"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 furthest. 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:

Company

 

52-Week High

Recent Price

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA)

$18.96

$9.19

*****

MEMC Electronic (NYSE: WFR)

$19.31

$9.56

****

Brocade Communications (Nasdaq: BRCD)

$9.84

$4.95

****

Western Digital (NYSE: WDC)

$47.44

$26.39

***

Symantec Corp.

$19.16

$12.97

**

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

Tech took a tumble last week, as company after company disappointed investors on earnings or outlook … or both … or neither.

Beginning at the bottom of our chart, Symantec met investor expectations for earnings on Thursday, but the Internet security star disappointed on its guidance for its fiscal second quarter, warning of "continued cautiousness among IT buyers." It was similar with MEMC. The company missed on sales and earnings in its Friday report, and added insufficient optimism to injury, lowering its profit outlook for the rest of the year.

Moving on to the "what the heck happened?" companies, Western Digital, while reporting no bad news last week, continued to suffer a hangover from the previous week's disappointment. It was likewise for Brocade, which last week saw its former CEO sentenced to a stiff jail term in punishment for his role in the Great Options Backdating Scandal of '06.

But it was NVIDIA that suffered arguably the highest-profile hit last week. Higher costs and lower average selling prices (ASPs) forced the chip giant to knock 16% off the low end of its revenue forecast for the current quarter, and sparked a 10% sell-off. With the stock now knocking along its lowest point in a year -- but rated highest on this week's list -- Fools are once again wondering: Is it time to buy NVIDIA?

The bull case for NVIDIA
Arguments for the "pro" side abound. CAPS member HDTVBG notes that one big reason for the sell-off is that NVIDIA's chips will not be incorporated into "Apple's newest iMac and Mac Pro." But with Apple still stuck at single-digit market share in personal computers, it's important to remember that NVIDIA's success depends more on the success of Dell and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ), than on any decisions Apple may make.

I'm not the only one thinking that, either. CAPS All-Star asuram54 argues that although NVIDIA "may have stiff competition from AMD in the graphics processor area ... NVDA's consumer electronics unit will see plenty of growth as tablets, smartbooks, and smartphones evolve and become more abundant over the next 10-20 years."

In short, this is a long-haul story. CAPS member arrowboy argues that: "This is the right time in this cyclical industry to jump on this bandwagon. Buy when others are running away."

NVIDIA: Buy the numbers?
I'm inclined to agree, but what do the numbers say? At 19 times trailing earnings, NVIDIA shares look pricey relative to rivals like AMD (NYSE: AMD) at a 4.3 P/E and Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) at 12.3. And with earnings reported under GAAP almost precisely tracking the company's generation of free cash flow, there's good reason to argue that NVIDIA's sell-off is justified.

After all, analysts in general don't believe the company is going to grow much faster than 13% per year over the next five years. With the PEG ratio and the price-to-free cash flow-to-growth (P/FCF/G) ratio both hovering around 1.5, NVIDIA shares still don't look particularly attractive to me today.

Time to chime in
But they're getting there. Remember that it wasn't all that long ago we were criticizing NVIDIA for burning cash, rather than quibbling over whether the amount of cash it was generating was sufficient. The mere fact that the company's now got its cash flow statement in the green again gives reason for hope. So while I'll be cheering from the sidelines for now, and waiting for the day when free cash flow rises high enough to buy ... at least I'll be cheering, for a change.

Will you? Tell us why, or why not, on Motley Fool CAPS.

NVIDIA is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Intel is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick and The Fool owns shares of and has written puts on Intel. 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. 507 out of more than 165,000 members. The Fool has a disclosure policy.