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 170,000 members of Motley Fool CAPS, we hope to find an opportunity or two for you:
How Far From 52-Week High?
CAPS Rating (out of 5)
China Security & Surveillance
Companies are selected by screening on finviz.com for abrupt 10% or greater price drops over the past week. 52-week high and recent price data provided by finviz.com. CAPS ratings from Motley Fool CAPS.
Five super falls -- one superball
There's no two ways about it: If you were invested in any of these stocks last week, you're significantly poorer today because of it. And as you can probably guess (this being earnings season), earnings "misses" explained much of the pain. Beginning at the bottom, at Unisys server sales fell and its profit was chopped in half, in Q3. Genworth's profits dropped by three-quarters, and PMI Group -- unprofitable for quite some time -- reported a wider loss than last year.
At Finisar, it was bad news from peer optical networking company Oclaro that sparked a sympathetic sell-off. (It's comforting to know Finisar didn't do anything wrong in its own right, but that won't make your portfolio any fatter.)
Last but not least, China Security & Surveillance. The tiny company with the intimidating name managed to grow its revenues last quarter, but not as fast as analysts were expecting. Worse, China Security left investors feeling distinctly uneasy about the pace of growth over the next several quarters, walking back expectations for the rest of 2010, and for 2011 as well.
And yet, it remains investors' favorite stock out of the five named above. Why?
The bull case for China Security & Surveillance
China? Security? Surveillance? Sounds like a match made in heaven, and it's got CAPS member DudeManBroChief exclaiming: "Oh, China... how irresistible you are."
For comparison, General Electric
Time to chime in
Now naturally, prices this cheap don't come without risk. At China Security, the key risk seems to be "quality of earnings" -- or rather, the lack thereof. You see, while China Security claims it earned upwards of $74 million over the last 12 months, in fact its free cash flow for the same period was negative $42 million.
Now, maybe this was a fluke. Maybe time will prove that China Security really is as good a deal as it seems. Me, I'm sufficiently worried by the lack of free cash flow that I am staying away from the stock. But perhaps you're a braver Fool than I?
If you think China Security and Surveillance is worth the risk, here's your chance to tell us why -- on Motley Fool CAPS.
Maybe China Security & Surveillance isn't as good a deal as it appears, but are there better bargains available in China? You bet there are: Click. Read. Learn.
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 was recently ranked No. 583 out of more than 170,000 members. The Fool has a disclosure policy.
True to its name, The Motley Fool is made up of a motley assortment of writers and analysts, each with a unique perspective; sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but we all believe in the power of learning from each other through our Foolish community.