"'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 150,000 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)

Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM)








NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG)




Cameco Corp (NYSE: CCJ)




Fluor (NYSE: FLR)




Companies are selected by screening on finviz.com for abrupt 5% 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
Is nuclear power the answer to America's energy needs? A lot of Fools think so, and President Obama certainly likes the idea, declaring his support for building two new atomic units in Georgia late last month. But that was last month.

This month, we find nuclear power plays melting down on news that Vermont's Senate voted 26-4 to yank Vermont Yankee's nuke license when it expires in March 2012. Among other things, fears of a nuclear backlash have the tickers at uranium miner Cameco, fuel supplier USEC, plant-builder Fluor, and plant operator NRG all glowing red.

Judging from their star ratings, it seems many CAPS members see this as an opportunity to invest in the industry while panic reigns. (And if you agree with them, take a look at the shares of Shaw Group (NYSE: SHAW) and General Electric (NYSE: GE) as well. Both look intriguing.) As for myself, I'm going to wait for the radioactivity levels here to drop off a bit. To my mind, the best chance for a bounce on today's list comes from none of our five-star-rated stocks, but from the modestly less bullish, four-star-rated Qualcomm -- and plenty of Fools agree.

The bull case for Qualcomm
CAPS member pmtwelve praises Qualcomm as: "A company that is successful on so many metrics-collects license fees (similar to toll revenue) for critical commincations technology, assets almost 4x liabilities, decent and growing dividend, generous cash flow as well."

All-Star msftgev believes Qualcomm will become: "a strong,multiyear growth story, with a dominant position in the wireless industry. They basically have three significant areas of growth, and that should lead to greater than 30% earnings growth for the next couple of years, which is faster than what the market is looking for."

And whiteboard sees even more potential, arguing that: "QCOM will rule the next few years" through a combination of: "CDMA licensing fees ... 3G / WCDMA licensing fees ... Snapdragon chipset ... Mirasol display ... MedialFLO mobile TV."

So ... having a dominant position in its market, strong growth prospects, and plenty of new revenue streams on the horizon … this is sounding pretty good, don't you think? But in fact, it gets even better.

In fact, on top of all the above, Qualcomm is cheap as all-get-out.

Buy the numbers
Oh, I know Qualcomm looks expensive on the surface -- 29 P/E, 18% projected growth, and all that. But if you dig a little deeper into this one, I think you'll like what you find.

You see, behind the GAAP numbers, Qualcomm is actually generating free cash flow at a rate more than twice as high as its reported income lets on. Over the last 12 months, Qualcomm generated $4.3 billion in free cash flow. Divide that into the firm's $49.7 billion enterprise value, and the company's actually being priced at just over an 11.5 multiple to the amount of cash it can generate in a year. Relative to the growth rate, that seems a very attractive price -- and when you top it out with a 1.9% dividend, the buy-thesis here just gets that much more interesting.

Time to chime in
Of course, that's just my opinion. I've been wrong before and I'll be wrong again. If you believe there's something more to the Qualcomm story -- something I'm missing -- then here's your chance to set me straight.

Click over to Motley Fool CAPS now and sound off.

The Fool owns shares of and has written covered calls on Cameco, but Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. You can find Rich on CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he's currently ranked No. 621 out of more than 150,000 members. The Fool has a disclosure policy.