Call it that: a market crash. It started May 6 with the Dow's two-minute, 1,000-point moment of incontinence, and never really stopped, leaving us about 10% below where major indices stood a month ago. The Dow is now on track for the worst monthly loss since February 2009, just as stocks were bottoming out. Woe is us.

You can thank Greece and its European neighbors for most of this. Europe is a disaster, and it could spew its venom onto our shores before long. Hence the worry, which I'd say is mostly justified.

But I'd also say plenty of stocks now look buyable after the crash. Some look downright cheap. Here are four:


Decline Since April 26 (previous market high)

Forward P/E Ratio

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A) (NYSE: BRK-B)




Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT)




Ford (NYSE: F)




WellPoint (NYSE: WLP)




Sources: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's, Yahoo! Finance.

A few things: That these are all large, well-known companies isn't a coincidence or the result of lazy screening. Some of the best values today are in big, established companies. And, as always, screening without any further discussion is useless, so let's talk about these companies.

Berkshire Hathaway
The most reasonable way to value Berkshire Hathaway is the price-to-book ratio. Why? Because a lot of its business model involves price appreciation of assets, rather than streams of net income.

Given Warren Buffett's track record and the quality of Berkshire's subsidiaries, shares typically demand a solid premium over book value. Going back to 1994, shares have traded at 1.87 times book value on average. Yet thanks to the recent sell-off, the current multiple is more like 1.18 times book value, which isn't too far from 2009's low of 0.98 times book value. That's all I need to hear.

Many have noticed that Microsoft now trades for under 11 times next year's earnings (and still only 13 times last year's earnings), which seems unreasonably cheap. I'd say that's spot on, but there's more to the story. Remember that Microsoft hoards a mountain of cash and short-term bonds -- nearly $40 billion, or $4.24 per share to be exact. If you take this into consideration and back out what might be seen as "excess cash," it's reasonable to interpret Microsoft as trading under 10 times earnings, which is absurd for a company that still has a total bear hug on the software market.

It's true that Microsoft is a serial cash hoarder and may never put all of this cash stash to productive use. Bill Gates once admitted that when he started the company he "soon came up with this incredibly conservative approach that I wanted to have enough money in the bank to pay a year's worth of payroll, even if we didn't get any payments coming in. I've been almost true to that the whole time." Even so, the safety this cash provides is worth paying a premium for. If Microsoft ever gets into funding problems, the world is basically over. You should be willing to pay up for that just like you're willing to pay up for bonds.

My guess is Ford still makes people anxious because of its guilt-by-association ties to GM and Chrysler. But Ford's story over the past year is truly remarkable, and the truth is, it's not only alive, it's doing great. Consensus estimates say Ford will earn $1.59 per share next year, which jibes with last quarter's $2.1 billion, $0.50-per-share profit.

Shares have been dinged lately because the company does a lot of business in Europe. But what else happened lately? A study by A.T. Kearney consultancy came out projecting that U.S. auto sales could hit 11.7 million this year, 16.8 million in 2012, 17.8 million by 2013, and 18.6 million in 2014. The last two projections are higher than the 16.9 million vehicles sold in 2005, when the American consumer was still a hungry animal. This industry isn't dead, and a stronger-than-before survivor like Ford will treat patient investors well.

(Also, for an inspiring example of the power and potential of contrarian thinking, check out this January 2009 Ford article by fellow Fool John Rosevear. He nailed it.)

WellPoint has been a value-investor favorite for most of the past year. Why? Because it's unquestionably cheap. Really -- undoubtedly, unequivocally, almost embarrassingly cheap. On a trailing-12-month basis, shares trade at under 5 times earnings, and forward-looking estimates only bring that up to about 7.6 times earnings.

Of course, the underlying fear is that health-care reform will destroy insurers' business model. This was accentuated after the White House recently jabbed specifically at WellPoint's practices. But the salient point when a stock is this cheap is that even if new regulations mean WellPoint will never grow earnings from now until the end of time, it's still probably a good buy. And on the contrary, one of WellPoint's largest rivals, UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) significantly upped its dividend program, showing confidence and strength in what's perceived as a dangerous industry.

Show me what you got
Those are four companies on my mind. Any on yours? Share 'em in the comments section below.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.