In my recurring Fool column, "Get Ready for the Bounce," we search for future winners in a pile of 52-week losers. But do we really need to sit around for a whole year, waiting for a fallen stock to bounce back?

Nope. Sometimes stocks fall hard, 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'll look at a few equities that've suffered dramatic drops over the past week. With a little help from the 165,000 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)

Foster Wheeler (Nasdaq: FWLT)




U.S. Steel (NYSE: X)




E*Trade Financial (Nasdaq: ETFC)




LSI Corporation (NYSE: LSI)




DryShips (Nasdaq: DRYS)




Companies are selected by screening on for abrupt 5% or greater price drops over the past week. 52-week high and recent price data provided by CAPS ratings from Motley Fool CAPS.

Good news, bad news, and no news
Sometimes, the market just makes no sense at all. All week long last week (and boy was it ever a long last week), stocks tanked. When the rebound finally did arrive on Friday, what inspired it? A few reassuring words from Helicopter Ben, coupled with an earnings warning from Intel, and confirmation from Boeing that its 787 Dreamliner will indeed miss its end-of-0-10 deadline by weeks, if not months.

Lowered guidance and broken promises? "Hurray!" shouted investors, and promptly bid up both stocks -- but not all stocks were so "fortunate" as to have bad news to report. Take U.S. Steel for example. Last week, Barron's mused that scrap steel prices might decline toward the end of this year. If true, such a development might benefit USX rival Nucor (NYSE: NUE), and be less than great news for U.S. Steel. If true. It's hardly a certainty. Likewise with LSI Corp. Intel's troubles probably contributed to more widespread weakness in chips, but that's hardly LSI's fault.

And the hits (to market cap) just kept coming. DryShips? Down for the week, despite the fact that the Baltic Dry Index that predicts its profits just finished sprinting 50% upwards over a single month's time. E*Trade Financial? Down again, for no reason I can figure.

And then there's this week's featured stock, Foster Wheeler. Like everyone else on today's list, it's been beaten up for no particular news-driven reason. Unlike the other stocks on this list, however, it enjoys CAPS's tippety-top, five-star rating. Why? That's what we're about to find out.

The bull case for Foster Wheeler
CAPS member dtkhc has been watching and rooting for Foster Wheeler since way back last summer. According to drkhc, Foster boasts: "high cash reserves, low debt. High presence in Asia. High technical expertise with advancements that keep their equipment viable for producing power even if use of coal is reduced. Beginning joint ventures in co-owning power-producing facilities and is continually looking to make acquisitions that will help increase their technical advantage. Worldwide presence in the power-producing sector."

In particular, gilboy7 predicts that the: "China infrastructure buildout will help FWLT book new orders." But even if that doesn't happen, CPACAPitalist is certain the stock's "On sale and not going away any time soon."

I agree.

Selling for less than 10 times trailing earnings, Foster Wheeler is arguably one of the cheapest engineering firms out there. Cheaper than Jacobs Engineering (NYSE: JEC) at 14 times earnings. Cheaper than Fluor (NYSE: FLR) at 18x. And like both these worthies, Foster boasts a balance sheet to be envied -- nearly $1 billion in cash, versus less than $200 million debt. Superb.

Granted, free cash flow at the company is a bit less voluminous than I'd like (about $220 million generated over the past 12 months, versus $286 million in reported net "profit.") But with an enterprise value of under $2 billion, and long-term growth predicted to approach 14% per year, even this lower level of FCF suffices to put Foster Wheeler in the wheelhouse as a growth-at-a-reasonable-price investment.

Time to chime in
Or so says me. What we'd really like to know, though, is what you think about Foster Wheeler. Is 14% long-term growth anything more than a pipedream in this troubled economy? Is the stock, already cheap, bound to get even cheaper before it bounces? Click over to Motley Fool CAPS now, tell us what you think.

Nucor is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick, but 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. 562 out of more than 165,000 members. The Fool has a disclosure policy.