Everyone loves a great comeback story. In the stock market, few things are more enjoyable than owning a stock on the cusp of its own massive turnaround. After all, many fortunes are made by investors who buy great businesses:

1. During times of maximum pessimism,

2. While they're being ignored and forgotten, or

3. When they're being beat down to bargain-basement levels.

Meet the turnaround tycoons
Those investors see what others don't. More importantly, they're willing to bet big on the stocks they believe will enjoy a reversal of fortune. Notable investors who've followed this strategy include Warren Buffett, John Templeton, Seth Klarman, and many more.

We probably can't help you with your contrarian spirit, but we can offer you five possible turnaround ideas from our Motley Fool CAPS community. Despite being down 15% or more over the past year, these stocks have received a four- or five-star rating (out of five) from our pool of individual and professional investors. Our candidates today:


One-Year Return


Current CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

Dawson Geophysical


Oil and gas equipment and services


National Bank of Greece (NYSE: NBG)


Diversified banks


A-Power Energy Generation (Nasdaq: APWR)


Heavy electrical equipment


E*TRADE Financial (Nasdaq: ETFCD)


Investment brokerage


Gilead Sciences




These stocks have been slammed for very specific reasons, so don't view them as formal picks. They're simply suggestions you might want to investigate further. You always need to do due diligence -- especially when you're playing with tricky turnarounds.

Greece fire
Though shares of National Bank of Greece (NBG) experienced a little relief over the last week, a possible default by Greece continues to weigh heavily on the stock. Because of heavy exposure to Greek government debt, NBG's market cap has been cut by half over the past six months alone. But with about half of NBG's before-tax profit coming from southeastern Europe (excluding Greece) and Turkey, our community thinks Mr. Market's punishment might be way overdone.

Two weeks ago, CAPS member AaronRogers likened NBG to recent big-bank bailouts:

This bank is not going out of business. Most importantly because Greece was the first country to be addressed in the E.U. it will reap the biggest rewards from this E.U. disaster. Greece will be fine. Just like [Citigroup], AIG, [Bank of America] ... and the rest they all bounced huge once the back stop too big too fail happened. Greece will do the same. Playbook is written.

Grade-A power play
Since closing a private placement for $83 million in cash earlier this year, shares of Chinese wind turbine maker A-Power have also been beaten down around 50%. Of course, when your competitors include the likes of General Electric (NYSE: GE), investors already have more than enough reasons to worry. A-Power did raise its full-year revenue and profit forecast just last week, however, so it might be time for the stock to start turning.

Last month, CAPS member tytymhorau touched on the winds working in A-Power's favor:

A micro-cap providing power generation/distribution in China, also an alternative energy play (wind and solar). Wind turbine production expanding to the U.S. Currently grossly oversold, market miffed over share dilution from a private placement at 14.37 in January. Is using capital raised to fund expansions that should prove extremely profitable a little further down the road.

Splitting headache
Reverse splits are generally a sign that a company is in a whole heap of trouble, but it's exactly those worries that make E*TRADE enticing. As the embattled electronic broker slowly works through toxic loans from the subprime debacle, a 1-for-10 reverse split was completed recently to also draw attention to the beaten-down shares. With larger rivals TD AMERITRADE (Nasdaq: AMTD) and Charles Schwab (NYSE: SCHW) continuing to be widely speculated suitors for E*TRADE, the stock seems to have a few positive catalysts working for it.

Last month, CAPS All-Star mrindependent highlighted the progress E*TRADE looks to be making:

The good news is that the company's losses have moderated in recent quarters. Analysts predict a loss of just 2 cents for 2010 while expecting a profit of 8 cents for 2011. It is hard to tell whether historical earnings were driven by brokerage operations or mortgages. Regardless, if the company turns a profit anytime soon, its price will soar. Even if the company never turns a profit, it is an attractive buyout candidate. For this company, survival equals success.

Now, it's your turn(around)
Turnarounds offer an exceptional way to wallop the market's overall returns. The catch, of course, is that you'll need more time and effort to figure them out.

However, the more than 165,000 fellow Fools in our community can help you get a head start on spotting some of the more probable plays. Click here to get started, absolutely free. More tasty, terrific, and (we hope) triumphant turnaround treats await.

Fool contributor Brian Pacampara doesn't own a position in any of the companies mentioned. Charles Schwab is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. The Fool's disclosure policy is always headed in the right direction.