With skyrocketing prices these days, we could all use a pick-me-up, which brings us to the best stocks under $15 to buy for 2023. For about the price of lunch in the current monetary paradigm, astute investors can instead choose to make their money work for them. Better yet, these market ideas are attractively priced.
When you consider the full breadth of publicly traded securities – including foreign shares traded over the counter – we’re talking about tens of thousands of potential opportunities. So, how did I determine which of these names represented the best stocks under $15 to buy? While authors exercise creative liberties regarding the term “best,” using Gurufocus, I based my assessments on the following attributes: financial strength/stability, risk profile and valuation.
Of course, the concept of the best stocks under $15 to buy will invariably arouse debate and perhaps heated disagreement. Therefore, I’m going to stick mainly to the core financial metrics that stood out. From there, you can make your decision where these ideas will work for you.
Best Stocks Under $15 to Buy: Epsilon Energy (EPSN)
Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Epsilon Energy (NASDAQ:EPSN) represents an independent oil and natural gas firm specializing in onshore projects. At the moment, Epsilon commands a market capitalization of $151.5 million. Shares gained nearly 15% on a year-to-date basis, closing the Dec. 7 session at $6.66.
Fundamentally, what stands out the most about Epsilon centers on its overall excellent fiscal profile. According to Gurufocus, the hydrocarbon energy specialist commands nine good signs with no yellow or red flags. Having used this investment resource for years, I can tell you that’s a rarity. Among the positive attributes are fiscal strength, low bankruptcy risk and an undervalued profile relative to sales.
Other notable attributes include a zero-debt balance sheet, strong revenue growth and outstanding profit margins. Its return on equity (ROE) stands at 40.5%, meaning it enjoys superior conversion of equity financing into profits. For all this, the market prices EPSN at less than 5 times trailing 12-month ( ) earnings. It’s a steal among the best stocks under $15 to buy for 2023.
Marine Products (MPX)
Based out of Atlanta, Georgia, Marine Products (NYSE:MPX) designs and manufactures premium-branded boats, including those geared for watersports and fishing. Presently, Marine Products commands a market cap of $377 million. Since the start of the year, MPX dropped more than 12%, leading to a price tag of $11. Still, it’s arguably one of the best stocks under $15 to buy.
While questions might arise about the resilience of the consumer regarding luxury discretionary spending, by the numbers, Marine Products enjoys a strong balance sheet. For instance, it features no debt. Admittedly, a no-debt profile isn’t always a positive attribute during bullish cycles. But amid economic headwinds, having limited liabilities facilitates incredible flexibility.
On the income statement, the company benefits from excellent profit margins. For example, its net margin stands at 10.6%, beating out more than 86% of the competition. As well, Marine Products prints a strong ROE of 35.6%, reflecting a high-quality business.
Again, for all this, the market prices MPX at 10-times trailing earnings. This compares favorably to the sector median value of 16.2 times.
Best Stocks Under $15 to Buy: Tencent Music Entertainment (TME)
Based in China, Tencent Music Entertainment (NYSE:TME) develops music streaming services for the Chinese market. At time of writing, TME carries a market cap of $13.5 billion. Since the start of the year, shares have gained a bit more than 16%. That’s a rarity given the headwinds impacting the Chinese market and economy. In the trailing month, TME skyrocketed more than 100%.
Granted, many investors don’t like buying into extreme strength for fear of holding the bag. And no, we’re not talking about a bag of gold. Still, for patient investors, TME provides plenty of legs. Fundamentally, Tencent Music boomed in large part due to a strong showing for the third quarter. In turn, this performance reflects pockets of resilience within the Chinese consumer base.
Financially, TME cuts an attractive figure because of its financial strength. For instance, its Altman Z-Score pings at just over 4 points, reflecting low bankruptcy risk. In addition, the company’s equity-to-asset ratio is 0.71 times, better than 62% of the competition. Therefore, it’s worth consideration for best stocks under $15 to buy.
