By James Brumley
NEW YORK (
) -- As cliche as the term "stocks on sale" has become, there's still something exciting about grabbing a great stock for less than five bucks a share. They just seem well equipped to dole out bigger rewards -- in terms of percentage gains -- than their higher-priced counterparts.
With that as a backdrop, here are five sub-$5 equities you may want to consider as we head into 2011.
1. Cincinnati Bell (CBB - Get Report)
-- Cincinnati Bell earned more in 2008 than it did in 2007, and earned more in 2009 than it did in 2008. Now that the economy is out of the rut, however, this regional telecom is anticipated to post less income this year than it did last year.
Respectfully, to the analysts, please notice the trend.
While rampant growth has never been the company's strong suit, that's not a fault of Cincinnati Bell -- that's just telecom. The trade-off is amazing value. Priced at only 5.7 times trailing earnings and 6.6 times earnings projections for the next 12 months, it's a bargain by most standards. And remember, those are highly reliable earnings.
The icing on the Cincinnati Bell cake is the recently-swollen short interest. At 13.8% of the float, all those traders who drove the stock down lately may end up spurring a short-covering rally.
2. Mizuho Financial Group (MFG)
-- Believe it or not, there are other investment-worthy countries in the Far East besides China. Try Japan, where the banks are apparently coming out of the balance-sheet-blasting credit crunch much faster than their U.S. counterparts. Though the official results aren't in yet, Japan's top three banks are expected to have more than tripled their profits in the past six months on a year-over-year basis. As more bad debt is shed from the books, bottom lines should continue to grow.
Are the numbers the real ones, or just the published ones? Great question, though it may not really matter. If the investing public believes in the results, they'll respond in kind. That's good news for the likes of Mizuho Financial Group, especially now that the company is looking to expand internationally.
3. LSI (LSI)
-- After seven earnings beats and no misses in the past 14 quarters (and three beats in the past four quarters), the market should start to recognize that this semiconductor manufacturer is underestimated. The fact that the company is on pace to grow earnings by +37% this year and +8% next year is just gravy.