If you're aiming to "buy low and sell high," then it makes infinite sense to start your search with bargain-priced stocks. Regularly reviewing a list of stocks trading near their 52-week lows can be a great first step.

Here, I'll try to do the initial legwork for you. To prevent us from being inundated with scores of disparate companies, I'll conduct my search by industry. This will allow us to make some initial comparisons among semi-related companies.

Today, let's look at airline stocks. Below are the nine companies in this space that are within 20% of their 52-week lows and have market caps above $200 million.


Recent Price

52-Week Low

52-Week High

P/E Ratio (Trailing)

SkyWest (Nasdaq: SKYW)





US Airways Group (NYSE: LCC)





Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV)





JetBlue (Nasdaq: JBLU)





AMR Corporation (NYSE: AMR)





Ryanair Holdings (Nasdaq: RYAAY)





Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL)





United Continental Holdings (NYSE: UAL)





Spirit Airlines (Nasdaq: SAVE)





Sources: Capital IQ (a division of Standard & Poor's) and Yahoo! Finance. NM = not meaningful.

Don't let some of these currently attractive P/E ratios fool you. The airline industry is tough. It's a capital-intensive business that can swing wildly with the economy and fuel prices.

As an example, US Airways sports a tiny 3.7 P/E ratio off a profit of $244 million. Sounds nice. But in 2008, it posted a loss of $2.2 billion! Spirit Airlines holds the other 3.7 P/E ratio. However, its recent free cash flows aren't quite as robust.

In a historically treacherous industry like airlines, tread carefully. But if you are interested in continuing your research on a stock mentioned here, add it to My Watchlist to stay abreast of all of our Foolish analysis.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.