Are you familiar with the dynamic duo of Fama and French? No, they didn't sing "Lazy Sunday" -- that was Parnell and Samberg. And no, they didn't star in Grumpy Old Men -- that was Lemmon and Matthau.

While the names Eugene Fama and Kenneth French may not come up in most dinner conversations, the two have done some very interesting academic research on stocks. In short, they've proposed that there's more to stock returns than volatility -- which was already the consensus of most academics. In research they conducted over various periods and across multiple geographic locations, Fama and French determined that stocks characterized as "value stocks" have consistently outperformed non-value stocks.

Today, I've rounded up five value stocks that are all trading at less than two times their book value. To focus on high-quality stocks, I've cross-referenced these against ratings in our CAPS community of more than 110,000 investors.


Book Value Multiple

52-Week Change

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Cogo Group (NASDAQ:COGO)




Silicon Motion Technology (NASDAQ:SIMO)




Hercules Offshore (NASDAQ:HERO)




Anadigics (NASDAQ:ANAD)




Ceradyne (NASDAQ:CRDN)




Data from CAPS; Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's; and Yahoo! Finance as of Aug. 1.

Five years ago, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) would have made this list with its 1.8 book value multiple. Since then, the stock has been on a huge bull run and is up more than 1,400% over that period.

While we can't expect that all of these are going to perform like Apple, the CAPS community thinks that these are some good choices when it comes to value stocks. With that I mind, I thought I'd dig in a little further on Ceradyne.

Ceradyne's not done
The decline in Ceradyne's stock is easy enough to explain. The company's primary business is making ceramic body armor -- a booming business as soldiers were being suited up to fight a war in Iraq. But now there's a lot more uncertainty as to how long the U.S. will be staying in Iraq, let alone how much more body armor will be needed.

So what does Ceradyne need to do? Survey says: Diversify revenue sources!

Ceradyne CEO Joel Moskowitz must have gotten his hands on that survey, because that's exactly what the company has been doing. One part of this diversification is making ceramic crucibles for solar cell manufacturers like Suntech Power (NYSE:STP). Now in case you just scratched your head and muttered "ceramic crucible?", I should point out that that's just a fancy way of saying "a very specialized pot for cooking polysilicon to make solar cells." This had already been a small part of Ceradyne's business, but it's growing fast, and the company announced the construction of a 330,000-square-foot facility in China to ramp up production further.

But that's not all, folks!

Ceradyne is also going after the aluminum market, hoping that smelters will see major benefits from using Ceradyne's titanium diboride conductors instead of carbon electrodes. Don't expect me to explain this one, but my fellow Fool Rich Smith talks about it a bit further in his coverage of Ceradyne's earnings call. The company also made two acquisitions in the past couple of months, one to bring in some patents for making oil drill parts and another to beef up its offerings in the semiconductor manufacturing industry.

But even with all of this, don't overlook the opportunities in the defense business. Sure, there are a lot of question marks there -- particularly with the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle they're calling BULL -- but Ceradyne is still a leader in this area, and its new ESAPI and XSAPI armor systems are both expected to start shipping in the fourth quarter of this year on five-year ID/IQ (indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity) procurement.

And what do CAPS members have to say? Over 1,200 of them think Ceradyne's ceramics will help its stock beat the S&P 500 versus just 34 who think it will lag the market. CAPS All-Star tuffsledding got specific back in November of last year when he gave the stock a thumbs-up, writing:

Ceramics are the material of the future. Body armor may be the profit driver now, but over time the company's other products will become key contributors. There are many diverse applications of ceramics in industry and medicine (orthopedics) due to their unique physical properties. This is a long term winner, take advantage of the sell-off.

So what do you think? Are these stocks values, or value traps? Log on to CAPS and let the rest of the 110,000-plus member community know what you think.

More CAPS Foolishness:

Hercules Offshore is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick. Suntech Power is a Rule Breakers recommendation. Apple is a Stock Advisor choice. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. The Fool's disclosure policy wouldn't know a value trap from a hole in the wall, but then again, the disclosure policy is just an inanimate collection of words.