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.

In this series, I do the initial legwork for you. To prevent us from being inundated with scores of disparate companies, I conduct my search by industry. This allows us to make some initial comparisons among semi-related companies.

Today, let's look at the chemicals space. Below are the dozen stocks that are within 25% of their 52-week lows and have market caps above $200 million.


Recent Price

52-Week Low

52-Week High

P/E Ratio (trailing)

Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical (NYSE: SHI) $37.87 $32.24 $63.05 6.5
PolyOne (NYSE: POL) $11.61 $9.80 $16.61 4.4
Praxair (NYSE: PX) $105.27 $88.64 $111.74 23.4
Sigma-Aldrich (Nasdaq: SIAL) $67.78 $56.18 $76.16 18.8
Zep $16.13 $13.33 $20.95 20.7
Sherwin-Williams (NYSE: SHW) $84.24 $69.47 $87.87 18.1
Olin (NYSE: OLN) $19.60 $16.11 $27.16 7.0
Airgas $71.43 $58.00 $72.39 23.1
Minerals Technologies $56.99 $46.17 $70.68 16.4
Air Products & Chemicals $89.41 $72.26 $98.01 16.0
Calgon Carbon $16.46 $13.28 $18.20 22.2
Scotts Miracle-Gro (NYSE: SMG) $49.96 $39.99 $60.62 19.5

Source: S&P Capital IQ and Yahoo! Finance.

Over just the past 10 days, Sinopec shares have gone as low as $33.18 and as high as $43.00. It announced earnings late last week that were roughly flat with the previous year's quarter. As management explained it:

The Group proceeded actively with various tasks, leading to increases in sales volumes and unit prices of products of the Company. As a result, operating income of the Company increased. However, international crude oil prices fluctuated at high levels, resulting in an increase in operating costs; the prices of domestic refined oil products were not adjusted adequately and timely enough; and the competition was further intensified for petrochemicals.

Looking through the list, two other names pop out: PolyOne and Olin, which have P/E ratios well under 10. Note that their forward P/E ratios are also under 10, PolyOne just barely. You can check out PolyOne's latest earnings news here. And I recently took a look at Olin's initial numbers here.

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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.