Investors are often loath to explore possibilities with hitherto unrecognized stocks.

However, with the potential of risk, there is also the possibility of great reward.

Although these four relatively small companies may not have the brawn of an Apple, Microsoft or Pfizer, they carry the potential for larger gains.

Apple is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. See how Cramer rates the stock here. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells AAPL? Learn more now.

Image placeholder title

1. Centrus Energy (LEU) - Get Report
Shares of this supplier of enriched uranium fuel for commercial nuclear power plants have more than tripled this year. A number of factors, such as Chinese demand for uranium, which is expected to nearly double by 2020, and new contracts with UT-Battelle, were behind the surge.

Centrus Energy is a much smaller company than Cameco or Denison Mines when it comes to uranium-linked stocks.

Analysts offering 12-month price forecasts for Centrus Energy have a median target of $44.60.

Image placeholder title

2. Corbus Pharmaceuticals Holdings (CRBP) - Get Report
This stock registered massive gains in 2016.

The clinical-stage drug developer is focused on explosive growth areas in its quest for state-of-the-art medicine.

The company's lead product candidate, Resunab, is a synthetic oral endocannabinoid-mimetic drug, targeting chronic inflammation and fibrotic processes.

It is important to remember that small-drug-company stock prices are extremely volatile because they fluctuate depending on trial results. So far, positive results from a phase 2 clinical trial have helped investors lock in fantastic returns.

Resunab is the only drug in the company's research pipeline, making it heavily reliant on the success of a single product.

The four analysts offering 12-month price forecasts for Corbus Pharmaceuticals Holdings have a median target of $18, which would represent a 110% gain.

Image placeholder title

3. Live Ventures (LIVE) - Get Report
This holding company acquires U.S.-based middle-market growth manufacturing and value-added distribution firms.

Shares are up nearly 170% this year and is ripe for robust gains in 2017 according to analysts' price targets.

The stock had a 1-for-6 reverse split to appeal to institutional investors.

The company closed two acquisitions -- Marquis Industries and Vintage Stock -- over the past 18 months.

Image placeholder title

4. Pershing Gold (PGLC) - Get Report
This emerging Nevada gold producer is rapidly advancing its spread across the Relief Canyon mine. The low-cost, small gold mining company boasts several key capabilities including solid leverage to rising prices, future-ready infrastructure, a low-risk location, an excellent production track record and zero debt.

With a potential production profile of almost 90,000 ounces of gold per year, Pershing Gold carries great potential.

After a 23%-plus dip over the past six months, the stock is set to bounce back.

The one-year median price target is $6.90, which would represent a 114.95% gain.

However, some analysts are concerned about the company's lack of clarity around commercial production time lines.

Plus, the risk of equity dilution linked to the frequent raising of funds is a possibility.

---

As we've just explained, the above stocks are smart bets now. If you're looking for other growth opportunities, we've found a genius trader who turned $50,000 into $5 million by using his proprietary trading method. For a limited time, he's guaranteeing you $67,548 per year in profitable trades if you follow his simple step-by-step process. Click here now for details.

The author is an independent contributor who at the time of publication owned none of the stocks mentioned.