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I am always looking for a good deal, whether that means buying an extra box of Golden Grahams when they're on sale or pouncing on undervalued stocks. The idea that anybody would sell a stock for less than it's worth may seem silly, but legendary value investor Ben Graham (no relation to the cereal) tells us, by way of allegory, how we can look out for these situations.

In The Intelligent Investor, Graham introduces readers to a wacky chap named Mr. Market. Mr. Market's game is to pay you house calls on a daily basis to offer to sell you interests in businesses he owns or to buy from you interests in businesses you own. Sometimes Mr. Market will show up at your door very excited and offer you premium prices for your holdings, while at other times he'll be inconsolably depressed about the future and will offer to sell you what he has for as low as pennies on the dollar.

To find some of the stocks that Mr. Market is depressed about, I've turned once again to The Motley Fool's CAPS investor community. Each of the companies below had been given a five-star rating (the highest) by our community of investors just 30 days ago:


30-Day Return

One-Year Return

Current CAPS Rating

Manitowoc (NYSE: MTW  )




Atwood Oceanics (NYSE: ATW  )




ATP Oil & Gas (Nasdaq: ATPG  )








Mindray Medical (NYSE: MR  )




Transocean (NYSE: RIG  )




Valero Energy (NYSE: VLO  )




Data from Motley Fool CAPS as of Dec. 8.

As the table shows, these stocks are all still very well-regarded by the CAPS community despite their underperformance over the past month. While these are not formal recommendations, they could be a great place to kick off further research. I'll even get you started with some thoughts on Motley Fool Global Gains pick ABB.

Why so blue?
Although ABB's earnings announcement hit the newswires more than a month ago, it's not done dragging the stock down. In late October, the company reported both revenue and profit (less extraordinary items) down noticeably from the prior year. And that profit decline came despite a hefty $1 billion of cost-cutting over the first nine months of the year.

Those declines may not have been all that surprising, but what may still be weighing heavily on investors' minds is that new orders fell significantly and ABB's management team basically threw up their hands and said that they were unsure "how quickly capital investments by customers will recover from the downturn."

Since the earnings announcement, the company has also been implicated in a corruption scandal via its unit in Texas, and has seen its stock downgraded by HSBC. While neither of those are huge events, getting kicked while you're down is never a pleasant experience.

What the bulls say
But if there's anything a Fool like me knows, it's that it's the big picture, not the most recent quarter, that is the primary concern when evaluating an investment. And ABB shines the brightest when we look at the bigger picture.

The company's largest business is supplying heavy-duty equipment for electricity grids around the world. Emerging economies are helping electricity usage grow by leaps and bounds, while more mature economies are sitting on aging equipment that will need to be replaced or upgraded. This puts a lot of potential business on the table for ABB, particularly as we emerge from the global recession.

More than 1,600 CAPS members have rated ABB's stock an outperformer. All-Star yooperking gave ABB a thumbs-up back in mid-2008 and said:

ABB is in the driver's seat of the vehicle headed into the future of their utitlity and industry customers, with a range of products, systems and services for power transmission, distribution and power plant automation. The Co. delivers automation systems for measurement, control, motion, protection and plant optimization, enhancing their customers productivity and efficiency.

But here's the important question: Do you think the recent drop has created a good buying opportunity? Or will ABB continue to struggle? Head over to CAPS and share your thoughts with the 145,000 members currently part of the community. Even if you'd prefer to pass on ABB, you can check out a couple of the other stocks listed above or any of the 5,300 stocks that are rated on CAPS.

Want to follow in the footsteps of an investing legend? I highlighted what Warren Buffett looks for when he's scouting for investments.

ABB is a Motley Fool Global Gains recommendation. Mindray Medical is a Rule Breakers selection. Atwood Oceanics is a Stock Advisor pick. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt likes in CAPS by visiting his CAPS portfolio or you can connect with Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool. The Fool's disclosure policy offers you one Schrute buck for reading this far.


Read/Post Comments (6) | Recommend This Article (19)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On December 09, 2009, at 2:32 PM, DrBob66 wrote:

    So why exactly is VLO a "highly rated" stock? Losing money for past several quarters (and probably next quarter as well) $10/sh in at >12x FYF EPS (assuming an optimistic $1.28/sh in 2010). The only thing it has going for it now is a decent dividend...can they afford to continue paying it?

    Seems to me like it could be a value trap...

  • Report this Comment On December 09, 2009, at 3:13 PM, TMFKopp wrote:


    Those are some great thoughts on Valero. Have you shared those on CAPS?


  • Report this Comment On December 09, 2009, at 10:10 PM, Fool wrote:

    Valero will be doing just fine on long run. Buy this stock when it cheap.


  • Report this Comment On December 09, 2009, at 11:12 PM, TMFEdyboom223 wrote:


  • Report this Comment On December 10, 2009, at 4:34 PM, Fooltofollow wrote:

    So tell me, how do you (Motley Fool) write articles that say ATPG can cause a permanent loss of capital and write 2 other articles screaming that ATPG is the best thing since sliced bread? I ssuspect it makes it easy to be right later on, but it's no help to those reading your information and trying to use it to determine the value of a stock.

    I'm just...

    a Fooltofollow

  • Report this Comment On December 10, 2009, at 9:46 PM, TMFKopp wrote:


    Thanks for the comment, that's actually a commonly misunderstood aspect of The Fool.

    There is no "you" at The Motley Fool -- we're a collective of writers/investors that all have our individual thoughts/opinions about stocks. So while I might think Berkshire Hathaway is the bee's knees, another Fool writer may think it's overpriced and not worth the investment.

    The Fool believes it's better to allow conflicting opinions to be voiced rather than have some sort of strict party line on particular stocks. After all, the stock market is a market and there's a buyer for every seller, so differing opinions should be expected.

    As for your specific example of ATPG, I'm not sure of the other articles you're referring to, but you might note that I didn't say all that much about ATPG above -- let alone "[scream] that ATPG is the best thing since sliced bread."

    I assume, though, that you're referring to the five-star rating on ATPG. That rating comes via our CAPS community -- a community of over 145,000 investors that are sharing their thoughts on thousands of stocks. If you haven't already checked out CAPS, I encourage you to do so ( and you can tell the community exactly what you think of ATPG.

    Fool on!


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