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

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" so you can "sell high" later? If so, your best chance of getting that initial low entry price comes when panicked sellers are unloading their shares at whatever price they can get.

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 investor's shopping list. 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:

Currently Fetching

CAPS Rating

Hartmarx Corp (NYSE:HMX)



IndyMac Bancorp  (NYSE:IMB)



Flagstar Bancorp  (NYSE:FBC)



Fremont  General  (NYSE:FMT)



Seacoast Banking  (NASDAQ:SBCF)



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 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 that institutions become desperate 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). Sadly, Our CAPS community has scanned Wall Street's sell list this week, and found bargains in terribly short supply. Oh, cheap stocks we have aplenty -- but most investors think they're "cheap for a reason."

But is all hope lost? Is there naught to be bought in the discount bin this week? Perhaps there is. Read on as we try to construct ...

The bull case for Hartmarx
Lacking a clear (or even opaque) winner this week, I'm exercising editorial purview to focus on one stock that, while maybe not a buy, sure has a tempting valuation. The stock: Chicago-based apparel maker Hartmarx. Fifty-seven CAPS players have reviewed the stock, and half a dozen have made pitches in its favor. Unfortunately, these pitches include one non sequitur ("Fast growing mexican economy"), one unsubstantiated assertion that the stock is worth twice its current price, and one gentle-Fool who appears to have Hartmarx confused with a homebuilder. Not a lot to work with, folks.

So let me try my hand at putting together the bull pitch on this one, OK? At first glance, Hartmarx looks like anything but a bargain. Analysts expect profits to grow at about 12% per year over the next five years. That's not as good as they're positing for competitors Polo Ralph Lauren (NYSE:RL) or Phillips-Van Heusen (NYSE:PVH), but at least it's positive. Yet weighed against the firm's trailing P/E of 65, I admit that the 12% growth rate doesn't exactly sparkle.

But consider: When you look past the GAAP numbers and examine Hartmarx's cash profits, you'll see that this company generated $20.4 million in free cash flow over the last 12 months. Divide that into the firm's $186 million market cap, and Hartmarx emerges with a price-to-free cash flow ratio of 9 -- not bad for a 12% grower.

Granted, the firm also carries a hefty slug of debt, resulting in an enterprise value-to-free cash flow ratio of nearly 16. In my book, that means this stock remains a bit too expensive to own. But if management continues to pay down debt, and/or the stock price keeps falling, this one could eventually turn into a buy.

See how simple it is to write a CAPS pitch? Why, to paraphrase the GEICO commercials, "it's so easy, even a bull can do it." So if you see a stock on today's list that deserves a round of applause, come on over to CAPS and give it a try.

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.