"Don't catch a falling knife" ... The idea of buying a former superstar stock at a discount price certainly has its attractions, but you've got to make sure you catch the haft -- not the blade.

That's the thesis of my recurring Fool column "Get Ready for the Bounce," in which we search the wreckage of Mr. Market's overturned cutlery drawer, hoping to find future winners in a pile of 52-week losers. But do we really need to sit around for a whole year, waiting for a potential rebound? I think not.

Sometimes, stocks fall far in much less time than a year -- and like a superball dropped from the balcony, the harder they fall, the higher they may bounce. Today, we're going to look at a few equities that have suffered dramatic drops over the past week. With a little help from the 135,000 members of Motley Fool CAPS, we hope to find an opportunity or two for you.


Fall From 52-Week High

Recent Price

CAPS Rating (out of 5):

Yamana Gold (NYSE:AUY)




Hartford Financial (NYSE:HIG)




Rite Aid  (NYSE:RAD)




Tenet Healthcare  (NYSE:THC)




UAL Corporation  (NASDAQ:UAUA)




Companies are selected by screening on finviz.com for abrupt 10% or greater price drops over the past week. Fifty-two-week high, recent price data, and CAPS ratings from Motley Fool CAPS.

Five super falls -- one superball
On Friday, the Dow finally reached positive territory for the year. However, it was anything but a smooth trip, and the five stocks named above received especially rough treatment. Investors punished Hartford for accepting TARP funding, and walloped Rite Aid and Tenet for rolling over some of their massive debt loads.

UAL fared worst of all, as the triple whammy of rising oil prices, a credit downgrade, and worries over excess capacity in the airline industry took their toll. US Airways (NYSE:LCC) called for "consolidation" in the sector.

None of this has investors particularly excited about these stocks (and perhaps rightly so). But there's one company named above that CAPS members think will emerge from the turmoil into a bright, shiny future:

Yamana Gold

  • CAPS All-Star addedupon calls Yamana a "good gold stock," and "more undervalued than most, in a sector due for another leg up."
  • And what, pray tell, will give gold that boost? Fellow All-Star gea1968 explains: "A falling dollar means that investors all over the world will want to put their money into two places: non-US stock markets, and tangible assets such as gold." (Yamana, by the way, is a Canadian gold miner.)
  • While many Fools like gold in general, mojoblue thinks Yamana looks particularly attractive: "Steadily declining production costs combined with accelerating yield make this stock a longterm winner. Not only are Yamana's existing mines doing well, but the new shafts they'll bring into full operation later this year project to be major winners."

That last comment sounds familiar. Just last week, fellow Fool Christopher Barker praised Yamana's decision to unload three of its smaller mines on fellow Canuck miner Aura Minerals for a total price of $240 million. Chris further noted that despite the small size and relatively low yield of the mines, Yamana managed to extract a higher price per ounce of reserves from Aura than either Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX) or Kinross Gold paid for their recent mining acquisitions.

From a very broad-brush perspective, Yamana was claiming proven and probable reserves of 19.4 million troy ounces of gold just prior to the announced deal. That figure seems to imply that the company is being valued at about $359 per ounce of the yellow stuff under its control, not including the other metals the company mines. Once it's unearthed, gold sells for about $930 an ounce. Based on this cursory glance, the stock looks like a real bargain.

Time to chime in
Mind you, I won't be buying it. I'm an old-school Fool who still worries about things like P/E ratios and growth rates, and Yamana's just plain don't appeal to me. But this column isn't about my opinions of Yamana Gold -- or even what other CAPS players are saying. We really want to hear your thoughts. Click on over to Motley Fool CAPS and tell us what you think.

Motley Fool CAPS : It's fun, it's free, and it just might make you famous.

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. You can find him on CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he's currently ranked No. 964 out of more than 135,000 members. The Fool has a disclosure policy.