"We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful." -- Warren Buffett

Out of the quadrillions of quotations quarried from that most loquacious of quotationists, this one holds a special place in the hearts of Foolish investors. Are you looking to "buy low" in order to later "sell high"? If so, your best chance of getting that initial low entry price comes when panicked sellers are unloading their shares at whatever price is on offer.

In today's column, we search the ranks of Wall Street's motivated sellers and note which stocks they're most frantic to unload. Therein may lie the makings of a contrarian's Christmas list (to him- or herself). But don't just take my word for it. Before you decide to go in through Wall Street's out door, check your thinking against the collective intelligence of Motley Fool CAPS investors.

Today's contenders include:

30-day price decline

Currently fetching

CAPS rating

Sonic Wall (NASDAQ:SNWL)




Worldspace (NASDAQ:WRSP)




Celestica (NYSE:CLS)




Greenbrier (NYSE:GBX)




Sirf Technology (NASDAQ:SIRF)




Olympic Steel (NASDAQ:ZEUS)




Grupo Simec S.A.B. de C.V. (NYSE:SIM)




Companies are selected from the "Institutional Ownership Down Last Month" list published on MSN Money on the Saturday following close of trading last week. Price decline and current pricing also provided by MSN Money on the same date. CAPS ratings from Motley Fool CAPS.

The problem with pessimism
The problem with going against the grain on Wall Street is that when professional traders get pessimistic, their grim outlook can become a self-fulfilling prophecy -- at least in the short term. The more desperate institutions become to abandon a stock, the lower the price they'll accept to get rid of it. And as their "ask" prices drop, the "bid" prices of buyers will fall in tandem, creating the very price decline that they feared in the first place.

Until the selling stops.

In through the out door
When it will stop is anybody's guess. But until it does, savvy investors have a chance to "get greedy," and snap up some bargains from these fearful sellers (if bargains they truly be). Which of the above seven stocks fits the bill? In today's list, we see three instances in which Main Street agrees with Wall Street, but in a rare moment, CAPS players say the professionals are just flat-out wrong on most of these companies.

You rarely see CAPS bestowing four and five stars on Wall Street's pariahs. Perhaps the professionals know something about the steel industry that we lay investors do not? Before deciding, let's listen in on what CAPS investors have to say about Mexican mini-mill operator Grupo Simec:

  • TheGrunk1971 , who sits in the top quartile of CAPS players, argues that "consolidation within the steel industry will be the driving force behind the rise in this stock."
  • Valuesleuth contributes: "Sector is still oversold." Laconic. Also a bit short on detail. But with a CAPS rating in the top 0.1% of CAPS analysts, even Valuesleuth's hunches are worth listening to.

There you have it, folks -- the wisdom of two ordinary Fools, out of the 145 who have rated this stock. Do you agree with them, or with the Wall Street professionals? Either way, come on over to CAPS and tell us what you think about Grupo Simec or any of the other stocks on today's list.

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's currently ranked 44 out of more than 18,000 raters.