When a stock hits a fresh low, it can either signal a dirt cheap dream stock or a dreadful stock to avoid. Separating the wheat from the chaff is difficult, but finding well-run companies at bargain-basement prices is a great way to accumulate a fortune over the long run.

With that in mind, we'll use the aggregate intelligence of the 115,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS to see what the community is saying about stocks hitting 52-week lows today. The community's approval (signified by four- and five-star ratings) could indicate that further research is in order.

Here are three such stocks:

Company

Today's Intraday Price

Industry

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Fools Saying Outperform

Coeur d'Alene Mines Corp (NYSE:CDE)

$1.62

Silver

4 Stars

1180 of 1239

Abraxas Petroleum Corp. (NASDAQ:AXAS)

$2.97

Independent Oil and Gas

4 Stars

650 of 671

Banco Santander Central Hispano SA (ADR) (NYSE:STD)

$16.04

Foreign Money Center Banks

4 Stars

343 of 357

Source: Motley Fool CAPS, as of Sept. 5, 2008.

Top-rated silver companies:

  • Silver Wheaton Corp. (USA) (NYSE:SLW): Stock price is 22% lower than last year.
  • Silver Standard Resources, Inc. (USA) (NASDAQ:SSRI): Stock price is 43% lower than last year.

Top-rated independent oil and gas companies:

  • Brigham Exploration Company (NASDAQ:BEXP): Stock price is 121% higher than last year.
  • VAALCO Energy, Inc. (NYSE:EGY): Stock price is 88% higher than last year.

Join us on CAPS to learn more about these and countless other interesting stock ideas.

Disclosure is important to us here at The Motley Fool. The stocks mentioned in this article received their CAPS ratings from participants in The Motley Fool's CAPS service and have hit 52-week lows during today's trading. No individual person selected the stocks in this article, so there is no author to disclose an interest in them. Annual performance is measured over a 365-day period. Since this article was automatically generated by identifying the stocks rated by the CAPS community and by buyers in today’s market, it is possible that Motley Fool personnel (and even The Motley Fool itself, through our Million Dollar Portfolio), have positions in these stocks. We thought you'd like to know that. You can learn more about The Motley Fool’s disclosure policy here.