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 120,000-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 two such stocks:

Company

Today’s Intraday Price

Industry

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Fools Saying Outperform

Rio Tinto plc (ADR) (NYSE:RTP)

$65.56

Metals and Mining

4 Stars

1092 of 1134

Aracruz Celulose S.A. (ADR) (NYSE:ARA)

$7.06

Paper and Forest Products

4 Stars

259 of 272

Source: Motley Fool CAPS, as of Dec. 3, 2008.

Top-rated wireless telecommunication services companies:

  • Partner Communications Company Ltd (ADR) (NASDAQ:PTNR): Stock price is 20% lower than last year.
  • Cellcom Israel Ltd. (NYSE:CEL): Stock price is 25% lower than last year.

Top-rated metals and mining companies:

  • Compass Minerals International, Inc. (NYSE:CMP): Stock price is 31% higher than last year.

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

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.