Though value investors have been some of the most successful investors out there, finding good stocks at bargain prices is far from easy. Though markets aren't as efficient as some university professors may tell you, they generally do a pretty good job pricing stocks. So while there are good deals out there, you're going to have to break a bit of a mental sweat if you want to make sure that you're investing in the stock equivalent of Brad Pitt, not Kato Kaelin.

Fortunately for us, in the search for stock market values, we have the 135,000 members of The Motley Fool's CAPS community voting on which stocks are true stars and which are just posers. To gather some ideas I've dug up a handful of companies valued at less than twice their book value -- a measure often used by value investors. Below is a selection from the array of companies that fall into this category; you can run the same screen that I did on the CAPS screener.


Book Value Multiple

1-Year Stock Performance

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)





Hercules Offshore (NASDAQ:HERO)




Solarfun Power




Apache (NYSE:APA)




Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ:WFMI)




Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's, Yahoo! Finance, and CAPS as of June 12.

As you can see, although these stocks all carry value-like multiples, the CAPS community obviously doesn't think that all are worthy of your investment dollars.

No twinkle in these stars
Frankly, I'm a little surprised that AIG is rated as highly as it is by the CAPS community. The company has been absolutely racked by losses and, thanks to the handouts it's taken from Uncle Sam, it's practically a branch of the federal government at this point.

Of course, as a long-shot bet, the potential payoff on AIG does look attractive. But looks can be deceiving. Although AIG reported $53 billion in shareholder equity at the end of the first quarter, more than $60 billion of AIG's equity account is preferred stock that's in the hands of the government. Some quick math shows us that backing that out leaves much less than zero for common shareholders -- not quite the screaming value it appears!

Whole Foods, which carries an even lower star rating than AIG on CAPS, seems to draw double-barreled criticism from the community. Many CAPS members think highly of the company, but aren't particularly enthralled by the stock's current valuation. Others have focused on the company's pricey goods and think that sales will suffer because of current economic conditions.

Like competitors Evergreen Solar and First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR), Solarfun has found itself out of favor with CAPS members. This isn't anything particularly new. The community has been skeptical about solar from the start, and has held the best ratings for a few companies in the industry, such as Suntech Power (NYSE:STP) and MEMC Electronic Materials (NYSE:WFR).

A five-star is born!
I don't think I'd get too many arguments if I said that oil is important. If we can agree on that, we should be able to agree that the companies that provide the drilling services to get to the oil are important. Well, that's exactly what Hercules Offshore does. It provides drilling services to access oil in shallow water.

CAPS members have shown their approval of Hercules by slapping a four-star rating on it, although those four stars weren't quite enough to put Hercules over this week's top value stock: Apache.

Apache focuses on finding sources of oil and gas and developing wells. To get a better idea why CAPS members have been so positive on Apache, let's take a look at what CAPS All-Star brentvoss had to say when giving the stock a thumbs-up earlier this year:

Didn't pick the bottom. Never do. The future of oil and gas producers must be bright or the lights are going dim. We simply don't have a viable substitute of scale to replace them in the near future and global depletion rates are higher than previously thought. Much higher.

Make your vote count!
I've already given Apache an outperform rating in my CAPS portfolio, but what do you think? Do you agree that Apache could be America's next top value stock? Click over to CAPS and let the rest of the community know what you think. And while you're there, log your vote for the other stocks that you think should be in the running.

More CAPS lovin' Foolishness:

Suntech Power Holdings is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. Whole Foods Market is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool. The Fool's disclosure policy -- which does nothing but monitor disclosures -- knows that boring can be beautiful.