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 approach will allow us to make some initial comparisons among semi-related companies.

There are 24 industry groups as defined by the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS). Commercial and Professional Services is one of them.

Below are the top three companies in this space (by market cap) that are hugging 52-week lows.

Company

Recent Price

52-Week Low

52-Week High

P/E Ratio (Trailing)

Waste Management (NYSE: WM)

$36.82

$31.11

$37.25

18.2

Republic Services (NYSE: RSG)

$29.94

$25.15

$32.95

29.2

R.R. Donnelley & Sons (Nasdaq: RRD)

$17.16

$14.87

$23.20

30.8

Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's.

You should notice a couple things quickly in this table:

  1. The top two companies are trash collectors.
  2. Both are within 20% of their 52-week lows but are actually closer to their 52-week highs.

In fact, if you look at the five-year stock charts of both Waste Management and Republic Services, you'll see that they have been remarkably flat except for a dip in early 2009, along with just about every other stock out there.

Despite its boring business, the boring stock chart, and "meh" earnings multiple, my fellow Fool Jeremy Phillips has named Waste Management the most outstanding dividend stock he knows.

If you're interested in reading more about these stocks, add them to My Watchlist to find all of our Foolish analysis on them.

Anand Chokkavelu doesn't own shares of any company mentioned. Waste Management is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Republic Services and Waste Management are Motley Fool Income Investor picks. Motley Fool Options has recommended a write covered straddle position on Waste Management. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.