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by Ann McQueen

These five red-hot tech stocks have the newswires abuzz with their price volatility, current low prices, and other news. Below are synopses of their performance and the opportunities they may offer investors.

Sina Corp. (NASDAQ:SINA) – SINA owns China’s third most popular website. It is currently trading around $81.10, marking the lowest closing price in three months. It has ranged from $48.50 to $147.12 over the past 52 weeks.

It is showing a loss per share of $0.70. Its forward price to earnings ratio is 50.37. Price to book value is 4.16. It is showing a return on equity of -3.30 percent. Quarterly revenue growth is 19.7 percent, but SINA is showing a loss in quarterly earnings of 60.5 percent. SINA carries $2.95 million in debt and reports $826.39 million in cash. Its market capitalization is $5.32 billion.

SINA’s competitor Sohu.com Inc. (NASDAQ:SOHU), a Chinese search engine with online advertising, gaming, and other services, is currently trading around $53.10, which is also a three-month low. Its 52-week range is $52.59 to $109.37. It reports earnings per share of $4.19 and a price to earnings ratio of 12.66. SOHU’s forward price to earnings ratio is 9.22. Price to book value is 2.54. Return on equity is 23.32 percent. Quarterly revenue growth is 36 percent, and quarterly earnings growth is 32.30 percent. It carries no debt and reports cash of $811.41 million. Market capitalization is $2.03 billion.

As of Tuesday, short selling interests in SINA rose to 9.3 percent of its outstanding shares. Last week, news that the Chinese government may crack down on companies-- like SINA-- that are set up as variable interest entities (VIEs), hit the wires. The VIE in China is a business structure that permits foreign investors to skirt Chinese regulations that bar foreigners from owning businesses in certain industries. SINA and SOHU were among the first Chinese companies to use this structure to skirt Chinese ownership rules. At this time, no specific actions have been announced. Some headlines offer advice on trading SINA options, while others tout “Buy” recommendations.

There is no doubt that opportunities to cash in on SINA’s volatility exist with options trading. Even though SINA’s price has dropped significantly in the past months, conservative investors should best beware, since SINA’s ups and downs will likely continue.

Baidu Inc. (NASDAQ:BIDU) - Known as the Chinese Google, this Internet search service is currently trading around $121.40. Its 52-week range is $94.33 to $165.96. Earnings per share is $2.19, and price to earnings is 55.32. Price to book value is 25.51. Return on equity is strong at $56.76. Quarterly revenue growth is very attractive at 78.4 percent. I am also impressed with BIDU’s quarterly earnings growth of 95 percent. It carries $42.06 million in debt, which is offset by its $1.6 billion in cash. Market capitalization is $42.37 billion.

Its American counterpart, Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO), is trading around $14.20. Its earnings per share is $0.88, and its price to earnings ratio is 16.09. YHOO’s price to book value is 1.46. Return on equity is 9.45 percent. YHOO reports a decline in quarterly revenue of 23.3 percent. Quarterly earnings growth is 11.1 percent. It carries $40 million in debt and shows $2.55 billion in cash. Its market capitalization is $17.92 billion.

Also a VIE, BIDU carries a lot of regulatory risk that could impact American investors. Some investment professionals feel its attractive metrics, first place advantage in its market, and favorable protectionist regulations create significant growth potential.

BIDU is another stock surrounded by speculation. It definitely appeals to experienced investors comfortable with options trading and higher levels of risk. Because of the uncertainty of the future of VIEs, it may be best for more conservative investors to wait before buying.

Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) – This DVD-by-mail and streaming company has received a lot of attention from the headlines. After raising prices in July, NFLX estimates it will lose 1 million customers. In August, it lost a streaming agreement with Starz Entertainment. Earlier in September, it split its movie rental business and its streaming business. News hit the wires Sunday that a new streaming deal with DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. (NASDAQ:DWA) had been reached.

