August 28, 2008
Over the past year, the S&P 500 has fallen more than 12%.
Doesn't sound like that much, but a deeper look through the index shows many companies that have taken quite a beating over the past year. Companies like Freddie Mac (NYSE: FRE ) , Washington Mutual (NYSE: WM ) , Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM ) , and National City Corporation (NYSE: NCC ) lead the pack of percentage losers, with their stock prices dropping anywhere from 82% to 93% over the past year. Now that's huge!
When stock prices fall, value investors come to feast. While some companies are worth looking at, my Foolish colleague Ilan Moscovitz lists three companies (which happen to be a part of the S&P 500) that he believes are value traps: Capital One Financial (NYSE: COF ) , Lehman Brothers (NYSE: LEH ) , and Merrill Lynch (NYSE: MER ) .
Are these three companies value traps or not? Vote in our poll below!
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Which value trap should you avoid?