold them in bunches. That means investor sentiment surrounding these stocks is depressed, and expectations are low. If the company can top those low expectations and sentiment dramatically improves, these same really beaten up stocks can become huge overnight winners.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsThis has happened a lot recently. See Snap (NYSE:SNAP), which went from a $5 stock to a $10-plus stock in a few weeks thanks to user base stabilization. Or Pandora, which went from $4 to $8 on operational stabilization and a buyout offer. * 7 Chinese Stocks to Buy for the 2019 Rebound Those sorts of jumps aren't isolated. They happen all the time -- but only to the right cheap stocks. Which stocks are those? Let's take a look at seven high-risk, high-reward stocks under $5 that could soar on the right catalyst. Stocks Under $5 That Could Soar: Blue Apron (APRN)Meal kit maker Blue Apron (NYSE:APRN) went public at $10 per share in mid-2017. It's been nothing but downhill ever since for APRN stock. Competition stiffened up. Growth stalled out. The whole meal kit market was hit by demand headwinds. Overall, Blue Apron failed to grow in a way that satisfied investors, and APRN stock had dropped under $1 by late 2018.But Blue Apron shares have been injected with some life over the past few months as signs have emerged that a huge turnaround may be around the corner. Specifically, Blue Apron announced a big meal-kit partnership with Weight Watchers (NYSE:WTW), which management said would stabilize the customer base without the company having to spend big on marketing. Shortly thereafter, management said that WTW deal was seeing higher-than-expected demand, and that Blue Apron would be adjusted EBITDA profitable in Q1 and fiscal 2019.The dots here aren't hard to connect. Essentially, it appears that Blue Apron may be carving out a weight-loss niche for itself in the hyper-competitive meal kit marketplace with its Weight Watchers partnership. If so, growth will stabilize over the next several years without big expense growth, margins will improve, and profitability will become a real possibility.If all that happens, APRN stock could run way higher from here. Pier 1 (PIR)Home furnishings retailer Pier 1 (NYSE:PIR) has been an eyesore in the struggling retail industry for a long time now. In a nutshell, the emergence of online-only home furnishings retailers like Wayfair (NYSE:W) -- which often have lower prices -- have rapidly and dramatically stolen market share from Pier 1. The result? Sales and margins are down big. Profits have been wiped out. PIR stock has dropped from around $20 five years ago to 30 cents in late 2018.But, PIR stock has been on a tear recently, rising by five-fold from 30 cents to $1.50 in just three months. It's nearly impossible to pinpoint an exact catalyst behind this monstrous rally besides that the stock got way too cheap. At 30 cents per share, Pier 1 was being valued at a $25 million market cap, and yet sales over the past 12 months measure over $1.6 billion. Still, at $1.50, Pier 1 is being valued at a market cap of just $121 million, which is still anemic next to a $1.6 billion sales base.To be sure, profits are negative over that same stretch, the balance sheet isn't as clean as it could be, and the sales base is shrinking. Nonetheless, all Pier 1 needs is 2% profit margins margins on a $1 billion sales base to net $20 million in profits. Even a super depressed 10x multiple on that implies a $200 million market cap under such scenarios. Further, if profit margins hit 2% on a $1.5 billion sales base, the same math implies a $300 million market cap. * 7 March Madness Stocks to Consider for the Big Dance It's a tall order for management to cut costs and stabilize sales at the same time. But, if they manage to pull it off, this stock could keep soaring in a big way. Big 5 Sporting Goods (BGFV)Much like Pier 1, sporting goods retailer Big 5 Sporting Goods (NASDAQ:BGFV) has been an especially large victim of the e-commerce revolution. With respect to Big 5, the negative catalyst has been the widespread emergence and popularity of direct athletic retail channels, the sum of which has taken market share from Big 5, and caused sales, margins, and profits to drop. Concurrently, BGFV stock has dropped from $20 to $2.50 in a few years.But, also much like Pier 1, shares of Big 5 have been injected with life over the past few months. Since late 2018, BGFV stock has popped from $2.50 to near $4. The catalyst? Comparable sales trends improved during the holiday season. Comps actually hit positive territory in December. Margins stabilized. Losses narrowed. Overall, Big 5's numbers simply got better. BGFV stock reacted positively in response.Importantly, this improvement