When a stock hits a fresh low, it can either signal a dirt cheap dream stock or a dreadful stock to avoid. Separating the wheat from the chaff is difficult, but finding well-run companies at bargain-basement prices is a great way to accumulate a fortune over the long run.

With that in mind, we'll use the aggregate intelligence of the 110,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS to see what the community is saying about stocks hitting 52-week lows today. The community's approval (signified by four- and five-star ratings) could be a sign that further research is in order.

Here are three such stocks:

 

Today’s Low

Industry

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Fools Saying Outperform

VMware (NYSE:VMW)

$32.31

Computer software and services

***

1,267 of 1,402

ADC Telecommunications (NASDAQ:ADCT)

$35.05

Telecommunications

***

194 of 218

Ameren Corp (NYSE:AEE)

$39.85

Utilities

***

91 of 113

Source: Motley Fool CAPS, as of July 23, 2008.

Four- and Five-Star Computer Software and Services Companies
Oracle Corp (NASDAQ:ORCL): Up 4.8% in past year.
Smith Micro Software, Inc. (NASDAQ:SMSI): Stock price is 56.6% cheaper than last year.

Four- and Five-Star Utilities Companies
PPL Corp (NYSE:PPL): Up 3.7% in the past year.
Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK): Up 1.3% in the past year.

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Fool analyst Dan Dzombak spends his days on CAPS looking for great investments. He does not have a financial position in any of the stocks mentioned in this article. Duke Energy is a Motley Fool Income Investor pick. VMware is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy that will rock your world.