"I will tell you how to become rich. Close the doors. Be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful."
-- Warren Buffett

Can't argue with that, can you? Despite the recent rally, fear still permeates the economy. It's time for a real gut check, but the fear is also creating opportunities for investors patient and diligent enough to search for the babies thrown out with the bathwater -- an invariable product of crashing markets.

Using our Motley Fool CAPS ranking system's screening tool, I scanned for bargain companies with the following characteristics:

  • Five-star ratings -- the highest our CAPS community offers.
  • Estimates of profitability in the year ahead.
  • Terrible performance over the past 52 weeks. Yes, almost every stock meets this condition, but I'm looking for the bargain opportunities. Not stocks that have simply fallen in price, but stocks that are cheap.

Have a look:

Company

52-Week 
Price Change

Recent Price

Forward P/E Ratio

ChesapeakeEnergy (NYSE:CHK)

(48%)

$24.40

10.54

ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP)

(44%)

$44.21

7.54

NYSE Euronext (NYSE:NYX)

(31%)

$29.12

12.77

Foster Wheeler (NASDAQ:FWLT)

(35%)

$30.38

12.02

Suncor Energy (NYSE:SU)

(35%)

$33.51

14.82

Data from Motley Fool CAPS and Yahoo! Finance, as of Aug. 13, 2009.

None of these is necessarily a recommendation. They're just good starting points for you to dig a little deeper. You can run an update of this screen, if you like.

A closer look at NYSE Euronext
There have always been several reasons to like NYSE Euronext. It's in an industry with nearly impenetrable barriers to entry. It's the biggest player in the field. It profits when markets go nuts and trading volume explodes. "Whatever [the] market does -- [it's] in a [position] to reap rewards," writes CAPS member lovebugs1893. It's a unique and very lucrative organization.

But one other, less obvious reason stands to put some wind behind this company's back.

Several weeks ago, the world fumed when it learned -- or suddenly came to terms with -- the fact that large market players like Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) could gain a leg up in the market with something called a "flash order." Fundamentally, a flash order is as close to legalized insider trading as it gets: Big investors get trading information before little investors do.

Public outrage over flash orders got the Securities and Exchange Commission riled up enough to consider banning them altogether.

Soon afterward, exchanges that had offered flash orders, including Nasdaq OMX and BATS Exchange, announced that they would voluntarily cease the practice. "We respectfully call on other markets offering similar functionality to make the same decision," says Nasdaq's press release.

Why is this good news for NYSE Euronext? Because the elimination of flash orders stings its competitors, but not NYSE Euronext, which has always abhorred the practice. In essence, the end of flash orders takes an industry that already had few competitors and makes it even less competitive. As smaller players lose what edge they had, dominant exchanges like NYSE Euronext could regain market share lost to those that offered traders a little something extra. "The big existing exchanges are going to be benefiting because the pendulum is swinging back in that direction in the area of transparency," said Thomas Caldwell of Caldwell Financial, according to Bloomberg.

Fairness, in other words, will prevail. That's great news for investors. And it's great news for NYSE Euronext.

Your turn to chime in
Have your own take on NYSE Euronext? More than 135,000 investors use CAPS to share ideas and swap opinions. Check it out and speak your mind. It's 100% free to participate.

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Fool contributor Morgan Housel doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. NYSE Euronext is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. Chesapeake Energy and Nasdaq OMX are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. The Fool owns shares of Chesapeake Energy and Nasdaq OMX Group, and has a disclosure policy.