How to Trade Penny Stocks – A Guide

Updated September 21, 2022 GuidesStocks
Trade penny stocks

While market titans like Microsoft and Amazon today command sky-high share prices, there was a time in their early history when they were trading for just a few dollars per share.  

Their success proves that even relatively unknown companies with small market capitalisation can turn into runaway success stories, potentially providing life-changing returns to early investors.

The quest for the next Apple or Meta is a popular theme among investors and traders dealing in penny stocks, but this somewhat-romanticised view obscures the potential and pitfalls of this popular asset class.   

What are penny stocks?

Penny stocks are stocks and shares issued by small-cap companies that trade for under USD5 per share.

Although a select few penny stocks can be discovered on major stock exchanges like the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), most are primarily traded through over-the-counter (OTC) networks. 

Penny stocks tend to trade infrequently and have low liquidity. Combined with the comparatively less-rigorous reporting requirement for stocks traded via OTC channels, and the small size of the companies involved, penny stocks are considered to be highly speculative and carry greater volatility than mid-cap or large-cap stocks.

How to trade penny stocks 

You can start buying penny stocks by signing up for an online brokerage that offers OTC trading. The popularity of penny stocks has prompted many brokerages to include OTC trades as part of their services allowing their customers to invest in penny stocks through them. 

Alternatively, you could also hire a stockbroker to help you make OTC trades or penny stock trading, but this would likely come with a higher fee.   

In addition, you can also gain indirect exposure to penny stocks by using financial derivatives, such as Contracts –for Difference (CFDs), options and futures.  

Using CFDs allow you to potentially create and capitalise on opportunities from price movements in either direction. If you think the price will go up, you can execute a long trade to capitalise on the upward movement. Conversely, if you think the price will go down, a short trade can likewise furnish a return. 

Of course, you will only make a gain if the penny stock price moves in accordance with your trade. If the opposite happens, you will make a loss instead.  

Read our 5-step guide to help you get started to trade stocks online here

Why invest or trade in penny stocks?

Some penny stock investors are attracted to the penny stock market due to their low prices. It can be an appealing prospect to own several thousand shares with just a small budget, whereas the same amount might only buy you a few shares of a mid-cap or large-cap company.  

Additionally, day trading penny stocks can offer the potential for higher returns due to the higher volatility in share prices. When the price of a penny stock swings wildly up and down, the large price differences may potentially boost trading outcomes. 

This potential for significant upsides can be attractive to investors focused on chasing short-term outcomes. Of course, downside exposure is also amplified to the same degree, and a losing trade involving penny stocks can have substantially worse aftermath.

A third reason to buy penny stocks is the potential for long-term and lucrative returns should the company prove to have a successful business model that enables it to grow into a stable and enduring enterprise.

How to find penny stocks

Because most penny stocks are not included in major stock exchanges, newcomers may wonder where they should goto begin investing in penny stocks.

One good place to start is with OTCMarkets, a forum that collates over 17,000 OTC securities at the time of writing[1].

Investors can search for and view information related to the largest collection of U.S.-listed penny stocks, which are categorised into three tiers based on the quality and quantity of the listed companies’ information and disclosure[2].

Additionally, there are several websites and news portals dedicated to penny stocks. For example, maintains a list of the top penny stocks being traded on the NASDAQ, NYSE, OTCQX, OTCQB & Pink Sheets, making for a handy guide for newcomers looking to get into penny stock investing [3].

Meanwhile, penny stocks discussions, recommendations and analyses may also be found on websites and blogs focused on personal finance, investing and market news.

Examples of penny stocks

By definition, a penny stock is any stock that trades for under USD5 per share, which means you can find penny stocks across multiple different industries and sectors [4].

The following list of Top 10 penny stocks on the NASDQAQ and NYSE illustrates the diverse nature of the asset class. The companies listed below are only presented as examples of penny stocks and not a recommendation for investment.

