3 Top Stocks at Half-Price

You love buying your shirts when they go on sale. And who can resist a buy-one-get-one-free offer? So when our stocks go on sale, why do we bemoan their low prices?

Smart investors like Warren Buffett or Marty Whitman love it when their stocks are suddenly selling at bargain-basement prices. For them, these companies become no-brainer buys.

The investors in the Motley Fool CAPS community also like a bargain, apparently. Below, you'll find three companies whose shares are selling at least 50% below their 52-week highs, but which still earn high honors from our investor-intelligence database. Consider it a BOGO sale on stocks.

Stock

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

% Off 12-Month High

China Security & Surveillance Technology (NYSE: CSR  ) ***** 52%
General Maritime (NYSE: GMR  ) **** 70%
Skechers (NYSE: SKX  ) **** 55%

Naturally, we want you to look a bit closer at these stocks before buying. You can get low-priced appliances in the dent-and-ding section of your home-remodeling superstore, but their quality might not be so good. Same thing here: Make sure there's nothing seriously wrong with the company before you plug it into your portfolio.

Take two, they're small
Recently, I sided with the short-sellers looking to take down China Security & Surveillance Technology, or CSS, because of its debt load and the questionable relationship between its CEO and another company he owned. Having pledged virtually all of his shares to the debt of that company, CSS' CEO set up the company for a fall, which is exactly what happened. Shareholders got diluted, and the stock got creamed.

CAPS member tomunc wonders if this might not be some grand scheme by the CEO to get CSR on the cheap, but General Electric (NYSE: GE  ) is a major shareholder in the security specialist -- it owns more than 5% of CSS' stock, making it one of the biggest shareholders -- and WalkThePlank2 says there's little chance of it not being above board.

China Security & Surveillance's stock is down 20% so far this year alone, but you can keep an eye on its progress by adding it to the Fool's free portfolio tracker.

A reserve player
With oil soaring well over $100 a barrel, you have to wonder why General Maritime can't do better for itself. Sure, you'd expect Frontline (NYSE: FRO  ) , with one of the largest fleet of oil tankers, to appreciate as oil prices rise since price inflation can induce OPEC to pump out more oil. However, General Maritime is the No. 2 tanker owner and could potentially benefit as well.

The oil tanker operator has been troubled for a while and resorted to selling off ships to lighten its debt load. It completed the sale of three tankers last month and immediately leased them back, and it agreed to sell two other ships. While management says these sale-leaseback arrangements "enhance the age profile of our fleet and improve our liquidity position," CAPS member tahoejack says it's an unenviable position to be in.

This stock has been driven to point that if it doesn't go belly up should return 500% over the next 3 years. Selling ships to pay off debt is not a good sign but if it can survive. Turmoil in the Middle East should keep prices higher to return to profitability.

Let us know in the comments section below or on the General Maritime CAPS page whether this oil tanker operator will get swamped by the unrest unraveling the Middle East.

Walk a mile in my shoes
Plastic-shoe maker Crocs (Nasdaq: CROX  ) has done an admirable job of turning its business around and telling its critics to take a hike. While its distinctive shoe is not exactly unique, as there have been many knock-offs made of it, and its shoes are not exactly fashionable, despite their reputed comfort, the company has learned to move beyond that shoe and offer a more complete lineup of styles.

Skechers seemed to go in the other direction. It offers a wide variety of styles but seemingly wanted to lace up its business in what was obviously a fad from the get-go, its "toning sneakers." Like Crocs before it, Skechers got stuck with a ton of inventory that it had to unload resulting in a hit to margins.

We can laugh like we did at Crocs, but we'd be mistaken to dismiss Skechers so offhandedly. It still ranks among the largest sneaker makers behind market leader Nike (NYSE: NKE  ) and one false misstep won't implode the whole business. At just nine times earnings estimates, a minuscule valuation relative to its growth prospects, Skechers looks like a shoe unwarrantedly thrown into the discount bin. stevenoid certainly thinks it has the financial foundation to mount a comeback.

this stock has been beaten down over the last 6-8 [months], but their sales & earnings have grown at a min. of 35% & 43% respectively over the last 4 qtr.'s on a yr over yr basis. they also sport a 6.9 p/e, an approx. .5 price/ sales ratio.

Add Skechers to your watchlist, then walk over to the Skechers CAPS page and let us know if you think it can shape up.

Have half a mind
Sign up today for the completely free CAPS service, and tell us whether these stocks are twice as good at half the price.

Nike is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. 

Fool contributor Rich Duprey does not have a financial position in any of the stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings here. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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