"Don't catch a falling knife." Thus commandeth the old saw (to mix cutlery metaphors).

But if people weren't tempted to catch cutlery 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 furthest. Then we'll head over to Motley Fool CAPS and ask which of these stocks Foolish investors think are ready to rebound to new highs -- if any.

With that said, let's meet today's list of contenders, drawn from the latest 52-week lows list at Nasdaq.com:

52-Week High

Currently Fetching

CAPS Rating

Century Casinos  (NASDAQ:CNTY)




Wabash National (NYSE:WNC)




GB&T Bancshares  (NASDAQ:GBTB)




Security Bank  (NASDAQ:SBKC)




Companies are selected from the "NASDAQ 52 Week Low" list published on Nasdaq.com 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
Once again, our list proves the converse of the "everybody loves a winner" maxim. When a stock falls on hard times, its popularity evaporates quickly. Thus, today's list is chock-full of companies that CAPS investors rate as likely underperformers. The best we seem able to come up with is tiny gambler Century Casinos and its mediocre three-star rating.

Obviously, we're seeing no obvious winners this week. But in Century Casinos, at least we have a company that's been examined by 70 pairs of Foolish eyes and emerged with a 94% approval rating. Let's see if that counts for something as we examine ...

The bull case for Century Casinos

  • jwb84 describes Century Casinos as a "relatively small but profitable international casino operator," having U.S., Canada, South Africa, Czech Republic, Poland, and cruise ship franchises.
  • AaronRogers argues that because "people love [to] gamble," and "Las Vegas isn't as inexpensive as it once was ... local [casinos will] flourish in this economic environment. Less money on travel and ore on the tables."
  • danielweise observes that the "ptock is going through transitional phase with large capital outlays which will soon return profits."

That last comment intrigued me. After digging into the financials, I suspect danielweise isn't referring to a current lack of profitability at Century, but rather to the possibility that Century will earn greater profits in the future. You see, while Century already earns an accounting profit, it's been spending a lot of money on capital expenditures, leaving it in the red on a cash-profits basis: $37.8 million was sunk into capex over the last four quarters. To the contrary, free cash flow is running negative to the tune of $28 million over the last 12 months.

That said, if danielweise is right, and these investments do pay off, Century could well bounce back. While it may never be as successful as a Harrah's (NYSE:HET) or MGM Mirage (NYSE:MGM), Century's P/E ratio of 20 offers a significant discount to those two worthies, and analysts expect it to grow faster than the giants. Assuming Century's profits achieve their projected 22% annual growth over the next five years, the valuation looks enticing.

Time to chime in
Of course, the aim of this column isn't just to tell you what I think about Century Casinos -- or even what the other CAPS players are saying. We also want to hear your thoughts on this, or any other company on today's list. If you've got an opinion, we've got a place to voice it.

Motley Fool CAPS: It's fun, it's free, and it just might make you famous.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.