isn't isolated. Fellow sporting goods retailers Dick's Sporting Goods (NYSE:DKS) and Foot Locker (NYSE:FL) have also reported improving numbers over the past several quarters. In other words, it increasingly appears that the worst is over for sporting goods retailers, and that this market will stabilize over the next several years.As it does, Big 5's growth rates should likewise stabilize, and that should allow BGFV stock to stay in rally mode. Groupon (GRPN)The market consensus on savings and coupons platform Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) is that the company's time has come and gone, and that the digital economy is evolving to a point where consumers simply don't need Groupon anymore. That is largely why GRPN stock has dropped from $20-plus in 2011, to under $3 in late 2018.This overarching bear thesis doesn't make much sense to me. Sure, Groupon's customer base isn't growing. But it's not dropping by a material amount, either, and those slight drops are happening against a stiff competitive backdrop wherein e-commerce giants like Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Walmart(NYSE:WMT) are already aggressively discounting everything. Thus, competition is about as big as it will ever get, and Groupon's user base is still largely stable. Consequently, the data seems to support the thesis that Groupon has long-term staying power.Staying power doesn't equal growth, though, and without growth, it will be tough for GRPN stock to rally here. Fortunately, there is a pathway for growth for Groupon. Specifically, Groupon has to execute on three initiatives over the next several years: deliver exceptional discounts on local-oriented experiences, pivot to voucherless transactions and improve the mobile, on-the-go customer experience. * 9 Best Stocks to Buy on U.S.-China Trade Optimism If Groupon executes on those three growth initiatives, then GRPN stock will soar from current levels over the next several years. Francesca's (FRAN)Much like Pier 1 and Big 5, women's clothing retailer Francesca's (NYSE:FRAN) has been a outsized loser in the e-commerce revolution. As that revolution has become more widespread, Francesca's pain has only grown. Comps have gone more negative. Margins are have been eviscerated. Profits are all gone. And, FRAN stock has gone from $20-plus in late 2016, to under $1 today.But, there's reason to believe that a big rally could be around the corner. Specifically, the company has essentially put itself up for sale after all other options have been exhausted. On one hand, that means hopes for this stock to get back to $20 have been axed. On the other hand, a potential buyout means that buyers here could be in for a big payday soon.Fortunately, there should be suitors. FRAN stock currently has a market cap of just $31 million, and enterprise value of $20 million thanks to a cash-heavy balance sheet. Sales over the past 12 months measure about $450 million. At one point in time, this company had 10%-plus profit margins. Thus, it isn't hard to imagine Francesca's getting back to 2% profit margins on a $400 million sales base. That math implies $8 million in net profits, which realistically equates to an $80 million market cap, based on a depressed 10x multiple.In other words, FRAN stock looks like a cheap stock here -- cheap enough to attract some serious M&A interest. Blink (BLNK)Volatility is an inherent feature of stocks under $5, since the fundamentals on these stocks can often change dramatically and quickly. This is especially true for EV charging company Blink Charging (NASDAQ:BLNK). As the fundamentals underlying this company have dramatically changed multiple times over the past several years, BLNK stock has gone from over $30 to under $2, back to $8, and then back to $3. Thus, you can't really trust any move higher in BLNK stock as sustainable.Having said that, the secular growth narrative here is promising. The EV revolution is in the early stages of a massive growth narrative. Within the next ten to fifteen years, most cars on the road will be electric powered. As such, within the next ten to fifteen years, there will be a mass proliferation of EV charging stations, too.Blink makes such charging stations. Thus, the only real concern here is competition. Unfortunately, there's plenty of competition -- enough to cloud the long-term bull thesis. Nonetheless, if Blink can successfully out-execute that competition and take home just a fraction of what promises to be a huge global EV charging station market, then BLNK stock could fly higher from current levels. * 7 IPOs to Get Excited for in 2019 All things considered, BLNK stock is the archetype of a high-risk, high-reward stock under $5. Sirius XM (SIRI)Unlike other stocks on this list, broadcasting