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?

Recent Price

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

MannKind (Nasdaq: MNKD) (48%) $5.76 **
Cree (Nasdaq: CREE) (38%) $51.26 ***
Level 3 Communications (Nasdaq: LVLT) (36%) $1.13 ***
Hecla Mining (NYSE: HL) (25%) $8.64 ***
VimpelCom (NYSE: VIP) (27%) $13.76 *****

Companies are selected by screening on for abrupt 10% or greater price drops over the past week. 52-week high and recent price data provided by CAPS ratings from Motley Fool CAPS.

Five super falls -- one superball
There's no two ways about it. If you owned any of the five stocks named above last week, you're significantly poorer for it today. So what went wrong?

Probably the highest-profile implosion of the week happened at MannKind, where the FDA dealt a major, perhaps 18-month setback to investors' dreams of bringing inhaled insulin to market -- and devastated the shares, which dropped 40% on the week. Less scary -- but still very -- was the devastation that followed Cree's Q2 earnings report Tuesday: 29% revenue growth and a 47% spike in earnings weren't enough to light a fire under the stock, as Cree had overpromised on the earnings front, and its failure to deliver earned a paddling from Mr. Market.

In contrast, it appears very little was going on at Level 3 or Hecla last week. No major news announcements, at least, just a report that Level 3 is buying back some debt. But that didn't prevent either stock from shedding roughly 10%.

And in contrast to the contrast, we come now to the top-rated stock of the week (according to CAPS). That would be Russian cell phone kingpin VimpelCom. This is its story:

The bull case for Vimpel-Communications
VimpelCom is currently in a hurly-burly fight to expand its cell phone empire internationally -- but not everyone's happy about that. The company hopes a deal to expand into Italy and Egypt by way of a $6.5 billion acquisition of Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris' telecom empire is "not far off." But major shareholder Telenor ASA opposes the expansion, and negative publicity concerning the dispute has investors running scared.

"Some" investors, I should say. Because while many investors may fear the changes under way at VimpelCom, it seems the vast majority of investors rating this stock on CAPS are still wildly enthusiastic about the company's prospects. CAPS member hh2198, for example, sees "Huge potential" at VimpelCom and argues the stock is "undepriced for the value." All-Star investor MichaelHamilton agrees the stock looks "cheap and good growth prospects."

Expanding on those prospects, Ineedmoney101 extols "the significance, maybe downright reliance on cell phones these days ... once the high tech gets to other countries as much as it is here, where my life can be run by the iphone for the most part.... this will be a high rising stock, very profitable."

Bigger is better ...
And that, in a nutshell, is why I personally applaud the expansion of VimpelCom's uber-successful business model into the Arab world's biggest country. According to Bloomberg, the transaction VimpelCom is proposing would transform this erstwhile regional giant into a global powerhouse. Revenues would more than double to $21.3 billion. That's a far cry from the $100 billion-plus revenues that AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) pull down, granted. But VimpelCom would still become the sixth-biggest telecom company in the world. That alone seems reason to be optimistic, but what happens if the deal doesn't go through? What if Telenor manages to veto it?

 ... but smaller is fine, too
Actually, that might be even better. Should VimpelCom be stymied on the expansion front, and remain in its current state, the company's 11-times P/E ratio and 6.6x free cash flow price tag still look awfully cheap in light of consensus estimates for 33% long-term profits growth. Toss in a generous 3.3% dividend yield, and I dare say the stock looks too cheap to resist.

But that's what I think. You're more than welcome to disagree. If you have a theory why VimpelCom might not be as attractive as it looks, we've got a place to state your case: Motley Fool CAPS.

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's currently ranked No. 627 out of more than 170,000 members. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

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