I am always looking for a good deal, whether that means buying an extra box of Golden Grahams when they're on sale or pouncing on undervalued stocks. The idea that anybody would sell a stock for less than its worth may seem silly, but legendary value investor Ben Graham (no relation to the cereal) tells us, by way of allegory, how we can look out for these situations.

In The Intelligent Investor, Graham introduces readers to a wacky chap named Mr. Market. Mr. Market's game is to pay you house calls on a daily basis to offer to sell you interests in businesses he owns or to buy interests in businesses you own. Sometimes Mr. Market will show up at your door very excited and offer you premium prices for your holdings, while at other times he'll be inconsolably depressed about the future and will offer to sell you what he has for as low as pennies on the dollar.

So to find some of the stocks that Mr. Market is depressed about, I've turned once again to The Motley Fool's CAPS investor community. Each of the companies below had been given a five-star rating (the highest) by our community of investors just 30 days ago:


30-day return

One-year return

Current CAPS rating (out of 5)

Vaalco Energy (NYSE:EGY)




Allied Irish Banks (NYSE:AIB)




Montpelier Re (NYSE:MRH)




Otter Tail (NASDAQ:OTTR)












Boardwalk Pipeline Partners




Data from Motley Fool CAPS as of May 5.

As the table shows, these stocks are all still very well regarded by the CAPS community despite their underperformance over the past month. While these are not formal recommendations, they could be a great place to kick off some further research. I'll even get you started with some thoughts on Allied Irish Banks.

Why so blue?
As the U.S. market awaits the official release later this week of stress test results for financial institutions such as Citigroup (NYSE:C) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Ireland's banks are busy dealing with the results of their own stress tests.

Late last month, Allied Irish Banks announced that, after running the numbers with Ireland's finance minister, it would need to raise 5 billion euros this year. Of that number, 3.5 billion is already close at hand, from the government through a pledge made in February. The additional 1.5 billion, though, will have to come from a capital raise or the sale of some assets.

It wasn't the capital raise in particular that bummed out investors -- shares have risen substantially since the news -- but more likely continued concerns over what has led to it, namely, the faltering Irish banking system. The Irish government is doing all that it can to shore up the financial system, and has already nationalized one major bank. But with a severely slumping economy and mounting real estate losses, it's no wonder that many investors are wary about Allied Irish.

What the bulls say
Though many investors may be skittish about Allied Irish, most of the members of the CAPS community who have given an opinion on the stock are not: 97% of the 2,260 CAPS members -- including more than 800 CAPS All-Stars – who have weighed in give it a thumbs-up. Why? Many seem to think that the upside if Allied Irish doesn't get nationalized is too huge to pass up.

Last month, CAPS All-Star mode7 flipped a thumb up and said:

More diversified than [Bank of Ireland], they aren't quite as susceptible to the subprime crisis it seems (only when compared to some of the other Irish banks). Seems like a risky stock, but the potential payoff could make it worth it.

The same day TimothyVR also logged an outperform on the stock and pitched:

My rationale is that the Irish economic boom of the last twenty years has transformed Ireland after literally centuries of being an economic backwater. The nationalization of [Allied Irish] and the Bank of Ireland would be a severe blow to national pride, although it will be a very difficult fight. The Irish have plenty of resilience and patience and I am hoping this will see them through. After dropping more than 90% it seems that the upside will be impressive even if the dividend isn't reinstated.

While I certainly do see the massive potential gain that these CAPS members are referring to, I tend to subscribe to Warren Buffett's theory that there are no called strikes in investing, and so I'll let this one sail right by me. 

If you've got a hankering for banks and, like me, don't have the stomach for a gamble, US Bancorp (NYSE:USB) or Royal Bank of Canada might be worth a look. I've rated them both outperformers in my CAPS portfolio as they seem to be on much sounder footing than many of their competitors around the world.

So, do you think the recent drop has created a good buying opportunity? Or will Allied Irish get shellacked by the troubled Irish economy? Let the community know what you think -- head over to CAPS and share your thoughts with the other 130,000 members. Even if you'd prefer to pass on Allied Irish, you can check out a couple of the other stocks listed above or any of the 5,300 stocks that are rated on CAPS.

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