I am always looking for a good deal, whether that means buying an extra box of Golden Grahams when they're on sale or pouncing on undervalued stocks. The idea that anybody would sell a stock for less than its worth may seem silly, but legendary value investor Ben Graham (no relation to the cereal) tells us, by way of allegory, how we can look out for these situations.

In The Intelligent Investor, Graham introduces readers to a wacky chap named Mr. Market. Mr. Market’s game is to pay you house calls on a daily basis to offer to sell you interests in businesses he owns or to buy interests in businesses you own. Sometimes Mr. Market will show up at your door very excited and offer you premium prices for your holdings, while at other times he'll be inconsolably depressed about the future and will offer to sell you what he has for as low as pennies on the dollar.

So to find some of the stocks that Mr. Market is depressed about, I’ve turned once again to The Motley Fool’s CAPS investor community. Each of the companies below had been given a five-star rating (the highest) by our community of investors just 30 days ago:


30-Day Return

1-Year Return

Current CAPS Rating

Allied Irish Banks (NYSE:AIB)




Terex (NYSE:TEX)




Dynamic Materials




Canadian Natural Resources (NYSE:CNQ)




Cameco (NYSE:CCJ)




Philip Morris International (NYSE:PM)




Joy Global (NASDAQ:JOYG)




Data from Motley Fool CAPS as of Feb. 17.

As the table shows, these stocks are all still very well regarded by the CAPS community, despite their underperformance over the past month. While these are not formal recommendations, they could be a great place to kick off some further research. I'll even get you started with some thoughts on Philip Morris International.

Why so blue?
Philip Morris International was hit by a disappointing earnings double feature over the past month. First, investors' fingers found their way to the sell button when former parent Altria (NYSE:MO) announced adjusted earnings that met analysts' expectations, but at the same time called off its stock buyback program.

Not even a week later, Philip Morris International absorbed a second blow when it announced its own earnings. Though earnings for the quarter easily passed analysts' estimates, the company revealed that the strengthening dollar has been putting a pinch on its bottom line. Since the company sells its products in other countries but reports results in U.S. dollars, the fact that the dollar has apparently been sneaking some steroids means that its sales in Russian rubles and Turkish lira don't translate into quite as many dollars. For 2009, management expects that currency translation could have an $0.80 impact on the company's earnings per share.

What the bulls say
There are plenty of reasons to panic today. There are likewise plenty of reasons to be a seller today -- retailers are facing hurricane headwinds, while banks are ... well, what do banks actually have going for them at this point? But is it really time to cut Philip Morris International from your portfolio?

Maybe you already know where I'm going with this, but if you don't, it boils down to a simple four-letter word. No, not the one that you've been yelling at the market’s wild mood swings -- I'm talking about “vice.” For better or for worse, even during recessionary times, we can count on people all over the world continuing to indulge in a few devilish pleasures.

I don't know that I'd consider vice to be nice across the board -- casinos, for one, are a guilty pleasure that may be left untouched by many strapped gamblers -- but cigarettes and alcohol are two areas that should hold up very well during the tough times. Though the currency impact on Philip Morris International is very real, the currency-adjusted double-digit earnings growth is exactly the kind of recession-bucking performance that's appealing right now.

On CAPS, there is an overwhelming gang of 1,719 members who have given Philip Morris International's stock a thumbs-up, versus a paltry 25 who think it will lag the rest of the market. CAPS All-Star mistrgolf rated the stock an outperformer late last month and kept the pitch short and sweet: "Solid dividend, strong growth and price appreciation potential during a recession or in good economic times. Seems like a no-brainer to me."

So do you think the recent drop has created a good buying opportunity? Or will Philip Morris International run into an even bigger currency headwind? Let the community know what you think -- head over to CAPS and share your thoughts with the other 125,000 members currently part of the community. Even if you'd prefer to pass on Philip Morris International, you can check out a couple of the other stocks listed above, or any of the 5,400 stocks that are rated on CAPS.

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