3 Top Stocks at Half Price

Some investors still think highly of these companies, despite their fire-sale prices.

Rich Duprey
Rich Duprey
Nov 22, 2010 at 12:00AM

You love buying your shirts when they go on sale. And who can resist a buy-one, get-one-free offer? So when our stocks go on sale, why do we bemoan their low prices?

Smart investors like Warren Buffett or Marty Whitman love it when their stocks are suddenly selling at bargain-basement prices. For them, these companies become no-brainer buys.

The investors in the Motley Fool CAPS community also like a bargain, apparently. Below, you'll find three companies whose shares are selling at least 50% below their 52-week highs, but which still earn high honors from our investor-intelligence database. Consider it a BOGO sale on stocks.


CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

% Off 12-Month High

Duoyuan Global Water (NYSE: DGW) **** 71%
Hercules Offshore (Nasdaq: HERO) **** 54%
Skechers (NYSE: SKX) **** 52%

Naturally, we want you to look a bit closer at these stocks before buying. You can get low-priced appliances in the dent-and-ding section of your home-remodeling superstore, but their quality might not be so good. Same thing here: Make sure there's nothing seriously wrong with the company before you plug it into your portfolio.

Take two; they're small
With China's growing middle class, expansion of its cities, and the growth in rural areas, clean water is and ought to be a priority. Both Duoyuan Global Water and RINO International should be at the forefront of wastewater treatment, and for a while it seemed they were. Both are now mired in controversy, but despite the caution about Chinese small-cap stocks, Duoyuan looks like it should recover quickly.

While RINO International might have lied about its customer lists (an auditor says investors can't rely on its financial statements going back two years), Duoyuan Global Water appears to have been tarred with guilt by association. One of its affiliates is facing some turbulence, so investors are right to be careful. Maybe smaller Tri-Tech Holding (Nasdaq: TRIT) is the safer bet here.

CAPS member WPThatcher acknowledges the risk associated with Duoyuan Global Water, but says its work will help it overcome the scandal.

There's no debt and it fulfills a pressing need. Now, to be perfectly honest, there is a class action lawsuit against the company that basically says management is corrupt and lied to shareholders. This might be true. If it is, then management gets ousted and a new set is chosen. In the meantime, the company is still doing business in a large and growing Chinese water treatment market.

Add the company to your watchlist and let us know what you think on the Duoyuan Global Water CAPS page.

A reserve player
President Obama's "permitorium" in the Gulf of Mexico continues to have rippling effects on the industry:  ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) just announced the sale of nine oil fields there for $1 billion to Energy XXI (Nasdaq: EXXI). The deal would make the driller the third-largest oil producer on the shelf, with Chairman and CEO John Schiller saying, "We're very comfortable staying in the Gulf of Mexico and taking advantage of the fact that others want to leave."

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Unfortunately, not everyone can benefit like that. Hercules Offshore says that despite it being a shallow-water driller, government foot-dragging has led to a 12% decrease in its average revenue per rig day as well as a drop in operating days. Hercules' rigs are finishing up contracts in the Gulf, and unless drilling is allowed soon, they will end up being idled.

CAPS member carbonguardian is hoping the recent elections lead to a better result in the Gulf: "Oversold. Offshore drilling environment will improve under new Congress."

Put Hercules Offshore in Fool.com's free portfolio tracker and have all the news and analysts gathered for you in one place.

Getting left back
(Nasdaq: CROX) investors don't like to be reminded of it, but their company's history is instructional for what is going on at sneaker maker Skechers. The huge buildup in inventory of its revolutionary, but ultimately faddish, toning shoe is a sign of what's to come, just as inventory issues served as a warning for Crocs years ago.

Crocs turned itself around with an overhaul, but many CAPS investors don't think it's that critical yet for Skechers, and like All-Star 4Foolz, believe the toning shoe has staying power.

Super cheap stock. This is a value play. Assumption is that new 'shape-up' shoes aren't a fad. Great manager under helm. 44% inside ownership.

Let us know what you think about the company on the Skechers CAPS page.

Have half a mind
Sign up today for the completely free CAPS service and tell us whether these stocks are twice as good at half the price.