If you're aiming to buy low and sell high, then it makes infinite sense to start your search with bargain-priced stocks. Regularly reviewing a list of stocks trading near their 52-week lows can be a great first step.
Here, I'll try to do the initial legwork for you. To prevent us from being inundated with scores of disparate companies, I'll conduct my search by industry. This will allow us to make some initial comparisons among semi-related companies.
Today, let's look at some regional bank stocks. Following are seven banks within 3% of their 52-week lows as of yesterday's close and have market caps above $200 million.
Trailing P/E Ratio
|Tompkins Financial (AMEX: TMP )
|Union First Market Bankshares (Nasdaq: UBSH )
|Bank of Hawaii (NYSE: BOH )
|Regions Financial (NYSE: RF )
|First Midwest Bancorp (Nasdaq: FMBI )
|City Holding (Nasdaq: CHCO )
|First Financial (Nasdaq: THFF )
Sources: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's, and Yahoo! Finance.
Regional banks are my favorite niche area of the market, so I'm especially excited to look at the 52-week lows in this area.
Looking at factors such as bad loan percentage, provisioning for those bad loans, and dividend yield in addition to the price multiples above, I'd have to say that my favorite bank of this bunch is actually the most expensive on a price-to-book basis.
Notice that although Bank of Hawaii trades at an elevated price-to-book ratio, its P/E ratio is in line with the four other profitable banks here. That's because it tends to generate very high returns on its book value. Bank of Hawaii has been on my watchlist for quite some time, and I finally bought shares in my bank-focused, public-facing real-money portfolio and my personal portfolio (as Fool trading guidelines allowed) within the past month.
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