"Don't catch a falling knife," as the old saw commands. (Pardon my mixing a cutlery metaphor.) The idea of buying a former superstar stock at a discount price certainly has its attractions, but you have to make sure you catch the haft -- not the blade. That's where Motley Fool CAPS comes in.

Today, we once again stand beneath Mr. Market's silverware drawer to measure which knives have fallen the farthest. Then we'll call on CAPS to ask which of these stocks -- if any -- Foolish investors believe are ready for a rebound. Let's meet today's list of contenders, drawn from the latest "52-Week Lows" list at Nasdaq.com:


52-Week High

Recent Price

CAPS Rating

(5 Max):





Mitcham Industries  (NASDAQ:MIND)




Allegheny Technologies  (NYSE:ATI)




Citrix Systems (NASDAQ:CTXS)




Varian Semiconductor  (NASDAQ:VSEA)




Companies are selected from the "NASDAQ 52-Week Low" list published on Nasdaq.com on the Saturday following close of trading last week. Recent price and 52-week high from Yahoo! Finance. CAPS ratings from Motley Fool CAPS.

Knives and knaves
If there's one good thing about a broad-based market sell-off, it's that you find a lot of terrific companies getting the ol' baby-and-bathwater treatment -- tossed out on their rosy little bums as if they were bums of another sort. You know -- just know -- that some of these babies are gonna bounce right back once the suds subside.

According to CAPS members, we've found not one, not two, but five such candidates this week. That's right, folks. Every single one of the stocks making the list this week enjoys an above-average four- or five-star rating.

Of the two maxing out our ratings, investors give a slight edge to Mitcham Industries -- and with its ties to the booming energy sector, I really can't blame them. Still, I'm picking Chinese employment specialist 51job to focus on this week -- and not necessarily because I'm convinced that it will become the Chinese equivalent of Monster Worldwide (NASDAQ:MNST) or Kelly Services (NASDAQ:KELYA) -- although it may. I just think it has the better valuation of the two five-stars.

But more on that in a moment. First, let's see what investors are saying about the company.

The bull case for 51job
Let's begin with an introduction to the company, which the Fool's own TMFHoosier8 provided last year:

51Job provides an HR recruiting service in an ever expanding China. They profit from partnerships with leading companies and do so on a large scale. The company claims to be the leading recruiting company in China as observed by its large database and the high volume of page views. Either way they have a lot of potential in a growing Chinese market. As an added bonus, CEO Rick Yan owns 57% of shares outstanding, often a good sign.

Posting earlier this year, CAPS All-Star JUMPKIS had a similar take:

[T]he vast majority of Chinese do not have access to the internet. JOBS does print job adverts, especially in growing rural areas. Focus is on converting the paper customers to more lucrative online forms, which should boost profitability in the future.

Fellow All-Star ErnestBludger predicted in November:

[S]olid margins ... should improve as more business is done online and as their business model is established and rolled out in other cities. Plus -- it's China and they lead this very hot segment. The P/E is far less than Monster's and I think the growth prospects are at least as good, if not better.

Half of that is still true today. Although 51job now has a much higher price-to-earnings ratio than does Monster, analysts agree that the Chinese recruiter's growth prospects are also better. On average, Wall Street expects to see 51job post 26% annual profits growth over the next five years, versus Monster's predicted 20%. Sounds like a lot, sure, but from what I've read, China is in little danger of reaching full employment anytime soon -- so there should be plenty of room for growth to help it along over the years ahead.

Last year, 51job generated $22 million in free cash flow, for a price-to-free cash flow ratio of just 20. Although 51job's 30 P/E does look a little rich next to the growth estimates, the company's cash profitability suggests that this stock could, in fact, be a bargain.

Time to chime in
Of course, the aim of this column isn't just to tell you what I think about 51job -- or even what other CAPS members are saying. We want to hear your thoughts. So head on over to Motley Fool CAPS, and tell us what you think.

Motley Fool CAPS : It's fun, it's free, and it just might make you famous.

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. You can find him on CAPS, pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he's ranked No. 667 out of more than 110,000 players. The Fool has a disclosure policy.