"We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful." -- Warren Buffett

Out of the quadrillions of quotations quarried from that most loquacious of quotationists, this one holds a special place in the hearts of Foolish investors. Are you looking to "buy low" so as to later "sell high"? If so, your best chance of getting that initial, low entry price comes when panicked sellers are unloading their shares at whatever price is on offer.

In today's column, we search the ranks of Wall Street's motivated sellers, and note which stocks they're most frantic to unload. Therein, methinks, lie the makings of a contrarian's Christmas list (to self). But don't just take my word for it. Before you decide to go in through Wall Street's out door, check your thinking against the collective intelligence of Motley Fool CAPS investors.

Today's contenders include:

30-Day Price Decline

Currently Fetching

CAPS Rating





Medis Technologies (NASDAQ:MDTL)








Cambridge Display (NASDAQ:OLED)




Merge Technologies (NASDAQ:MRGE)




True Religion (NASDAQ:TRLG)




Consolidated Water (NASDAQ:CWCO)




Companies are selected from the "Institutional Ownership Down Last Month" list published on MSN Money on the Saturday following close of trading last week. Price decline and current pricing also provided by MSN Money on the same date. CAPS ratings from Motley Fool CAPS.

The problem with pessimism
The problem with going against the grain on Wall Street is that when professional traders get pessimistic, their grim outlook can become a self-fulfilling prophecy -- at least in the short term. The more desperate institutions become to abandon a stock, the lower the price they'll accept to get rid of it. And as their "ask" prices drop, the "bid" prices of buyers will fall in tandem, creating the very price decline that they feared in the first place.

Until the selling stops.

In through the out door
When it will stop is anybody's guess. But until it does, savvy investors have a chance to "get greedy," and snap up some bargains from these fearful sellers. Which of the above seven stocks fits the bill? In today's list, we see three instances in which Main Street agrees with Wall Street, three more where our lay analysts say Wall Street's worrying too much, and one where CAPS says the professionals are just flat-out wrong.

Here's what Fools are saying about saltwater-to-fresh water prestidigitator Consolidated Water, which enjoys the unanimous blessing of all 43 CAPS users who've rated it:

  • All-star CAPS rater volumewhiz thinks now is a great time to pour a glass of Consolidated Water, pointing out that "CWCO were slated to complete a desalination plant in Nassau that would process more water than any of their other plants, 7 million gallons of water per day. It should have just been completed."
  • Continuing the timing theme, money4eds cautions investors to "expect ups and downs," warning that "every storm warning pushes the price down."
  • HGtrader (another of our all-stars, with a rating record better than 93% of all CAPS players) closes with the poetic observation, "water, water everywhere and now you can drink it."

Hmm. I don't know about you, but when I see a stock this well-loved, but with no one citing valuation numbers to support their optimism, I begin to worry. Although I'm ordinarily loath to side with Wall Street, in this instance I think the professionals may be right. Why? Well, I'll tell you what -- as soon as I hit the "send" button on this column, I'm going to head on over to CAPS and post my own 60-second analysis on Consolidated Water. (Click here to read it.)

And you can, too. Whatever your view, bears and bulls are equally welcome on Motley Fool CAPS. Just click this link, tell us why you think the stock's a buy (or not), and post. It's as easy as that -- instant fame and, if you're right, glory.

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. You can find him on CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he's currently ranked 266 out of nearly 15,000 raters. The Fool has a disclosure policy.