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

Provident Energy Trust (USA) (NYSE:PVX)

$6.02

Diversified Investments

4 Stars

437 of 458

Graco, Inc. (NYSE:GGG)

$28.88

Diversified Machinery

5 Stars

317 of 326

The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW)

$27.91

Chemicals - Major Diversified

5 Stars

1222 of 1296

Source: Motley Fool CAPS, as of Oct. 9, 2008

Top-rated diversified investments companies:

  • Permian Basin Royalty Trust (NYSE:PBT): Stock price is 42% higher than last year.
  • Sabine Royalty Trust (NYSE:SBR): Stock price is 6% higher than last year.

Top-rated diversified machinery companies:

  • The Gorman-Rupp Company (AMEX:GRC): Stock price is 13% lower than last year.
  • Peerless Manufacturing Co. (NASDAQ:PMFG): Stock price is 14% lower 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.