The stocks that make the highlight reel are often expensive. Not everyone is able to fork over hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars on a single share in a company. But we all know how risky penny stocks can be.
Fortunately, there’s a middle ground: cheap stocks from companies with a decent track record, and the prospects of solid growth. From semiconductors to organic foods, there are compelling cheap stock picks in a wide range of industry sectors.
Here are 7 great cheap stocks to buy for solid growth in 2021:
- Amyris (NASDAQ:AMRS)
- Clean Energy Fuels (NASDAQ:CLNE)
- GenMark Diagnostics (NASDAQ:GNMK)
- Himax Technologies (NASDAQ:HIMX)
- Inovio Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:INO)
- SunOpta (NASDAQ:STKL)
- United Microelectronics (NYSE:UMC)
All of the stock picks ahead earn an “A” grade in my Portfolio Grader. Each offers investors the ability to pick up shares for $20 or less.
Sustainability seems to be finally hitting a tipping point, where it’s a key factor in business decisions going forward. That’s good news for Amyris.
This California-based biotech company developed proprietary technology to engineer yeast from sustainably harvested sugarcane. This produces custom molecules that are used in everything from cosmetics, to fuel, to consumer cannabis products.
In just over a decade of public trading, AMRS stock has gone from boom to near bust. Several years ago, the company had to deal with a period of sloppy financial reporting — a legal issue that is still in the process of being settled.
However, recent developments — including the growing recognition of the importance of sustainable development, plus a push into cannabis products — have paid off for Amyris shareholders. Over the past 12 months, AMRS stock is up over 290%.
Currently trading at the $10 level, AMRS also falls nicely within the range of cheap stocks.
Clean Energy Fuels (CLNE)
The election of Joe Biden as President spurred a run on alternate energy stocks. Under his Green New Deal, the government aims to spend big ($1.7 trillion over 10 years) on a pivot to clean energy jobs and infrastructure. That’s largely bad news for oil and gas stocks.
However, Clean Energy Fuels is an exception. You wouldn’t think natural gas would have a place among alternatives like hydrogen. However, Clean Energy supplies natural gas for transportation, and that’s a different story. Massive fleets of transport trucks, utility vehicles, public transit buses, locomotives and construction vehicles across the U.S. are currently powered by diesel.
Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) produced by Clean Energy Fuels reduce tailpipe emissions by 34% compared to diesel, including a 40% reduction in the greenhouse gas CO2. Clean Energy’s Redeem renewable natural gas (biogas) is up to 70% cleaner than diesel and gasoline.
This is proven technology, with over 15 million natural gas-powered vehicles on the road, globally. The conversion cost, existing distribution network, and proven technology mean many fleets are expected to make the move to natural gas for the immediate win, rather than replace their vehicles with zero emissions alternatives like EVs and hydrogen. At least over the short term.
That potential has been good news for CLNE stock. Trading at around $10, it’s still cheap compared to many alternative energy plays. But it’s also had the same huge boost that many hydrogen stocks have seen, with over 300% growth since the start of November.
GenMark Diagnostics (GNMK)
GenMark Diagnostics specializes in multiplex molecular diagnostics. Medical testing, in other words. The company offers rapid testing for a range of illnesses including influenza and bronchitis. After several fairly quiet years, GenMark Diagnostics saw its shares spike in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
In October, GenMark Diagnostics announced it had received Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA for its latest respiratory testing panel, which provides results in under two hours for more than 20 viruses and bacteria — including COVID-19. The company’s CEO commented on the new panel:
COVID-19 is placing a spotlight on the importance of fast, comprehensive molecular testing.
That quote that also sums up why GNMK stock is up over 185% over the past 12 months. The need for rapid testing isn’t going away, and GenMark Diagnostics investors will continue to benefit. Currently trading at under $15, BNMK stock is an easy pick as a cheap stock with serious long-term growth potential.
Himax Technologies (HIMX)
Taiwan-based Himax Technologies is a fabless semiconductor company. It is primarily involved in display image processing technology. That means you’ll find Himax controllers and integrated circuits in a huge range of products including TVs, laptops, digital cameras, auto entertainment and navigation units, projectors, mobile phones, computer monitors and tablets.
In an increasingly connected world where displays and touchscreens are required, Himax components are also finding their way into home appliances, home security products and medical products.
After three years in decline, HIMX stock picked up momentum through 2020. It’s still trading at under $9, but that represents a very healthy 132% gain over the past 12 months.
Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO)
Like many pharmaceutical and biotech companies, Inovio had a wild 2020. As it entered the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, INO stock rapidly gained through the first half of the year. Up until the end of June, investors saw their shares increase in value by over 950%.
Then, as it became clear that other vaccines were going to beat Inovio’s INO-4800 to market, the slump began. At $8.85, INO stock closed out 2020 down 72% from its June highs. As I noted at the time, the year didn’t end on a high note for Inovio.
However, that slump offers a buying opportunity. Still trading in the $9 range, Inovio is one of those cheap stocks that offers big potential. Just look at the situation globally around vaccine distribution. Manufacturers can’t come close to keeping up with the demand. Distribution is also a huge problem, because of the deep cold temperatures required for transportation and storage.
Inovio’s INO-4800 vaccine candidate can be stored at room temperature. That represents a huge competitive advantage over current vaccines. If INO-4800 makes it through trials and is approved, it won’t matter that Inovio wasn’t first to market. Those who bought INO stock now will be pretty happy.
Canada’s SunOpta has been in business since 1973 and listed on the NASDAQ since 1986. The company develops and manufactures plant-based food and ingredients — a focus which is increasingly popular these days.
Rather than pursue the hotly-contested market for hamburger patty replacements, SunOpta sticks with simpler products. Fruit-based snacks, teas, roasted sunflower seeds, plant-based beverages like almond and oat milk, flash-frozen fruit and fruit-based bakery fillings. Brands owned by SunOpta include Sunrich, Arbor, Sunrise Growers and SOWN. The company also produces white label products for retail partners.
STKL stock’s story has been one of boom and bust. 2017 through 2019 was a “bust” phase. Declining revenue and elusive profitability drove STKL down 85% in little over two years.
2020 saw a dramatic recovery, asuring the pandemic, demand for SunOpta’s healthy food products rose. In October, the company reported adjusted EBITA had more than doubled year-over-year for the fourth straight quarter. After bottoming out at $1.50 during the worst of the March stock market crash, STKL has been on an impressive run. Now trading just under the $13 level, it’s up 764% since last March.
SunOpta is far more expensive than it was a year ago, but it’s still a cheap stock — and still on a roll.
United Microelectronics (UMC)
The final entry on this list is United Microelectronics, a Taiwan-based semiconductor company. UMC stock had been relatively flat for a decade, but in 2020 that changed.
Several factors were at play last year. United Microelectronics made significant investments in new equipment sparking rumors of big chip orders in the pipeline. The U.S. government hit rival Chinese chipmakers with sanctions. Reports predicted global chip foundry growth would end 2020 at its highest level in a decade — and projections show demand for foundry capacity likely to keep growing in 2021 as the global economy improves.
In its third quarter, United Microelectronics posted revenue growth up 18.9% YoY. UMC shares ended up gaining over 200% for the year. At $10.00, UMC stock is both inexpensive and primed for continued growth.
On the date of publication, Louis Navellier had a long position in HIMX, STKL, and UMC. Louis Navellier did not have (either directly or indirectly) any other positions in the securities mentioned in this article. InvestorPlace Research Staff member primarily responsible for this article did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.