NFLX is currently trading around $127.15, very close to its 52-week low of $125.02. Its high was $304.79. Earnings per share is 43.94, and price to earning ratio is 32.26. Its price to book value is 20.05. Return on equity is 83.62 percent. Quarterly revenue growth is 51.7 percent, and quarterly earnings growth is 56.70 percent. NFLX reports total debt of $235.18 million and cash of $376.41 million. Its market capitalization is $6.68 billion.

Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is NFLX’s competitor that is currently trading around $127.15. Its 52-week range is $125.02 to $304.79. Earnings per share is $3.94, and its price to earnings ratio is 32.26. Its price to book value is 13.11. Return on equity is 15.24 percent. It does not carry any debt. Total cash is $6.36 billion. AMZN’s market capitalization is $104.27 billion.

While NFLX carries risks, it is trading near its 52-week low, which is good for potential buyers. Potential investors should be prepared for price volatility, but I believe it will recover from its troubles and perform in the long run.

OpenTable, Inc. (NASDAQ:OPEN) – This online restaurant reservation service was founded in 1998 and went public in 2009. Its market capitalization is $1.11 billion. It is currently trading around $46.90, which is toward the lower end of its 52-week trading range of $43.25 to $118.66. Its earnings per share is $0.80, and its price to earnings ratio is 58.96. Price to book value is 9.41. Return on equity is 18.29 percent. Quarterly revenue growth is 52.7 percent, and quarterly earnings growth is 144.8 percent. It carries no debt and reports $69.1 million in cash.

Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), the mega-cap search engine, is trading near $528.85. Its 52-week range is $473.02 to $642.96. Earnings per share is $27.72, and price to earnings ratio is 19.08. Price to book value is 3.35, and return on equity is 19.47 percent. Quarterly revenue growth is 32.30 percent, and quarterly earnings growth is 36.1 percent. GOOG carries $6.14 billion in debt but has $39.12 billion in cash. Market capitalization is $170.76 billion.

Headlines about OPEN focus on its low share price and leading online reservation-making service. OPEN goes into restaurants and provides its system at close to cost, which creates a wonderful value for restaurants. Speculation over GOOG’s purchase of Zagat, a restaurant review company, has investors wondering if reservations will be added to Zagat’s menu. OPEN is a new, small-cap company that carries risks, but its growth potential is phenomenal. While its stock is volatile, it absolutely offers opportunities for options traders and other investors with high tolerance for risk. It could also find a place with more conservative investors with well-diversified holdings and longer investment timelines.

Ancestry.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:ACOM) – This small-cap family history website is currently trading around $24.60. It has closed between $20.67 and $45.79 over the past year. Earnings per share is $1, and its price to earnings ratio is 24.47. Price to book value is 3.36. Return on equity is 15.03 percent. Quarterly revenue growth is 36.1 percent, and quarterly earnings growth is 94.3 percent. ACOM carries no debt. Cash totals $71.02 million. Market capitalization is $1.12 billion.

Travelzoo Inc. (NASDAQ:TZOO), an Internet media company that publishes travel and entertainment deals on websites like travelzoo.com and fly.com, is currently trading around $23.70. Its 52-week trading range is quite wide from $22.80 to $103.80. TZOO shows a loss per share of $0.10. Its price to book value is 10.78. TZOO shows a loss on equity on equity of 4.23 percent. Quarterly revenue growth is 33.7 percent, and quarterly earnings growth is 51.5 percent. Market capitalization is $389.8 million.

Analyst recommendation trends point to “Strong Buys” and “Buys,” thanks to its current low price. Zack’s rates it a “Strong Buy.” It appears on a list of “20 Smart Money Picks Hitting New Lows.”

I like ACOM. It doesn’t cost much. It’s trading near its 52-week low. It shows potential for growth. It would make a nice addition to a conservative, well-diversified portfolio as well as to one more amenable to risk.

Source: Is Now The Time To Buy These 5 Tech Stocks?