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

American Oriental Bioengineering (NYSE: AOB) **** 66%
Oilsands Quest (NYSE: BQI) **** 51%
SmartHeat (Nasdaq: HEAT) **** 74%

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
Although questions have been raised over the years about various practices American Oriental Bioengineering has used, unlike many Chinese small-cap stocks that came to the public markets via reverse merger, it hasn't been accused of fraud. Chicanery and self-dealing perhaps, but even with close scrutiny no one is alleging that AOB is cooking the books.

That sets it apart from others in its field like traditional-Chinese medicine purveyor China Sky One Medical (Nasdaq: CSKI) and yogurt-culture maker China-Biotics (Nasdaq: CHBT), both of which have come under withering criticism for allegedly being frauds. Their stocks are down 78% and 56%, respectively, and their CAPS ratings are equally dismal.

In contrast, the CAPS community has stubbornly hung on to the hope that AOB will be able to rebound, with 97% of those rating the traditional-Chinese medicine seller marking it to outperform the market. Notably, three-quarters of the analysts picking the stock agree. While its latest earnings report didn't do it any favors, the growth of its prescription business offers the prospect of it finding a valuable niche to grow in.

It's understandable for investors like CAPS member GoNuke to caution against trying to be a minority shareholder in Chinese stocks, considering their sorry history, but gilboy7 says AOB has an actual functioning business that's being discounted too much:

I believe the Market is undervalueing AOB's shares at .4 book value and expect an upswing from here. AOB is one of China's top drug companies. They have a stabilizing cost of revenue down from 26% over the last few years to 6%. Management is investing more in R&D than in the past and allocatig less capital to purchasing other businesses to gow market share.

Tell us in the comments section below or on the American Oriental Bioengineering CAPS page whether its history of missing earnings will ultimately doom a turnaround.

A reserve player
This should be boom times for Oilsands Quest. The current environment should be one of growth for Canadian oil sands producers as oil trades for well over $100 a barrel. Certainly rivals Suncor Energy, Canadian Natural Resources (NYSE: CNQ), and Cenovus Energy (NYSE: CVE) have all been making new highs.

Yet Oilsands Quest is still considering strategic alternatives to increase shareholder value after its failed attempt at selling itself. In the meantime, it has arranged for at-the-market (ATM) financing to pay its bills and fund whatever program it ultimately comes up with. Unlike a regular secondary offering that sells company stock into the market all at once, ATM financing allows companies to sell shares incrementally over time.

While it has assets that could prove valuable eventually, CAPS member npsheth978 believes Oilsands Quest will never get around to selling that oil:

Looking at BQI's lands and the debt they have accumulated (I believe I have read that they have over $400 million in the development phase and even more when adding the permit costs of their three lands), if they do not get adequate financing, this stock will tank and go into bankruptcy. They have gained 1 very good land space (Saskatchewan land), but is very far from being able to produce/sell any barrels from that land. I believe that they will go into bankruptcy before they will be able to sell that oil.

Follow along on Oilsands Quest's quest to turn itself around by adding it to the Fool's free portfolio tracker.

Not on fire
Chinese plate heat exchanger manufacturer SmartHeat saw sales jump 52% in 2010 with profits up 47% as government mandates to implement energy savings and emission reduction have increased the demand for its products across all of China's industrial sectors. It's also expanding operations with the acquisition of a German heat pump manufacturer and jumping into nuclear energy products.

The discounted price and high growth potential are undoubtedly what attract CAPS All-Star BrianBristow:

This stock seems so so low, so undeservedly low. What am I missing here? They are growing slower than projections? But still, they grow, right? and selling at less than 5 times earnings? Who can explain this valuation? I thought they were cheap at $5.

You can watch whether it turns into an energy dynamo by adding SmartHeat to your watchlist.

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.