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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Two Stocks I Like - Penny Stocks

The two stocks featured here are speculative plays. Neither company is currently netting a profit. Put another way, there is a very real possibility that these companies could fall into bankruptcy. Neither company has conclusively proven that their business model works. Nonetheless, these companies are innovative enough, and have enough “real” earnings potential to warrant some consideration. I own both.

U-Food Restaurant Group (UFFC, OTC)

U-Food Grill is a fast-food restaurant chain that focuses on healthy fast food: organic rice, low-fat cheeses, whole-grain breads, hormone-free lean meats etc. Their menu includes U.S. staples such as burgers and fries (baked), wraps, rice bowls, and salads. They currently have 10 locations in the U.S.

U-Food Grill’s official spokesperson is former heavyweight champion George Foreman, whose image is everywhere. George Foreman fits in perfectly with the healthy image of U-Food, as well as the “healthy grilled food” concept made famous by his George Foreman Grill.

U-Food initially got killed during the credit crisis, as its prices were significantly higher than traditional fast food outlets (between $8-14 per meal). Now, their prices are in line with other fast food restaurants ($5-10 per meal). The recession also, I think, helped U-Food define its long-term strategy. They recognized that their restaurants do best in areas with above-average incomes, or where there is a real demand for healthier fast food. In response, U-Food is now focusing on opening restaurants in hospitals and airports.

Stock Price (at time of writing): $0.073 USD


HearAtLast Holdings (HRAL, OTC)

This company is a Canadian-based retail store with 28 locations, specializing in mid- to high-end hearing aids. HearAtLast formerly opened small shops that competed with local hearing aid stores, but changed its strategy a couple of years ago, choosing instead to be co-branded with a large retailer: Wal-Mart Canada.

I visited HearAtLast’s location in the Wal-Mart megastore in Westbank BC in 2009, and got a tour of the location from the local manager. Customers who suspect hearing trouble start with a simple test using a set of headphones. If their hearing is not perfect, an appointment is made for a rigorous test in a sound-proof booth (located in back). If necessary, an appropriate make and model of hearing aid is afterward presented to the client. The store was clean, sharp, high-tech, and located right at the entrance & check-out area. Perfect.

Stock Price (at time of writing): $0.0585 USD

Do not buy stocks, or take this or any other financial advice without doing your own analysis; including, but not limited to: reviewing business models, financial statements, management style and philosophy, recent developments, market macroeconomic analysis, and chart analysis. If you do not know how to do these things, you shouldn't be buying stocks in the first place. Seek the advice of professionals, as appropriate.