Low-priced stocks can make relatively big moves when compared to large-cap stocks that trade in the double-digits and that is one reason why I tend to focus on these types of stocks. Tech stocks can also be more volatile when compared to other sectors and when a company is out of favor, it is often possible to buy a bargain. Here are four stocks that are in the tech sector, and also trade below $6 per share. These stocks look cheap, may have bottomed-out and offer upside potential:
Nokia (NYSE:NOK) might be one of the world's most unloved tech stocks. That could be a good thing for investors who are willing to take a contrary viewpoint. Remember not long ago when a turnaround seemed hopeless for Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) and the company announced a major loss relating to its acquisition of Autonomy? That took the stock down to about $10, but it has since more than doubled off the 52-week lows. BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) was also a great buy when the stock was pushed down to the single digits on major pessimism about the future for this company. While major challenges remain for BlackBerry, investors have turned more positive on the outlook and the stock has nearly tripled off the 2012 lows. This shows how it can really pay off to buy stocks when investors have little interest or are even downright (overly) bearish. That could be the case now with Nokia and it could make sense to invest now while expectations are low.
While Nokia might not have the hottest smartphone on the market today, it does have the potential to prosper in emerging market countries. As one excellent article by "Uncommon Sense" points out, Nokia is planning to "connect the next billion" (smartphone users) and it has one of the world's most recognized brands. Many consumers cannot afford a $500 iPhone, and that leaves plenty of opportunity for Nokia.
Furthermore, Nokia could be a takeover target. Some analysts and investors believe that Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is a potential suitor. Nokia has valuable patents and a great brand name, plus, it has an existing relationship with Microsoft. Nokia uses Windows 8 for the Lumia 920 and other models. Microsoft certainly has the resources to buy Nokia (or just about anything) with roughly $68 billion in cash. One article takes the view that Microsoft needs Nokia more than Nokia needs Microsoft. China's Lenovo is known as a PC maker but the company has recently stated it is considering acquisitions in the smartphone sector. Let's not forget that there has been takeover activity in this sector in the past. This includes Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) buyout of Motorola Mobility and Hewlett-Packard's buyout of Palm. Whether or not Nokia is acquired, it looks undervalued and it still has significant turnaround potential.
Camtek Ltd. (NASDAQ:CAMT) is a technological leader in the field of visual inspection. It offers technology that provides image acquisition and processing, which allows manufacturers to optically inspect and detect products for any defects or other anomalies. This type of precision-level inspection is required for semiconductor fabrication, printed circuit boards, as well as other industries. Camtek's products are used by many of the world's largest printed circuit board and semiconductor manufacturers.
Camtek shares were trading around $1.80 in February, but then declined to about $1.45, after the company announced fourth-quarter results. The company had $17.6 million in revenues and a non-GAAP operating loss of $0.6 million and positive operating cash flow of $2.9 million. It also reported cash, cash equivalents and short-term deposits of $26 million as of December 31, 2012. That is equivalent to about 88 cents per share in cash. Roy Porat, CEO stated:
In the past year we strengthened our position in the backend semiconductor market, improved our capabilities through continued R&D investment and achieved some very important customer penetration into leading accounts that is expected to grow in 2013.
So, while investors took a short-term view and sold the stock, it now appears to have bottomed out and to be providing investors with a solid buying opportunity. This company has reported earnings of 39 cents per share in 2004 and 2006, and that gives investors an idea of the kind of earnings power this company can deliver. That can make a big difference in the stock price, which often traded between $6 to $8 per share before the 2008 financial crisis. Investors who buy now and hold for a potential earnings rebound could see major gains from current levels.
Some leading semiconductor stocks like Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU) have surged in 2013, and that could be very bullish signal for Camtek. Micron shares have surged from about $6 to around $10 as the demand outlook for semiconductors improves. A look at Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) shares also seems to indicate that the bottom is in for the semiconductor industry as that stock has jumped from about $10 in November to over $13.50 in recent days. Just like Camtek, Applied Materials also sells equipment to semiconductor companies, so it might not be long before Camtek shares follow industry leaders like Applied Materials, and move much higher.