company Sirius XM (NASDAQ:SIRI) has been on a long term uptrend. The company was essentially left for dead in the aftermath of the 2008 Financial Crisis. Since then, despite secular headwinds from the growth of music streaming, Sirius has been able to grow its user base, revenues, and profits at a steady and consistent rate. Consequently, SIRI stock has gradually climbed from 10 cents in 2009, to $8 in mid-2018.SIRI stock has flattened out over the past year. Subscriber growth has slowed. So has revenue growth, and average revenue per user growth. Margin are dropping. Profit growth is stalling out.In other words, it increasingly appears as though Sirius is starting to the feel the heat from streaming music competition. But, that doesn't mean the Sirius growth narrative is over. Instead, given that the likes of Spotify (NYSE:SPOT) and Apple Music are already everywhere in the U.S., it simply means that the Sirius growth narrative is slowing going forward. Sirius won't lose subs. They simply won't add that many more.In such a world, SIRI stock will head higher, given its ability to raise prices and grow profits even with stalled out sub growth.As of this writing, Luke Lango was long WTW, DKS, FL, AMZN, SIRI, and SPOT. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 7 Big Data Stocks That Deserve a Closer Look * 7 Best Energy Funds to Outperform the Market * 5 Blue-Chip Stocks Ready to Rise Compare Brokers The post 7 Cheap Stocks Under $5 That Could Soar appeared first on InvestorPlace.
Short interest hit a 52-week low for the satellite-radio provider, two weeks after clocking in at a new high. Closing on the Pandora deal played a starring role, but this isn't a solo effort.
Last year Google made the business of getting out of bed in the morning an altogether more pleasant affair when it introduced Spotify integration to the Google Clock app. The feature let Android users set a song or playlist as an alarm, rather than the usual odious beeping, and it was so well received that users were quick to ask when there would be similar support for other music services. That's finally arrived, and Google Clock 6.1 will now also let you pick music from Pandora and YouTube Music .
In an effort to one-up Spotify and Apple Music, Pandora this morning announced the launch of a new marketing tool for artists, called Pandora Stories. The feature allows artists to build music playlists combined with voice tracks, where they can add a narrative and deeper insights -- explaining, for example, what a song means for them, what inspired their music, the story behind the music or anything else they want to add. When listeners play these Pandora Stories playlists, they get to hear both the music and the storytelling, interspersed.
Pandora has launched a new format called "Stories," which marries music tracks with podcasts in a single playlist. Musicians can take full advantage of the new feature by making a playlist of their songs and injecting voice tracks telling the history behind them, for instance. Artists, authors and other creatives who primarily want to use the format for storytelling can also use Pandora's catalog of fully-licensed songs to add context and to make things more entertaining in general.
The satellite-radio provider has its largest number of shares sold short in more than a year. This has historically been a lousy bearish wager.
Sirius XM Holdings on Friday completed its purchase of Pandora Media, creating what it called "the world's largest audio entertainment company." Sirius XM stock rose on the news.
SiriusXM's $3.5 billion acquisition of Pandora is set to close on Friday, and the satellite radio company is already laying out details on how it plans to make the most of its newest toy. In an earnings call with investors held Wednesday, Sirius CEO James Meyer said the company plans to launch Pandora channels within the SiriusXM app.
SiriusXM this week offered a few more details on how it plans to leverage its newest asset, Pandora, following its $3.5 billion acquisition of the streaming music service last year, which officially closed on Friday. At the time of the deal, the company spoke about the potential for cross-promotion opportunities between the services and new subscription packages. Now, those efforts are getting off the ground -- starting with a promotion within the Pandora app for SiriusXM subscriptions, followed by the launch of Pandora channels within the SiriusXM app.
were rising in premarket trading Wednesday after the company's quarterly earnings met forecasts and revenue slightly beat estimates. Sirius reported fourth-quarter earnings per share of 6 cents, meeting analysts' expectations. EPS rose 100% from a year earlier, after Sirius reported year-earlier earnings of 3 cents.