Of all the tidbits of insight I've heard over these few crazy months, the most telling came from an investor who appeared on CNBC last fall and, being completely serious, advised, "There're only two positions to be in right now: cash, and fetal."

Panic, anyone?
I get it. It's brutal out there. Many companies that overleveraged their balance sheets are permanently impaired and will likely never rebound -- Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and General Motors (NYSE:GM) come to mind. We had an unprecedented boom; now we're in the middle of an unprecedented bust.

Nevertheless, history tells us time and time again that market panics and forced selloffs indiscriminately throw the good out with the bad. Amid the frenzy over financial markets and the "sell-now-ask-questions-later" mood of global investors, opportunities are being created for bargain-hunting investors like we haven't seen in decades.

Using the wisdom of our 125,000-member-strong CAPS community, I've come across what could be one of those bargain opportunities: Himax Technologies (NYSE:HIMX)

CAPS Rating (out of 5)


One-year performance


Recent share price


2009 EPS estimates




Market cap

$340 million

Total cash & short-term investments

$149 million

Total debt


Fools bullish on HIMX are also bullish on:

General Electric (NYSE:GE), Vale (NYSE:RIO)

Fools bearish on HIMX are also bearish on:

Potash (NYSE:POT), CryptoLogic (NASDAQ:CRYP)

Data from Motley Fool CAPS and Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor’s, as of Feb. 22. TTM = trailing 12 months.

Based in Taiwan, Himax is in the business of developing and selling semiconductor parts for consumer goods such as flat-panel TVs and video cameras. How many people buy those in an economy this depressed? Not nearly as many as in previous years, that's for sure. Thankfully, this stock's nearly 70% nosedive in the past year already reflects that carnage.

After the stock's spectacular fall in the past year, our CAPS community is now predominately bullish, betting that the recent plunge has pushed Himax into bargain territory. As CAPS member funkywizard wrote last month:

With a PE ratio of 5 and with no debt on hand and cash on hand equal to 40% of the stock's price, this is obviously a strong value play. Potentially weak sales in LCD panels have beaten this stock along with the market, but, much of that weakness should be present in the forward PE ratio 5 (trailing PE is 2). It looks like this stock is priced for bankruptcy, but there's no indication that is going to happen.

Combine all this with dividends that, at the current stock price, are astronomical (trailing 20% and forward 30%) and there's a lot to like about this stock.

At $1.79 per share -- 44% in cash and short-term investments -- Himax trades at just over seven times 2009 earnings estimates. Even if the market for its electronic goods continues to wane (which will likely be the case), the effective earnings yield after stripping out Himax's huge slug of excess cash provides more than enough margin of safety to put the odds of success well in your favor going forward.

Your turn to chime in
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Fool contributor Morgan Housel doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. CryptoLogic is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation. The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.