In theory, investors shouldn’t care about the price of a company’s stock. What matters more than anything is the market cap. It’s an error to think a stock is cheap simply because its share price is in the low single digits. And investors should use extra caution when searching through low-priced stocks. Oftentimes, stocks that have fallen to trading for just a couple bucks end up going all the way to zero.
That said, some of the market’s biggest winners also come out of the sub-$5 stock category. Whether the company has a low share price due to falling from glory or just not being discovered yet, these low-priced players can sometimes rocket to crazy heights.
So, with the disclaimer that these sorts of companies tend to be of the high-risk, high-reward variety, let’s take a look at three cheap stocks under $3 that could fly in coming quarters.
Cheap Stock Under $3: J C Penney (JCP)
J C Penney Company (NYSE:JCP) got hammered on Wednesday for a near-8% loss. That decline dropped JCP stock well below the $3 threshold and put it squarely back in the potential bargain bin category.
JCP stock has been back in the news recently due to a management change. As InvestorPlace’s William White wrote, JCP’s CEO, Marvin Ellison, quit the company to take the reins at Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE:LOW). While Ellison is clearly stepping into a nice position at Lowe’s, he also may have wanted to get away from JC Penney given recent results. JCP disappointed with its past holiday season, and this most recent quarter was a mixed bag, as revenues beat but earnings missed and the company offered soft guidance.
Despite the issues, J C Penney could still turn the corner. Analysts see the company finally returning to profitability over the next year. Forward earnings estimates put the stock around 18x earnings. If those earnings in fact occur, expect JCP stock to fly. Short sellers are betting against an astounding 41% of JCP stock’s float. That sort of massive short position is just asking for an explosion when the company delivers good news.
With Sears Holding Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD) closing dozens more stores and looking increasingly shaky, JCP stock can fly once it takes sales away from its rival.
Cheap Stock Under $3: B2Gold (BTG)
Canadian-based gold miner B2Gold (NYSEAMERICAN:BTG) gets no respect. The $2.67 share price does a lot to mask the company’s strength. Here’s why B2Gold deserves more attention.
Given its large share count, B2 has $2.6 billion market cap. That figure could go a lot higher in coming quarters. The company, unlike many sub-$3 gold stocks, is highly diversified. The company has more than half a dozen mines and development projects, spanning the globe from The Philippines to Colombia, Nicaragua and three African nations.
A major new mine opening this year will take B2’s gold production up by almost 50% while lowering their average cost per ounce nicely. Next year, B2Gold should hit 1 million ounces of annual production, elevating it into a pretty small group of mining companies to reach that size.
For now, BTG stock is still trading quietly. That’s probably due to gold, which has been trading flat around $1,300 per ounce for quite awhile now. However, with the risk in geopolitical tensions and a likely upcoming pullback in the dollar, gold prices, and thus BTG stock could start to move in a hurry. Analysts see B2’s earnings tripling this year, which, combined with favorable gold price movements, could send the stock flying.
Cheap Stock Under $3: Companhia Energtica de Minas Gerais (CIG)
Despite the ticker symbol, Companhia Energética de Minas Gerais (NYSE:CIG) has nothing to do with tobacco. Rather, it is one of Brazil’s largest utility companies.
Don’t let the $1.79 stock price confuse you, CIG’s share price doesn’t represent weakness. The company has a large outstanding share count, resulting in a $2.5 billion market cap to go along with roughly $7 billion in annual revenues. It leads Brazil in electricity distribution, and is among the top three utilities there in transmission and in generation.
What’s to like about CIG stock now? For one, it is down from a $2.60 peak in March to just $1.79 now. That sell-off has been driven by political troubles in Brazil and a sharp decline in their currency. Brazilian stocks, as a whole, are down close to a third since their January highs.
While macroeconomic fears are a concern for CIG stock, the company’s electricity business should fare better than most other Brazilian stocks in rough economic conditions.
The company is now selling at 13x trailing earnings, and earnings are expected to grow as Brazil continues to come out of an economic funk. On top of that, CIG stock paid 15 cents per share in dividends this year, amounting to an eye-catching 8% dividend yield. But please note that CIG pays a variable dividend, so there is no guarantee next year’s payment will be that large.
Regardless, there appears to be significant value compared to other utility stocks, especially with the stock selling well under book value. In addition, CIG stock could surge once investors want to buy back into Brazil.
At the time of this writing, the author held no positions in any of the aforementioned securities. You can reach him on Twitter at @irbezek.