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.

There are 24 industry groups as defined by the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS). Retailing is one of them.

Below are the top ten companies in this space (by market cap) that are hugging 52-week lows.

Company

Market Capitalization (in millions)

% Change From 52-Week Low

Price-to-Book Ratio

 

Target (NYSE: TGT)

 

$38,987

                         19.8%

                         14.9

Lowe's (NYSE: LOW)

 

$29,539

                         9.9%

                         16.8

Staples (Nasdaq: SPLS)

 

$15,048

                         18.1%

                         18.4

Gap (NYSE: GPS)

 

$12,260

                         19.2%

                         11.1

Urban Outfitters (Nasdaq: URBN)

 

$5,147

                         3.7%

                         20.2

GameStop (NYSE: GME)

 

$2,747

                         6.7%

                         7.7

J. Crew Group

 

$2,256

                         17.8%

                         14.2

Aaron's

 

$1,425

                         8.8%

                         13.1

Express

 

$1,323

                         15.7%

                         10.8

Blue Nile (Nasdaq: NILE)

 

$612

                         5.0%

                         49.1

Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's. Data as of Oct. 18.

First off, note that you may see some of the big names you'd expect to see here in the screen for food and staples retailing. Click here for that.

The same warning applies here as there: Be careful because some stocks trade close to their 52-week lows and their 52-week highs. For example, Target is actually closer to its high than its low.

The tastiest P/E ratio here is GameStop. It's also sporting similar sub-10 multiples on forward earnings and free cash flow. The problem? Um, they sell physical new and used video games at malls. It probably doesn't shock you that growth has slowed. And if you buy my fellow Fool and avid gamer Rick Munarriz's analysis, there's no hero riding in on a white horse.

Gap is in a similar situation. Clothes (yuppie or otherwise) aren't going away anytime soon. But Gap has struggled in recent years (a decade?). It hit peak sales in 2005.

Finally, Blue Nile's the only one sporting a huge earnings multiple, but on the other hand, at least there's an innovative concept at play -- high-end jewelry over the Internet. Sales growth has stagnated in recent years, but the market clearly is expecting a return once the economy picks up.

If you are interested in reading more about these stocks, add them to My Watchlist to find all of our Foolish analysis on them.

Anand Chokkavelu doesn't own shares of any companies mentioned. He posts his favorite articles on his Twitter feed.

Lowe's is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Blue Nile is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Staples is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Motley Fool Options has recommended writing covered calls on GameStop. The Fool owns shares of Lowe's.

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