Overall, the third quarter was pretty solid.

The broad market is finally up a bit on the year because of a recent rally, but stocks have been anything but steady. Because small-cap stocks are generally more volatile, they've experienced a bit of a greater drop than most. That's almost to be expected. However, what's interesting is that large-cap stocks have actually fallen a slight bit more than the broad index -- and these are the billion-dollar companies that usually hold up well in a recession or a double dip.

The good news is that now the market is ripe for cherry-picking. Hundreds of small and large successful companies have gotten hammered as of late, and that means there are some great value plays to be had.

To get you started, I've screened for stocks that have dropped significantly over the past three months and that are trading for very low price-to-earnings ratios. In addition, we've utilized our 170,000-strong Motley Fool CAPS investing community to select only the best of the best, those companies with either a four- or five-star ranking. Here are three of the top companies from the list:


13-Week Price Change

Price-to-Book Value

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Allied Irish Banks (NYSE: AIB)




GigaMedia (Nasdaq: GIGM)




Clean Energy Fuels (Nasdaq: CLNE)




Source: CAPS data as of Nov. 24.

It's no secret that Irish banks have been taking a beating after they formally announced plans to accept a bailout offer similar to the one that Greece accepted earlier this year. Moving forward, there will be austerity measures implemented and massive cutbacks in spending, thus sending the government and the economy into turmoil. The news has rippled through the EU, sending shares of National Bank of Greece (NYSE: NBG) and Banco Santander (NYSE: STD) tumbling as well. The Irish government is now supposed to take a majority stake in the Bank of Ireland (NYSE: IRE), which will inevitably dilute shareholders. Investing in any of these banks right now is obviously very high-risk, high-reward, but it's hard to ignore the possible opportunity.

GigaMedia is still reeling from a difficult earnings release in August after it surprised investors with a quarterly loss and a decline in Asian business sales. This is even more surprising when we consider that companies with a heavy presence in Asia, such as Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS), have been able to increase revenues and have seen shares rise by over 80% in the last three months. However, our CAPS investors are still pretty keen on GigaMedia's future, so this is one stock to check out, as its shed a considerable amount of its market cap so far in 2010.

Clean Energy, based out of California, provides natural gas as an alternative fuel for vehicles in North America. Although it posted a smaller loss this past quarter than analysts expected, the company is still very much in the red. And although investors are bullish on the long-term benefit of natural gas and the hopeful subsidies that should boost clean energy stocks, it could still be a while before we see that pop. Is now a good time to get in on Clean Energy, when its already down 12% on the year?

The Foolish bottom line
Don't let fear get the best of you -- a falling or stagnant market can be a great thing in the long term, if you take advantage of the opportunities in front of you. Fortunately for investors, there's no shortage of options, and both small- and large-cap stocks just happen to be some of the best around.

Don't see any stocks here that interest you? Try doubling down on these home run hopefuls.