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. So that we're not 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 (GICS). Commercial and professional services is one of them. In other words, business-to-business players. Here are the largest ones by market cap.


Market Capitalization (in millions)

% Change From 52-Week Low

P/E Ratio (trailing)

Verisk (Nasdaq: VRSK) $5,285                          11%                          36.1
Pitney Bowes (NYSE: PBI) $4,456                          13.1%                          12.5
Iron Mountain (NYSE: IRM) $4,415                          9.9%                          25.7
Equifax (NYSE: EFX) $4,048                          19%                          17.2
Cintas (Nasdaq: CTAS) $3,986                          18.7%                          18.7
Dun & Bradstreet (NYSE: DNB) $3,797                          16.1%                          16.3
Copart (Nasdaq: CPRT) $2,879                          9.1%                          19.2

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

None of the trailing earnings multiples pops out as ridiculously cheap. Looking further at cash flow multiples and forward earnings multiples, Pitney Bowes stands out. Its forward P/E drops to just below 10 and its price-to-trailing-free-cash-flow ratio is at 7.

The rub is that it provides mail services, clearly not a growth industry with the continuing use of emails, instant messages, Web conferencing, etc. What gives me hope besides the low multiples is that the company has been recording less capital spending than its depreciation and amortization. It has made large acquisitions in the past, though, which doesn't show up in free cash flow.

If Pitney Bowes is wisely milking its cash cow, that's likely good news for investors. If it throws money around trying to regain its lost sales growth, that could spell trouble.

Interested in reading more about these stocks? Add them to My Watchlist, and My Watchlist will find all of our Foolish analysis on this stock.

Anand Chokkavelu doesn't own shares of any companies mentioned. Cintas is a Motley Fool Inside Value choice. Copart is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. Copart and Cintas are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Anand posts his favorite articles on his Twitter feed.

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