When it comes to penny stock investing and buying inexpensive stocks, sometimes investors think that they can find bargains for just a few dollars a share. Sometimes they are right – but other times these penny stocks can expose your portfolio to big risk and lose you a bundle in a hurry.
Penny stock investing tends to be riskier than investing in large cap stocks, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for losers in your quest for big penny stocks that take off. Here are 11 penny stock losers to avoid:
ICO Global Communications Holdings (ICOG)
Industry: Wireless Communication Services
Market Cap: $418.3 million
ICO Global Communications Holdings (ICOG) is a development-stage mobile satellite service operator with one medium earth orbit satellite currently functioning. ICOG also has 10 additional satellites in various stages of completion. While this penny stock is up 52.8% since January, it has started to decline in recent weeks, and is down -3% since July 8. Interestingly, ICO has not made progress on any of its satellites since 2004, due to a disagreement with the satellites’ producer, Boeing. That’s not a very encouraging sign and tells me investors should steer clear of this penny stock.
Antares Pharma Inc. (AIS)
Industry: Health Care Equipment
Market Cap: $128.6 million
Focusing on self-injection pharmaceutical technology and gel-based products, Antares Pharma Inc. (AIS) has seen a -21.5% decrease over the past month. That’s much worse than the broader markets, as the Down Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq are down -2.9% and -5.1% over the past month, respectively. The New Jersey based AIS has a multi-product deal with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (TEVA), and is involved with the production of various disposable and reusable auto injectors. That’s a plus, however, experts have predicted and earnings decrease over the next two quarters for this penny stock. That has turned me off Antares.
Axcelis Technologies Inc. (ACLS)
Market Cap: $179.1 million
Penny Stock Axcelis Technologies Inc. (ACLS) designs, manufactures and services semiconductor chips, while also providing service, support, equipment upgrades, spare parts and customer training. ACLS works with some notable technology companies including Intel (INTC), IBM (IBM), Texas Instruments (TXN) and Samsung. While Axcelis was up 68.8% from January to May, the stock has fallen sharply since then, and is down -25.9% over the past three months. Additionally, this penny stock has underperformed earnings estimates three of the last four quarters.
Tower Semiconductor (TSEM)
Market Cap: $278.6 million
Tower Semiconductor (TSEM) is an independent specialty foundry that manufactures semiconductors. This penny stock’s products are used in a wide range of consumer electronics including personal computers, medical device products and automotive products. With a -12.5% decrease over the last months Tower’s stock is currently trading at $1.39 per share and has slightly underperformed the broader markets. Also counting against TSEM is that Tower has missed analysts’ earnings estimate three of the last four quarters.
RAM Energy Resources Inc. (RAME)
Industry: Oil Gas & Consumable Fuels
Market Cap: $145.3 million
Working primarily in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma, RAM Energy Inc (RAME) is an independent oil and natural gas company involved in the exploration, acquisition, development and production of oil and natural gas properties. Ram has seen a decrease of -19.6% in the last month, and is down -9.8% for 2010. With a current stock price of $1.84, this penny stock has underperformed analysts’ earnings estimates two of the last four quarters.
ChipMOS Technologies Ltd. (IMOS)
Market Cap: $109.2 million
ChipMOS Technologies (IMOS) is a holding company that provides several testing services for various types of semiconductors. While the Taiwanese company may be up on the year, this penny stock has slid -19.8% in the last month. In its latest earnings report, ChipMOS announced a profit margin of -16.2% as well as a return on assets of -6.9%. This stock has remained anything but stable over the past few months.
Quest Capital Corp. (QCC)
Industry: Diversified Financial Services
Market Cap: $209.3 million
Quest Capital Corp (QCC) provides real estate mortgage financing to owners of land, multi-unit residential buildings and commercial properties. Generating revenue through interest on its loans, this penny stock has remained stable and is up a bit since mid-June. However, Quest’s latest income statement has analysts feeling uneasy as the financial service provide reported a loss in revenue of -18.6% as well as a quarterly revenue growth of -38.2%.
Quaterra Resources Inc. (QMM)
Industry: Metals & Mining
Market Cap: $141.1 million
Mining and exploration company Quaterra Resources Inc. (QMM) is involved in indentifying, acquiring and evaluating prospects in mining-friendly jurisdictions. Focusing on precious metals and base metals in Mexico and the western United States, this penny stock has seen a decrease of -39.8% in 2010. Despite the announcement in June that Quaterra will partner with Grande Portage Resources Ltd. in an effort to explore the Herbert Glacier gold property, near Juneau, Alaska, Quaterra still remains a risky and underperforming stock.
CombinatoRx Inc. (CRXX)
Market Cap: $127.2 million
Biopharmaceutical company CombinatoRx Inc. (CRXX) develops drugs focused on the treatment of pain and inflammation. The penny stock, which merged with Neuromed Pharmaceuticals in 2009, conducts preclinical and clinical trials while seeking intellectual property protection for its technology and products. Trading for $1.43 per share, CominatoRx has dropped -12.2% over the past month. While the Massachusetts based company was performing well earlier in the year, its recent slide has analysts ready to sell.
Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services (LTS)
Industry: Capital Markets
Market Cap: $188.1 million
Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services (LTS) is involved with investment banking, equity research, independent brokerage, advisory services and asset management services. LTS has seen steady decline over the past three months, and is down 17% since mid-April. With a stock price of $1.09, this penny stock missed the earnings estimate by a whopping -200% last quarter, and is projected to be in the red this quarter as well.
Westell Technologies Inc. (WSTL)
Industry: Communications Equipment
Market Cap: $106 million
Westell Technologies Inc. (WSTL) is a holding company that distributes telecommunications products, which are sold primarily to telecommunications companies. This penny stock is also involved with the production of DSL modems for homes and small offices. While Westell’s stock is up 31.7% since the start of 2010, its earnings have certainly leveled off. Up just 1.9% over the past month, Westell’s stock price of $1.58 has analysts and experts concerned.
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