If you're aiming to "buy low and sell high," then it makes infinite sense to start your search with bargain-priced stocks. Regularly reviewing a list of stocks trading near their 52-week lows can be a great first step.

Here, I'll try to do the initial legwork for you. To prevent us from being inundated with scores of disparate companies, I'll conduct my search by industry. This will allow us to make some initial comparisons among semi-related companies.

There are 24 industry groups as defined by the Global Industry Classification Standard. Here's a list of low-rollers from the automobiles and components industry.

Company

Market Capitalization (in millions)

% Change From 52-Week Low

P/E Ratio (trailing)

Toyota Motor (NYSE: TM)

                     $113,172

                         4.4%

                         19.0

Ballard Power Systems (Nasdaq: BLDP)

                        $142

                         6.8%

NM

China XD Plastics (Nasdaq: CXDC)

                        $251

                         13.6%

NM

Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's. Data as of Oct. 18.

Toyota's stock price is still depressed from its recall problems in late 2009/early 2010. The company estimates recall-related costs of around $2 billion for the fiscal year ended March 2010. In contrast, its market cap is down more than $20 billion from its 52-week highs. Admittedly, that's a simplistic way of looking at it since we also have to factor in brand damage, any additional costs, and whether Toyota was overpriced to begin with. Its current P/E ratio doesn't scream bargain, but it's trading for under tangible book value. For those who believe in Toyota's ability to recover and dominate, this could be a good entry point into the stock. I personally was hoping for even lower prices.

Another interesting company in the table is China XD Plastics. You guessed it. It makes plastics for automobiles in China. It currently is operating at a loss, but analysts are projecting a forward P/E ratio of 6.8. But be warned. Jumping on a company with only analyst-projected earnings can be a dangerous game.  

Interested in reading more about Toyota? Click here to add it to My Watchlist, and find all of our Foolish analysis on this stock.

Anand Chokkavelu doesn't own shares of any companies mentioned. He posts his favorite articles on his Twitter feed.

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