"'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."

So runs the thesis of my recurring Fool column "Get Ready for the Bounce," in which we search among 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 bouncer?

I say nay. Sometimes, stocks fall far in far less time than a year -- and like a superball dropped from the balcony, the harder they fall, the higher they bounce. Today, we're going to look at a few equities that've suffered dramatic drops over the past week. With a little help from the 145,000 members of Motley Fool CAPS, we hope to find an opportunity or two for you:


How Far From 52-Week High?

Recent Price

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)





JA Solar Power (NASDAQ:JASO)




Evergreen Solar (NASDAQ:ESLR)




Trina Solar (NYSE:TSL)




First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR)




Companies are selected by screening on finviz.com for abrupt 10% or greater price drops over the past week. 52-week high and recent price data provided by finviz.com. CAPS ratings from Motley Fool CAPS.

Five super falls -- one superball
There's no two ways about it: If you were invested in solar stocks last week, you're significantly poorer today because of it. News that both France and Germany plan to cut their feed-in tariffs ("FIT" -- essentially a government subsidy promoting solar use) rocked the sector, sending stocks tumbling across the board.

Solar's slump was essentially out of its control, and arose from the painful fact that governments are strapped for cash and incapable of maintaining generous subsidies in the face of recession. In contrast, this week's top-ranked stock has only itself to blame for its decline -- or rather, not itself, but its CEO. Last week it was reported that ATP Oil & Gas head honcho Paul Bulmahn unloaded 12% of his stake in the company, cashing in on ATP's rise, and cashing out some $17.26 million. Scary news, to be sure. But is it scary enough to keep us away from a five-star stock?

Not everyone thinks so.

The bull case for ATP Oil & Gas
CAPS All-Star CaChinggggg calls ATP's fundamentals: "amazing. Increasing EPS with Telemark coming online, Decreasing debt ratio, Etc... I'm just trying to read the charts so I can allocate my cash in the most productive way. I constantly hold a core position of ATPG, just in case."

Fellow All-Star gordonsgold praises the firm's: "Management expertise and knowledge of the oil and gas industry." While Brent299 practically dances with glee over the firm's ability: "to double prouction in 2010! Tons of reserve upside! 2012 they have bigger field with cheviot! timebomb waiting to explode in 2010 go through 2012!"

Standing room only
And they're not the only ones. Just last month fellow Fool Toby Shute argued publicly that ATP Oil & Gas just might be the best stock for 2010.

And yes, just a few weeks before that, I examined the stock myself, and concluded that while the stock's price-to-book value was starting to look problematic, ATP sported an attractively low PEG ratio, and appeared significantly undervalued based on the value of its assets. Like fellow gas concerns Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC) and Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK), ATP's enterprise value appeared to discount the value of its oil and gas reserves by a significant margin.

Foolish takeaway
Now here's the best part: Thanks to last week's sell-off, ATP Oil & Gas shares once again trade at almost precisely the price at which I called them a bargain back in early November. And while I'm not saying nothing has changed between now and then, or discounting the worry raised by insider sales ... it's not often you get a second bite at the apple like this one.

My advice: Don't let it go to waste. Take a close look at ATP today. This just might be one you want to own.

(Seriously. Take a look. Then come over to Motley Fool CAPS and tell us what you think.)

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. 1,034 out of more than 145,000 members. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

Chesapeake Energy is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. First Solar is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. The Fool owns shares of Chesapeake Energy.