"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've got 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, measuring 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 WSJ.com:


52-Week High

Recent Price

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

Infinera (Nasdaq: INFN)




DryShips (Nasdaq: DRYS)




Boston Scientific (NYSE: BSX)




Companies are selected from the "New Highs & Lows" lists published on WSJ.com on Friday last week. 52-week high, recent price, and CAPS ratings from Motley Fool CAPS.

Bargains a-plenty
Looking for a bargain stock? Then this is your lucky week. Thanks to Friday's sell-off, the Dow's once more on the wrong side of 10,000, and dozens of stocks are retouching their 52-week lows.

Take Boston Scientific, for example. The stock has yet to find its bottom, but CAPS member fdude71 argues that this "iconic" medical company "should be able to get it's game back ... and getting in at a low entry point should make me some money." (And what's lower than a 52-week low?)

Or consider the barnacle-clad DryShips, scraping near a years-long low. CAPS-member Sanf8711 argues that: "Whether it's a material coming into the US or being exported to to foreign markets it has to get there somewhere. As imports and exports increase business in water shipping should as well. If you're going for a Water Transportation stock [DryShips] is one of the best."

Maybe. But the rest of CAPS-land seems unconvinced. According to the 165,000 lay stock analysts who comprise our CAPS community, growth prospects for both DryShips and Boston Scientific look mediocre at best, and unlikely to outperform the broader market. In contrast, Fools are exceedingly bullish about our third 52-week loser and its chances of bouncing back.

The bull case for Infinera
Never heard of Infinera? Allow CAPS member Conorlad to introduce you with a pitch penned back in 2008: "Infinera is focused on optimizing the Optical signals that are forming the core of tomorrows networks. The improvements they make in the OEO conversion components, which they are producing cheaply and well will be a necessary part of all networks."

Why is this important? Because according to Myshkin69, there's a move afoot "by carriers and telecom backbone to 40 gig capacity" from current, slower rates of data transfer. Myshkin69 tells us that Infinera's current technology is "Great technology at 10 gig per second transfer speeds," but the move to 40 gigs will "challenge INFN and its bigger rivals" such as Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO), Ciena (Nasdaq: CIEN), and Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU).

Who will prevail? Obviously, as a backer of the stock, Myshkin's vote goes to Infinera -- but for good reason: "My bullishness hedges on accurately speculating that because INFN makes a single semiconductor that can process 10 gig per second transfers, they will be able to develop the 40g per second technology more seamless than their larger competitors."

Bet on a winner?
And Wall Street seems to agree. Reviewing analyst predictions for these companies' relative growth rates, we find Infinera well in the lead with predicted long-term annual growth of 16%. I don't necessarily disagree with that number, by the way...but I do worry that it may be misleading.

Here's why: Unprofitable today, and priced at nearly 60-times next year's predicted earnings, Infinera already looks vastly overpriced on the traditional price-to-earnings metric. The more so when you consider the alternatives available to you, should you choose to look beyond today's top-rated stock.

For example, at 25-times forward earnings, Ciena sells for less than half the cost of Infinera -- yet with long-term earnings growth projected at 13% growth, you're not giving up all that much growth to snag the discount. And speaking of discounts, Cisco looks even more attractive than Ciena. At less than 13-times forward earnings, with a growth rate pegged at 12% -- well, it's not often you find an industry top-dog priced so cheaply.

Time to chime in
Listen, Fools. I'm as much a sucker for a 52-week low as the next guy. But when Mr. Market is giving you the opportunity to own a dominant company like Cisco, I'm not sure it's such a smart bet to toss aside the "safe" choice and gamble on a slightly faster grower -- but one lacking in profits and free cash flow, like Infinera. While I admit that the stock could bounce back from these lows, I would not bet on it to outperform.

That's just my opinion of course. What's yours? Tell us about it on Motley Fool CAPS.

Infinera is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick and The Fool owns shares of the company.

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of it or, indeed, of any company named above. You can find him on CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he's currently ranked No. 413 out of more than 165,000 members. The Fool has a disclosure policy.