At current levels, and with a cash-rich balance sheet, the downside risks appear limited. Camtek shares look very undervalued and now trade well below book value, which is $2.03 per share. If the semiconductor industry is rebounding now as the price action in Applied Materials and Micron seems to indicate, it might not be long before Camtek shares head back towards the $2 level in the short term and possibly much higher in the long run.
Iridium Communications, Inc., (NASDAQ:IRDM) is a leading provider of satellite-based phone communications. This stock was trading over $7 in 2013, but a recent pullback has created a solid buying opportunity for this very undervalued stock. Here are a few reasons why investors should be bullish on Iridium and why the stock could be heading much higher in the long run:
1. A recent Forbes article titled "How And When To Buy A Satellite Phone" details why satellite phones are increasingly going mainstream and why Iridium is "now thriving." It states:
Traditional sat phones buyers are government and public safety agencies, energy companies, shippers, and search and rescue organizations. But an increasing number of private individuals are buying sat phones as an insurance policy against losing their capability to communicate with the world.
While you may never have considered buying a sat-phone, you may change your mind after learning a few key facts, especially when you consider the drastic reduction in the cost of equipment and airtime that has occurred in the past few years.
2. Whitney Tilson is a well respected fund manager who finds opportunities in value stocks. He has invested in Iridium shares and has a very bullish outlook for this stock as he has stated:
I believe this is an excellent company and the stock is significantly undervalued. Comparable businesses are trading at 9-10x EV/EBITDA, while Iridium, which is growing significantly faster than and taking share from its competitors, trades at around 6x EBITDA.
3. Iridium is planning to launch a satellite-based aviation tracking network, which will add growth potential with new revenues and customers in the future. Iridium expects growth from this new service. Additional revenue sources will include annual data fees, in addition to about $200 million in one-time hosting fees that Aireon plans to generate between 2014 and 2017. Furthermore, one fund manager believes that this new division could be worth $4 per share by itself, and considering this stock is now trading for $5.99, that is a huge amount of added value.
4. Glenn Tongue of Deerhaven Capital, makes a very bullish case for investing in Iridium. As mentioned above, this fund manager thinks the new Aireon joint venture could be worth $4 per share alone to Iridium and says that if the stock were valued at 8 times EBITDA, the shares are worth about $12.50 today and could continue to rise as revenues grow to between $17.50 to $25.30 in 2016 and to as much as $32.20, in 2017. You can see his slide show presentation on the stock, here. Pay particular attention to page 47.
Analysts expect Iridium to earn 92 cents for 2013 and $1.20 for 2014. That means the price-to-earnings ratio is just about 6 times earnings. This is way below the average stock in the S&P 500 Index (NYSEARCA:SPY). It also appears cheap based on book value, which is $11.46 per share.
Zynga, Inc. (NASDAQ:ZNGA) shares have become volatile in 2013, and recently went over $4. That big rally seemed to be based on exciting plans that this company has for real money gaming online, but also because some analysts believe that Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) could be interested in buying Zynga. However, in recent days, the stock has fallen back to very attractive levels at around $3.18. That is a key support level since it represents the 50- and 200-day moving average. This could mean the stock has limited downside from here and there is still plenty of upside and even takeover potential.
It seems that the hopes for a buyout of Zynga faded after Yahoo announced it would buy a company called Summly. However, that deal was for just about $30 million, hardly a major acquisition. This is important to note because recent reports suggest that Yahoo is working on two "significant" acquisitions and possibly six small deals. That means Yahoo might be ready to make the two significant acquisitions, and Zynga could still be in the running.
Zynga looks cheap at current levels for a number of reasons. Let's not forget that it went public at $10 per share. It has a rock-solid balance sheet, which includes well over $1 billion in cash and just about $100 million in debt. It also continues to make progress on real money gaming and it plans to launch a couple of websites in the United Kingdom, "Zynga Plus Poker" and "Zynga Plus Casino."
With a lot of cash to develop online gaming and other potential revenue sources, a very strong balance sheet and takeover potential, it makes sense to pick up Zynga shares on the recent pullback.
Data sourced from Yahoo Finance. No guarantees or representations are made. Please consult a financial advisor before making investments.
Disclosure: I am long IRDM. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article. I may buy CAMT shares soon.