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 -- banks and leveraged retailers 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 sell-offs 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, Garmin (NASDAQ:GRMN).

CAPS Rating (out of 5)


1-year performance


Recent share price


2009 EPS estimates


TTM diluted EPS


Market cap

$3.3 billion

Total cash & short-term investments

$540 million

Total debt


Fools bullish on Garmin are also bullish on:

General Electric (NYSE:GE)

Fools bearish on Garmin are also bearish on:

Citigroup (NYSE:C), Ford (NYSE:F)

Data from Motley Fool CAPS and Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's, as of Feb. 24. TTM = trailing 12 months.

The GPS manufacturer had an awful 2008 as the assimilation of competitive products such as Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone and new devices from Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) really started to take hold. Why bother with a clunky mini-monitor in your car or an additional handset on the trail when your existing cell phone provides nearly the same service for free? Destructive innovation can be a terrible, terrible thing for companies that let their guard down.

A big swoon was what this company deserved, and a big swoon was what it got. With shares down over 70% in the past year, Garmin now trades about where it did in 2003.

But was that big of a fall justified? In 2003, the company's net income was about one-fifth of what it was over the last 12 months. Consequently, some investors are starting to look at Garmin as pushed emphatically into bargain territory, especially in light of its fortress-like balance sheet. CAPS member fundamentalvalue is one of them, recently writing:

The fundamentals of the company are working in its favor. $500 million of cash on hand as of 2008 3Q. No long-term debt, and Quick Ratio (computed as (Cash Marketable Securities AR)/Current Liabilities)) is 1.75. Technology firm trading at 1.61x Book Value and .37 PEG ratio (no doubt growth will slow, but still). Also, EV/EBITDA (according to Yahoo) is 2.87, compared to industry average of 5.3, and an implied multiple of 5.94! ROE over 40% and 4.3% yield! I could go on ... Low multiples, and huge discount based on a DCF model I built. All-around great company trading at a huge discount.

If investors needed a concrete indication that some sort of a bottom has been reached in this stock, they got it earlier this week. Quarterly profits fell 44% on a 14% decline in revenue, missing analyst estimates, and yet shares actually surged. When shareholders rejoice over otherwise pathetic results, you know the bears have been thoroughly flushed out. With nearly $700 million in cash today, not a lick of debt, and trading at 7.3-times forward earnings estimates, there's a lot to love about Garmin these days.

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Fool contributor Morgan Housel doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. Garmin is a Global Gains selection. Google is a Rule Breakers pick. Apple is a Stock Advisor recommendation. The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.