How to Analyze Penny Stocks

by Karen Rogers

    Penny stocks are stocks that are usually priced under one dollar a share and are thinly traded, which can make them a challenge to research. Penny stocks don't have the same reporting requirements as stocks listed on the major exchanges, nor do they have the same regulatory oversight. Penny stocks are notoriously volatile, and daily price swings of 20 percent or more are common. Conducting a thorough analysis can help a trader find a penny stock company worth the investment.

    Step 1

    Select a sector or industry that’s in an uptrend across the market. Penny stocks don’t lend themselves to short trading because of their small stock price. Many are thinly traded, and investors getting caught in a short squeeze will have a difficult time selling due to a lack of buyers.

    Step 2

    Go to the Securities and Exchange Commission website to check if the stock has been recently delisted from a major exchange. The most common reason for delisting is the stock price falling under a dollar a share. While this doesn’t mean the company is automatically destined for bankruptcy, it does make it more difficult to raise capital and remain in business through stock sales.

    Step 3

    Get copies of the company’s most recent SEC filings from a free online financial data provider. Examine the financial statements to determine the company’s overall financial health. Analyze the value of the assets along with the amount and type of debt the company carries. Look at the cash figure to see if the company is liquid enough to continue day-to-day operations.

    Step 4

    Determine how the company makes money, along with its growth potential. Use the financial reports to see how well the executives and board of directors are managing the company. Key in on the stock's daily volume and price movements. Look for a minimum daily volume of 100,000 traded shares. Pull up the price chart and look for increased volume combined with a rising stock price indicating an upward trend or a possible price breakout.

    Step 5

    Select a penny stock to trade that's trending up with a minimum daily volume of 100,000 shares. Be sure the company hasn’t been recently delisted by an exchange. The company's operations should make money, and it should have enough cash in reserve to maintain daily operations. This is the type of penny stock that should return a tidy profit when you close out your trade.

    Tip

    • Stock prices and volume can change based on news announcements. Determine if a fundamental change in the company accounts for a sell-off before closing your position.
    • Check penny stock newsletters for the SEC mandatory statement that discloses if the newsletter has been paid to tout the stock. Avoid those stocks.

    Warning

    • Don’t trade a position so large it would be difficult to close it out. Consider taking your profit and closing your position when the trade gives you a 20 to 25 percent return.

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Based in St. Petersburg, Fla., Karen Rogers covers the financial markets for several online publications. She received a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of South Florida.

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