Under $5 Stocks at Risk of Defaulting

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- The stock-market crash that started almost two years ago pushed hundreds of companies' shares close to zero. Many are still trading at less than $5, stoking investor fears that bankruptcy is imminent.

There are few reliable gauges to determine which companies are at a higher risk of going broke than others. The Altman Z-score is one of them.

The Altman Z-score, a formula developed by New York University professor Edward Altman in 1968, measures companies' financial health to predict which may enter bankruptcy within two years. The gauge was 80% to 90% accurate on samples of distressed firms one year prior to bankruptcy by examining working capital, retained earnings and other measures, according to Altman's study.

Altman Z-scores carry three classifications. Companies with an Altman Z-score of at least 3 are considered "safe," while those with 1.8 or less are "distressed." Those in between are in a gray zone. Some stocks trading under $5 even have a negative score.

TheStreet ranked companies on the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq trading at less than $5 with a minimum $5 million market value and the strongest Altman Z-score. Each company's current ratio is given, which helps measure the ability to meet short-term obligations.

5. Nymox Pharmaceuticals ( NYMX) in July said the Safety Monitoring Committee meeting for the Phase 3 U.S. pivotal trials of its benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) drug NX-1207 was "favorable and indicated no significant safety concerns for the trials to date. NX-1207 has been shown to improve the signs and symptoms of BPH, producing improvements which reached statistical significance compared to double-blinded placebo and study controls," the company said.

Altman Z-score: -65.69

Closing Price: $4.43 (Aug. 4)

2010 Total Return: -2.9%

Current Ratio: 0.83. A current ratio below 1 indicates that Nymox would have difficulty meeting its short-term obligations with current assets if those liabilities came due.

Consensus: EVA Dimensions had a "hold" rating on the stock as of July 2. No other firm covers Nymox shares.

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