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 110,000-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

Harvest Natural Resource
(NYSE:HNR)

$3.89

Oil, Gas and Consumable Fuels

4 Stars

342 of 362

GulfMark Offshore
(NYSE:GLF)

$21.11

Energy Equipment and Services

5 Stars

309 of 312

United States Oil Fund (NYSE:USO)

$30.01

Capital Markets

3 Stars

814 of 985

Source: Motley Fool CAPS, as of Dec. 23, 2008

Top-Rated oil, gas and consumable fuels companies:

  • Nordic American Tanker Shipping Limited (NYSE:NAT): Stock price is 7% higher than last year.
  • VAALCO Energy, Inc. (NYSE:EGY): Stock price is 4% higher than last year.

Top-Rated energy equipment and services companies:

  • CARBO Ceramics, Inc. (NYSE:CRR): Stock price is -14% lower than last year.
  • Enbridge, Inc. (USA) (NYSE:ENB): Stock price is -17% lower 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.