Headquartered in Clayton, Missouri, FutureFuel (NYSE:FF) is a developer and producer of chemicals and biofuels. At the moment, FutureFuel carries a market cap of $382.5 million. Shares have gained 12% since the January opener, leading to a price tag of $8.73. In the trailing month, FF jumped higher by more than 27%.
Fundamentally, what really sticks out for FutureFuel regarding its candidacy for best stocks under $15 to buy centers on its war chest. Its cash-to-debt ratio stands at 525 times, beating out more than 91% of its peers. In addition, its equity-to-asset ratio is 0.82 times, ranking above 86% of sector players. As well, its Altman Z-Score pings at 5.8, reflecting very low bankruptcy risk.
To be fair, FutureFuel somewhat represents an aspirational business. For example, its three-year revenue growth rate is middling, as are its operating and net margins. Still, the company enjoys 10 years of consecutive profitability in the trailing decade.
Also, note its Shiller price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio sits at less than 7 times. In contrast, the sector median value is 20.2 times.
Best Stocks Under $15 to Buy: Mastech Digital (MHH)
Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Mastech Digital (NYSEAMERICAN:MHH) is a digital transformation and information technology services company. Currently, Mastech commands a market cap of $151.2 million. Since the start of the year, MHH dropped nearly 25% of equity value, leading to a per-share price of $13. Still, shares gained half a percent in the trailing month, possibly reflecting a stabilization point.
A prime attribute for Mastech focuses on its balance sheet. It features an equity-to-asset ratio of 0.74 times, superior to nearly 83% of the industry. Also, its Altman Z-Score pings at 6.6, reflecting very low bankruptcy risk.
On an income-related note, Mastech carries a ROE of 14.2%. This figure exceeds 65% of sector players, indicating better-than-average performance of converting equity financing into profits.
Still, the standout metric for Mastech must surely be its forward P/E ratio of 6.4 times. In contrast, the sector median value is 13.7 times. If you’re looking for a significantly undervalued name among the best stocks under $15 to buy, MHH could be it.
Natural Alternatives (NAII)
Based in Carlsbad, California, Natural Alternatives (NASDAQ:NAII) manufactures nutritional supplements such as Juice Plus. Presently, Natural Alternatives features a market cap of less than $50 million, essentially making it a nano-cap play. Since the beginning of this year, NAII dropped nearly 39% of equity value. Granted, this “performance” makes NAII one of the riskiest ideas among the best stocks under $15 to buy. However, it has redeeming qualities.
For what it is, Gurufocus identifies Natural Alternatives as owning a relatively strong balance sheet. For instance, its equity-to-asset ratio is 0.6 times, beating out nearly 61% of the competition. Also, its Altman Z-Score of 3 reflects decent (though not great) stability.
On the income statement, the company’s three-year revenue growth rate stands at 12.5%, above 75% of the industry. Also, it enjoys a decent quality business based off its ROE of 9.8%.
Nevertheless, NAII remains badly overlooked. The market prices shares at 5.5-times trailing earnings. In contrast, the sector median is 17.6 times.
Best Stocks Under $15 to Buy: MiX Telematics (MIXT)
Based in South Africa with several offices throughout the globe, MiX Telematics (NYSE:MIXT) is a provider of fleet and mobile asset management solutions delivered as Software as a Service (SaaS). Currently, MiX commands a market cap of $190.3 million. Since the January opener, MIXT has declined by nearly 36% of equity value, leading to a per-share price of $7.69.
Although another highly risky name among the best stocks under $15 to buy, it might also represent smart speculation. For instance, Gurufocus identifies MiX as featuring solid financial strengths. In the balance sheet, the company doesn’t necessarily have outstanding metrics. Rather, it keeps core metrics in the middle of the park, allowing it to have a fighting chance.
On the income statement, the enterprise again doesn’t enjoy glaringly positive attributes. Still, its operating margin of 7% ranks better than nearly 64% of the competition. Also, MiX enjoys 10 years of consecutive profitability over the past decade.
Finally, the market prices MIXT at 15.5-times forward earnings. In contrast, the sector median value is 23 times, reflecting an undervalued profile.
On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.