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 biotech stocks. Below are the largest seven companies in this space (by market cap) that are within 20% of their 52-week lows.

Company

Recent Price

52-Week Low

52-Week High

P/E Ratio (Trailing)

Amgen (Nasdaq: AMGN)

$54.66

 $50.26

$61.53

11.4

Human Genome Sciences (Nasdaq: HGSI)

$23.08

 $22.30

$30.48

NM

Isis Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ISIS)

$8.76

 $7.59

$10.63

NM

Protalix BioTherapeutics (AMEX: PLX)

$6.36

 $5.74

$10.60

NM

Enzon Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ENZN)

$10.15

 $9.93

$12.71

NM

Savient Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: SVNT)

$7.60

 $6.56

$23.46

NM

Geron (Nasdaq: GERN)

$3.89

 $3.85

 $6.40

NM

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

The first thing you should notice is that one of these stocks is not like the others. Amgen is a huge, well-established $50 billion company with the group's only meaningful P/E ratio. Smaller biotechs are much more reliant on one or two potential blockbusters and can swing wildly based on news. You can see this in the 52-week range of Savient, which has fallen on hard times as its gout treatment Krystexxa hasn't had a Harry Potter-like opening.

High volatility can be your friend if you've done your analysis and have the emotional fortitude to make your buy moves when others are fleeing. But beware, the market can be pessimistic for good reason.

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Anand Chokkavelu doesn't own shares of any company mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.