Penny stockIndustry
Faraday Future Intelligent Electric Inc. (FFIE)Automotive
Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. (SRNE)Biotechnology
iQIYI, Inc. (IQ)Media entertainment
Selecta Biosciences, Inc. (SELB)Biotechnology
Agenus Inc. (AGEN)Biotechnology
Clovis Oncology, Inc. (CLVS)Biotechnology
Nano Dimension Ltd. (NNDM)Hardware
BlackSky Technology Inc.(BKSY)Hardware
View, Inc. (VIEW)Construction
Cronos Group Inc. (CRONPharmaceuticals

Where to Buy Penny Stocks? 

how to trade penny stocks

Several online brokerage platforms provide traders with the chance to invest in penny stocks. Before settling on a particular platform, traders should thoroughly research and understand the unique features each one offers to ensure it aligns with their trading preferences. 

A leading multi-asset broker, Vantage offers traders the opportunity to buy penny stocks. By signing up for a live account today, traders can engage in trading stock Contract for Differences (CFDs). This provides them with the flexibility to capitalise on both upward and downward market trends, either by going long or short.  

Risks of trading penny stocks

Penny stocks may offer some unique propositions to investors, but trading in penny stocks is not without risk. In fact, the nature of penny stocks means some risks are heightened.

Look out for the following risks when trading penny stocks.

Lack of company information

Penny stocks are held to looser reporting standards than shares issued by larger, more established companies.

This means that there is less company information available (or if present, less easily verifiable, or of lesser credibility), which puts investors at a disadvantage, as red flags may go unnoticed.

Little to no company history

It is important to note that penny stocks are often companies that are newly formed or listed, or may be near the end of their business life. This lack of a track record makes it difficult to gauge the potential of a stock.

Low liquidity

Because penny stocks typically have low market capitalisation, investors and traders face the risk of low liquidity.

A lack of liquidity can prevent penny stock traders from executing their transactions – there may not be sufficient liquidity to support the sale of your holdings, and you may be forced to accept a lower price.

Penny stock scams

Penny stocks may carry a higher risk of scams, which can be perpetuated in several ways.

For one, the difficulty in verifying the foundation and background of a penny stock company can make investors unaware they are buying into a shell company that has no actual business operations and revenue.

For another, the low market capitalisation of a penny stock makes it susceptible to price manipulation, allowing scammers to carry out a pump-and-dump on unsuspecting investors.

Small-cap companies may also embark on campaigns to artificially inflate the price of their penny stock by paying influencers and media outlets to publish biased recommendations and content.

Penny stocks – high risk, high reward

It is important to note that penny stocks are a highly volatile asset class and carry a higher level of risk than larger-cap stocks.

There are also more dangers you have to watch for, such as an increased threat of scams, and a lack of credible or verifiable information.

Penny stocks may not be suitable for all investors. Anyone who is planning to invest or trade in penny stocks should only do so at an acceptable level of risk, practice sound risk management, and limit the use of leverage.

Start Trading with Vantage Access markets including forex, commodities, indices, shares/stocks and more, at low cost. Start trading CFD stocks by opening a live account here, or practice trading with virtual currency with a demo account. You can also sign up for our free, weekly webinars that will break down the current markets as well as discuss potential trade set ups for the week.


  1. “Stock Screener – OTC Markets” Accessed 10 March 2023 
  1. “OTC Markets Group Inc – Investopedia” Accessed 10 March 2023 
  1. “List of Penny STocks –” Accessed 10 March 2023 
  1. “Penny stock – Corporate Finance Institute” Accessed 10 March 2023 
  1. “List of Penny STocks –” Accessed 10 March 2023 

Vantage does not represent or warrant that the material provided here is accurate, current, or complete, and therefore should not be relied upon as such. The information provided here, whether from a third party or not, is not to be considered as a recommendation; or an offer to buy or sell; or the solicitation of an offer to buy or sell any financial instruments; or to participate in any specific trading strategy. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. We advise any readers of this content to seek their own advice. Past performance is not an indication of future results whereas reference to examples and/or charts is solely made for illustration and/or educational purposes. Without the approval of Vantage, reproduction or redistribution of this information is not permitted.

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