Whatever the reason a stock is trading for under $5 a share, these stocks are conversation starters. Some will point out the low valuation of these companies presents opportunity for upside which will be hard to come by when investing in a large-cap. What’s more, you can load up on a much larger number of shares than you could with a stock trading in triple or even double digits.
On the other hand, the naysayers argue these tickers are likely to have bad fundamentals and face too many obstacles and, therefore, are more of a speculative shot at lottery like returns than an investment.
Either way, both are right, and both could be wrong, too. The trick, as with any investment, is to find the most compelling opportunities the market presents.
We went on our own intrepid search for 3 stocks trading at a bargain price, specifically looking for ones which those in the know think are poised to take off over the next 12 months. We used TipRanks’ Stock Screener tool which revealed that in addition to the low valuation, all three currently have a “Strong Buy” consensus rating. Let’s dive in.
Orbcomm Inc. (ORBC)
Orbcomm operates in an industry that is expected to grow substantially in the new decade. Orbcomm provides machine-to-machine (M2M) solutions across the globe, with its Internet of Things (IoT) technology used to track and monitor large assets. The company’s main markets are in transportation, heavy equipment, and government services, amongst others. Orbcomm is the only commercial satellite network 100% dedicated to M2M.
The stock experienced a crushing 2019, losing almost 50% over the year due to disappointing earnings reports and transportation industry headwinds; Economic data suggests that in November, more than 1,000 truck drivers lost their jobs. Further data from October indicates heavy truck order activity is down 51% from 2018 levels.
Canaccord’s Michael Walkley expects the soft industrial data to continue until mid-2020 and believes it will affect some of Orbcomm’s hardware sales. Nevertheless, the analyst thinks “the shares have limited downside risk at the current valuation.”
The 5-star analyst expounded, “Despite our cautious view of macro trends for a portion of Orbcomm’s transportation business unit, we believe the shares have priced in soft near-term hardware sales trends. With Orbcomm’s shares trading roughly 4X our 2021 adjusted EBITDA estimate, we view the risk reward on the shares as very positive… We believe if management can execute, the shares should return to higher multiples.”
What does it mean, then? It means that Walkley keeps his Buy rating on Orbcomm. To reflect the headwinds, though, the price target comes down a notch, from $10 to $9. The reduced figure still represents outstanding returns in the shape of 132% could be in store over the next twelve months.
Overall, the Street is with Walkley. 2 additional Buy ratings given to the M2M solutions provider over the last three months add up to a Strong Buy consensus rating. The average price target comes in at $7.67 and implies potential upside of a hefty 98%.
Plug Power (PLUG)
From M2M technology, we move on to another very modern solution, hydrogen fuel cell technology, or renewable energy. Plug Power’s fuel cell systems are designed to replace conventional batteries in electric vehicles and industrial trucks.
In sharp contrast to ORBC, PLUG had an outstanding 2019. Its share price added considerable muscle in the shape of 154% throughout the year. Investors were buoyed by strong forecasts, management purchasing company stock, and an ambitious five-year plan, projecting revenue of $1 billion and adjusted EBITDA of $200 million.
More good news has extended the rally into 2020; Plug is up by over 23% year-to-date following the announcement that it was awarded a $172 million contract for hydrogen fuel cell deployments from a Fortune 100 customer.
B.Riley FBR’s Christopher Van Horn argues PLUG’s “stock and the fuel cell technology seem to be at an inflection point.” The 4-star analyst thinks the contract demonstrates the company’s competitive position, and with an addressable market of $30 billion, believes there should be more opportunities for PLUG coming up.
Van Horn said, “PLUG has an implied 35% five-year CAGR from our 2019 revenue estimate and an almost 90% four-year CAGR from our 2020 adjusted EBITDA estimate. We believe this growth could come from its existing customer base, including Wal-Mart, Amazon, and others, as well as new customers. We think this award at roughly $172 million over two years is another step in the right direction to achieve these goals.”
Therefore, Van Horn reiterated his Buy call on PLUG along with a price target of $6. This indicates upside potential of 54% over the next 12 months.
Is the Street ready to plug into PLUG? Yes, it is. The 5 Buy ratings and solitary Hold given over the last three months make the consensus rating a Strong Buy. An average price target of $4.50 puts the upside potential at 15%. (See Plug Power stock analysis on TipRanks)
Carrols Restaurant (TAST)
From modern solutions, we move to the food industry, where we take a seat at Carrols Restaurant. The company operates the largest Burger King franchisee in the world.
It often happens that a stock trading for under $5 used to have a much larger market-cap, but for whatever reason, has lost its luster, and is now much cheaper. For Carrols, last year was a combination of underwhelming earnings reports plus a bizarre software mix up which charged customers incorrectly for discount meals that cost the company $8.3 million. As a result, the stock took a beating in 2019, starting the year at $9.84 and ending it down 28% at $7.05.
The company recently announced preliminary 4Q19 results which has further worried investors; In October, Carrols had anticipated 4%-plus SSS (same store sales) for Burger King in its upcoming report, but the new data indicates the SSS figure lands at only 2%. Since then, the share price has dropped further and is down by 32% since the start of the year.
So, should you stay away from TAST? Not according to SunTrust Robinson’s Jake Bartlett. The 5-star analyst explained, “TAST attributed the SSS miss to decreased traffic as Burger King laps its ’10 Nuggets for $1′ promotion last year (through mid-Feb.), a ‘Winter Whopperland’ game promotion in December that drove app downloads, but not sales, a potential impact from Popeye’s new chicken sandwich (TAST’s Popeyes 4Q19 21.2%-plus), a potential impact from MCD’s ‘2 for $5’ promotion and weak breakfast sales (negative in 4Q19 as lapped the $0.89 pancake promotion). While disappointing, TAST appears encouraged by upcoming menu innovation at Burger King… The promotional environment should remain balanced and significant acquisitions for both Popeyes and Burger King stores are expected in ’20.”
Accordingly, then, Bartlett reiterated a Buy recommendation on Carrols and kept his $14 price target. The target implies upside potential of a whopping 192%. (To watch Bartlett’s track record, click here)
Currently, there are few on the Street taking a bite out of Carrols, but those who are, like the (TAST)e. A Strong Buy consensus rating is formed of 3 Buys, and at $8.83, the average price target suggests potential upside of a handsome 84%.