Many investors have a love affair with cheap stocks, but low-priced stocks are generally missing a key ingredient of past stock market winners: institutional sponsorship.
A stock can't make big gains without the buying power of mutual funds, banks, insurance companies and other deep-pocketed investors fueling their price moves. It's not retail trades of 100, 200 or 300 shares that cause a stock to surge higher in price, it's big institutional block share trades of 10,000, 20,000 or more that cause these great jumps in price when they buy -- as well as great price drops when they sell.
Institutional investors account for about 70% of the trading volume each day on the exchanges, so it's a good idea to fish in the same pond as they do. Stocks priced at $1, $2 or $3 a share are not on the radar screens of institutional investors. Many of these stocks are thinly traded so it's hard for mutual funds to buy and sell big volume shares.
Remember: Cheap stocks are cheap for a reason. Stocks sell for what they're worth. In many cases, investors that try to grab stocks on the cheap don't realize that they're buying a company mired in problems with no institutional sponsorship, slowing earnings and sales growth and shrinking market share. These are bad traits for a stock to have. Institutions have research teams that seek out great opportunities, and because they buy in huge quantities over time, consider piggybacking their choices if you find these fund managers have better-than-average performance.
The reality is that your prospect of doubling your money in a $1 stock sure sounds good, but your chances are better of winning the lottery. Focus on institutional quality stocks.