Individual stocks can surge 10%, 25%, or even higher in a short period of time. And they can fall just as far, just as quickly. For example, investors pummeled shares of Raser Technologies (NYSE:RZ) to the tune of 27% on Tuesday after it announced a common stock and warrant offering worth $25.5 million.

Big drops in share price can sometimes signal material defects or new risks. But at other times, they're simply pullbacks along with the larger pessimism facing the market today. Fortunately, we have Motley Fool CAPS, a great resource to help us understand the larger picture behind big price drops.

Is the sky falling?
CAPS contains more than just the crowd's opinions. Its best-performing members' votes count more in shaping each company's rating than do the picks of their poorer-performing peers. That way, investors can intelligently use the collective wisdom of more than 135,000 CAPS members to make better decisions.

We'll use CAPS' handy stock screening tool to quickly zero in on companies that have been slashed by at least 20% in the last four weeks, and which have a market cap greater than $100 million and a beta of less than 3. If you want to run this screen for yourself, please do -- just keep in mind that the results will update with the market.

Company

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

4-Week
Price Change

Interoil (NYSE:IOC)

*

(20.4%)

CBS (NYSE:CBS)

***

(21.2%)

Manitowoc (NYSE:MTW)

*****

(23.4%)

Source: Motley Fool CAPS. Price return June 5 through June 30.

Interoil
Stock in Australian oil and gas company Interoil has pulled back from a big run since the start of the year. And just as other energy deals are beginning to flow, investors got a little excited about a report that CNOOC and PetroChina (NYSE:PTR) might bid for a stake in Interoil’s natural gas project in Papua New Guinea. But Interoil hasn’t budged from its one-star status in CAPS and many members remain bearish on the company’s prospects as it’s increased its share count over recent years and continues to burn through cash. Early last month, it sold more than 2 million shares of common stock, and just over 44% of the 435 CAPS members rating Interoil expect it to beat the market.

CBS
CBS didn't have much good news to report with its recent quarterly loss that included revenue coming in short of expectations. Weak advertising sales have led the company to conserve cash and reduce its dividend, but Standard & Poor’s doesn't think that's enough -- the rating firm still expects a difficult recovery in TV and radio advertising and moved to cut CBS’ corporate credit rating. TNS Media Intelligence recently reported that U.S. ad spending on media such as TV, print, and online fell 14% in the first quarter, with the Internet being the only medium to see growth.

Broadcasters like CBS and General Electric’s NBC have been scrambling to put content online to try to capture ad revenue, while other media companies like Comcast and Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) hope the “TV Everywhere” movement will keep cable subscribers close. With all the competition for eyeballs, many investors are hedging on CBS, with only 80% of the 329 CAPS members rating the company believing it will outperform the S&P going forward.

Manitowoc
Like heavy-equipment peer Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT), Manitowoc has been struggling with lower sales volumes and reduced profitability, as construction firms have cut back on capital spending amid tight credit conditions. It's not a complete disaster, as Manitowoc beat expectations by $0.05 a share, bringing in earnings of $0.18 a share, despite some writedowns in its most recent quarter. But the company will rely heavily on the world economy to improve results, since more than half of sales come from abroad. Still, many CAPS members remain bullish on the company, as it has so far weathered the storm and managed its operations well, including negotiating debt covenant revisions. At this point, more than 97% of the 1,789 CAPS members rating Manitowoc expect it to outperform the broader market.

Ultimately, whether or not you believe a fall in any stock is warranted, your own research is more important than collective opinions. CAPS can help you quickly focus your due diligence, and even point out potential pitfalls you may not have seen.

Add your take on these or any of the 5,300 stocks that 135,000-plus members have covered in Motley Fool CAPS. It's totally free to be a part of the community, and the payback is more than worth it.

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Fool contributor Dave Mock habitually looks for silver linings in even the darkest of clouds. He owns no shares of companies mentioned here. CNOOC is a Global Gains recommendation. The Fool's disclosure policy is made of sugar and spice and everything nice.