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In my recurring Fool column, "Get Ready for the Bounce," we search for future winners in a pile of 52-week losers. But do we really need to sit around for a whole year, waiting for a fallen stock to bounce back?

Nope. Sometimes stocks fall hard, in far less time than a year. And like a superball dropped from the balcony, the harder they fall, the higher they bounce. Today, we'll look at a few equities that've suffered dramatic drops over the past week. With a little help from the 170,000 members of Motley Fool CAPS, we hope to find an opportunity or two for you:



How Far From 52-Week High?

Recent Price

CAPS Rating

(out of 5)





NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA  )




Brocade Communications (Nasdaq: BRCD  )




United States Natural Gas  (NYSE: UNG  )




National Bank of Greece (NYSE: NBG  )




Companies are selected by screening on for abrupt 5% or greater price drops over the past week. 52-week high and recent price data provided by CAPS ratings from Motley Fool CAPS.

What a week
For many investors -- in fact, I'd go so far as to imagine for most investors -- September was a terrific time to be invested in the stock market. As the month drew to a close, the Dow posted its best September return ever, giving investors a whopping 7.7% return on their money. And yet, that last week of the month was mostly a coasting affair, as markets flatlined over the final few days.

What pulled the plug on the rally and let the steam out of the markets in the home stretch? Well, there was the revival of government debt worries in Europe, of course. Ireland was the catalyst this time around, but that didn't prevent investors from taking out their ire on the stock-poster boy for Greek default risk, National Bank of Greece. Meanwhile, another perpetual concern -- the fears of natural gas oversupply -- sucked even more air out of the already deflated United States Natural Gas.

Other concerns were more stock-specific. IBM's (NYSE: IBM  ) agreement to buy Blade Network Technologies put the kibosh on rumors that Brocade was IBM's takeover target. NVIDIA's decline probably owes to similar factors, as investors rethink the likelihood of an Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL  ) takeover attempt.

But the most interesting decliner of the week has to be EMC. The company announced a six-month delay in the arrival of its ballyhooed "mid-range" Clariion and Celerra storage solutions, and received a downgrade from Lazard Capital Markets in consequence. Yet despite the downgrade, and the drop, Fools still think highly of EMC's chances ... and so do I.

The bull case for EMC
At its heart, the argument in favor of EMC is a bargain price. Valued at just 12.2 times its annual free cash flow of $3.4 billion, but expected by most analysts to grow at 15.5% annually over the next five years, EMC looks every inch the bargain.

Dig a little deeper, though, and it quickly becomes apparent that EMC is even cheaper than it looks. CAPS member birdland6147 reminds us that EMC owns a greater than "80% stake in VMWare," a $35.2 billion company in its own right. That stake alone backs up $28.2 billion worth of EMC's own $41.8 billion market cap. Remove VMware from the EMC mix, and what you're left with, according to the Fool's own TMFRhino, is a valuation that's simply "laughable."

But that's just the first step. CAPS All-Star sk8terman urges us to go one step further and "back out the cash" on EMC's balance sheet as well -- another $3.6 billion, net of debt.

So, when all is said and done, how cheap is EMC? You can do the math. The $41.8 billion minus $28.2 billion minus $3.6 billion more equals a mere $10 billion on EMC's business, proper. A business that is generating $3.4 billion in annual free cash flow.

Foolish takeaway
In EMC, we have the opportunity to own a business (ex all the extras) priced at a low, low three times free cash flow, despite being poised to grow at 15.5% per year over the next five years. Call me a crazy optimist, call me a Fool -- but I can't imagine a scenario in which EMC does not bounce back from last week's drop.

But hey, that's just me. Maybe you disagree? If so, I'd love to hear why. Click over to Motley Fool CAPS right now and tell me where I'm going wrong.

Motley Fool CAPS: It's fun, it's free, and it just might make you famous.

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. You can find him on CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he was recently ranked No. 593 out of more than 170,000 members. The Fool has a disclosure policy. 

NVIDIA is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. The Fool has opened a diagonal call spread position and written puts on United States Natural Gas. The Fool owns shares of IBM, National Bank of Greece, and Oracle. 

True to its name, The Motley Fool is made up of a motley assortment of writers and analysts, each with a unique perspective; sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but we all believe in the power of learning from each other through our Foolish community.

Read/Post Comments (1) | Recommend This Article (10)

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  • Report this Comment On October 04, 2010, at 6:20 PM, easyavenue wrote:


    Good article. Question: I don't understand why Wall St. doesn't value this company higher? Surely the gurus have done the same analysis as above. And yet the price falls. Why? There must be some risk keeping them away. Low volume - staying away from the market generally? A high market correlation? Any thoughts on why? Other than that they must not be Fools.



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