"Don't catch a falling knife," as the old saw commands. (Pardon my mixing a cutlery metaphor.) 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. That's where Motley Fool CAPS comes in.

Today, we once again stand beneath Mr. Market's silverware drawer, measuring which knives have fallen the farthest. Then we'll call on CAPS to ask which of these stocks -- if any -- Foolish investors believe are ready for a rebound. Let's meet today's list of contenders, drawn from the latest "52-Week Lows" list at WSJ.com:


52-Week High

Recent Price

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

The9 Limited (Nasdaq: NCTY)




Corinthian Colleges (Nasdaq: COCO)




Medivation (Nasdaq: MDVN)




Companies are selected from the "New Highs & Lows" lists published on WSJ.com on Thursday and Friday last week. 52-week high, recent price, and CAPS ratings from Motley Fool CAPS.

What goes down ...
Fears of a government crackdown on tuition costs at for-profit colleges have put shares of Corinthian College in detention, but CAPS member shassenflu thinks the company deserves extra credit for having a: "Low P/E versus competitors." And there may be something to that. Apollo Group (Nasdaq: APOL), DeVry, Career Education -- everywhere you look in this industry, P/Es sit in the teens and 20s. Corinthian, however, sports a P/E of less than eight -- and strong growth prospects.

Sound like a bargain to you? Then you'll love All-Star investor zzlangerhans's idea: While conceding "a substantial likelihood that Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) will terminate the partnership on Dimebon and send the share price on another leg downward," zz argues that the company's enormous cash hoard -- which now stands at $255 million on a $345 million market cap-stock -- makes the stock a value, even as its "testosterone-blocking prostate cancer therapy MDV3100" provides the potential for growth.

Not all Fools agree, however. In fact, neither Corinthian nor Medivation has been able to break out of sub-par two-star status just yet. In contrast, Fools seem much more optimistic about the prospects for this week's top bounce-candidate:

The bull case for The9 Limited
CAPS All-Star JakilaTheHun calls The9 both a "speculative pick and a value pick." Like Medivation, The9 boasts an enormous cash stash undergirding its stock price -- in fact, the company has twice as much cash as its price per share. Sure: "The9 has been losing money quickly ever since losing the rights to host WoW in China." But "The9 and [Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS)] seem to have a good partnership going and that could help produce more revenues down the line. The9 has also made some investments in order to develop new online games in China."

Among other things, pikokiwijr notes that EA's "Fifa09 is the best sports game ever created.... guess who won the contract for China?.......... NCTY!" (Note: They're also doing the latest version, "FIFA Online 2: 2010."

And that's not all. As another of our All-Star investors -- iChris this time -- points out: "They lost their contract with [Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq: ATVI)] so they decide to enter the MMORPG market with a WOW knockoff to compete against them instead. The9 recently invested in U.S. game developer Red 5 Studios (former Blizzard employees) and Hangzhou-based Fire Rain. This company is definitely not going down without a fight."

Critical hit
How big a blow was the loss of WoW to The9? Pretty darn big. In 2008, the WoW concession helped The9 report $14 million in profits and generate more than $87 million in free cash flow. One year later, post-WoW, the company lost $59 and burned more than $18 million.

Now, The9 basically has to restart from Square One, amass some experience points, and "level up" on its own. That said, if you've got to start over and reinvent yourself, it's a heckuvalot easier to do that with $245 million in the bank than without. With enough cash on hand to fund more than a decade of trying, I'm thinking the company will get its act together long before it runs out of cash.

But hey -- feel free to disagree. If you think owning The9 Limited is just a good way to get "pwned," click over to Motley Fool CAPS now, and tell us why.

Fool contributor Rich Smith owns shares of Activision Blizzard. You can find him on CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he's currently ranked No. 431 out of more than 165,000 members. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

Apollo Group and Pfizer are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Motley Fool Options has recommended a synthetic long position on Activision Blizzard. The Fool owns shares of Activision Blizzard.