"Don't catch a falling knife." So goes the old saw, to mix a cutlery metaphor.

But if people weren't tempted to catch falling knives in the first place, there'd be no need for this little bit of investing wisdom, would there? The idea of buying a former highflier at a discount price certainly has its attractions. The trick, of course, is to increase the odds that when you make your grab, you're catching haft, not blade. That's where we come in.

In The Motley Fool's continuing effort to keep your investing dollars safe, today we once again assume our position beneath Mr. Market's silverware drawer. As the knives plummet, we'll measure who's fallen the farthest. Then we'll head over to Motley Fool CAPS and ask which of these stocks -- if any -- Foolish investors think are ready to rebound to new highs.

With that said, let's meet today's list of contenders, drawn from the latest "52-week lows list" at MSN Money.


52-Week High

Currently Fetching

CAPS Rating
(5 stars maximum)









Plug Power (NASDAQ:PLUG)




Beverly Hills Bancorp (NASDAQ:BHBC)



No rating

Shamir Optical (NASDAQ:SHMR)



No rating

Companies are selected from the "New 52-Week Lows" list published on MSN Money on the Saturday following close of trading last week. 52-week high and current pricing provided by Yahoo! Finance. CAPS ratings from Motley Fool CAPS.

Knives and knaves
As you can see, our fellow investors over on CAPS aren't terribly enamored of this lot. The vast majority of the stocks on MSN's "shot" list don't even have CAPS ratings, because they're too small and too illiquid to merit inclusion in our service. Of those that did make the initial cut, two score below average in the minds of our investors, two more hardly register at all -- and then there's Camtek.

Ready to bounce?
Camtek, the U.S.-listed subsidiary of Israel's Priortech, competes with companies ranging in size from giant Hitachi (NYSE:HIT) to tiny Orbotech (NASDAQ:ORBK) in manufacturing automatic optical inspection systems (essentially, quality-control devices) used in the printed circuit board and semiconductor industries. Although profitable and currently trading for a single-digit P/E, the company got a bad rap last month when it warned of a revenue shortfall -- at which point, it apparently popped up on the value-seeking radar for a number of CAPS players. Here's what they have to say:

  • Player squished18 believes that Camtek has "a natural moat" and argues that "it takes a lot of combined expertise to build systems like this that work well. The longer you do it, the better you get at it, and the harder it is for somebody to try to enter the market."
  • Never at a loss for words, and never one to ignore a bargain, CAPS superstar downwithpumpers argues that Camtek is just "down on a temporary earnings shortfall. Strong balance sheet, profitable. It's ready to rebound."
  • And finally -- how can I possibly pass up quoting a Latin CAPS pitch? Quoth sandvig: "Pretium iustum est -- The price is right."

Are they right? Are they wrong? Tell us what you think on Motley Fool CAPS. So far, just one All-Star rater thinks Camtek will underperform the S&P from its current, depressed price. Maybe you can be No. 2.

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 30 out of nearly 20,000 raters. The Fool has a disclosure policy.