Though value investors have been some of the most successful investors out there, finding good stocks at bargain prices is far from easy. Though markets aren't as efficient as some university professors may want to tell you, they generally do a pretty good job pricing stocks. So while there are good deals out there, you're going to have to break a bit of a mental sweat if you want to make sure that you're investing in the stock equivalent of Johnny Depp, not David Hasselhoff.

Fortunately for us, in the search for stock market values, we have the 115,000-plus members of The Motley Fool's CAPS community voting on which stocks are true stars and which are just posers. To gather some ideas, I've dug up a handful of companies valued at less than twice their book value -- a measure often used by value investors.


Book Value Multiple

1-Year Stock Performance

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Fannie Mae (NYSE:FNM)












Corning (NYSE:GLW)




China Direct (NASDAQ:CDS)




Sources: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's; Yahoo! Finance; and CAPS as of Sept. 5.

As you can see, though these stocks all carry value-like multiples, the CAPS community obviously doesn't think that all are worthy of your investment dollars.

No twinkle in these stars
As we have seen today, just because a company has a low P/B doesn't make it a certain value. Witness Fannie Mae. Along with its cousin Freddie Mac (NYSE:FRE), Fannie was taken under the wing of the U.S. Treasury due to concern over the ongoing viability of the two mortgage giants. Of course, the extreme outcome for Fannie was no big surprise to CAPS members -- they've had this stock stuck at one-star status for a long time. CAPS All-Star geekdiver has been bearish on Fannie since back in October of last year, when he said: "[Fannie], and Freddie, are potential nuclear explosions with Freddie being only in SLIGHTLY better shape." Bombs away!

Though the current situation for Emcore may not be quite as dire as Fannie's, CAPS members are nowhere near optimistic about this solar player, and it carries a similarly dour one-star rating. And as for Ciena, the three-star rating that this stock sports isn't the flashing red light that a one-star rating is, but it's a clear indicator that CAPS members are iffy on the telecom market right now and think there are better opportunities out there.

A five-star on the way?
China Direct. As soon as you hear the name, you know you're onto something exciting. This investment and advisory specialist is taking advantage of the great growth that China has been experiencing by investing in and providing consulting services to China-based businesses with revenue of less than $100 million. The stock's four-star rating on CAPS certainly makes it worth a hard look, but it's not quite good enough to put it in the top spot for this week.

So who's got all the right moves this week? Well, it seems that Corning does. To start off September, the stock got creamed as the company cut its outlook because of a glut of LCD panels floating around out there. Why is this such a big deal for Corning? Because the company makes the glass for these panels, and as long as there's too many already on the market, demand from panel makers like AU Optronics (NYSE:AUO) will be soft.

But rather than fretting about the situation, CAPS members -- who were already big fans of the stock -- continued giving it enthusiastic thumbs-ups. Cfassett was one of the recent Corning bulls; he commented that the "recent downward price spike is overblown given the solid earnings and growth stream. It is a classic case of the market overselling on quarterly news despite the solidity of the underlying business." In other words: You're now getting a great business at a bargain price.

Make your vote count!
Do you agree that Corning could be America's next top value stock? Click over to CAPS and let the rest of the community know what you think. And while you're there, you can log your vote for the other stocks that you think should be in the running.

More CAPS-lovin' Foolishness:

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. The Fool's disclosure policy wanted to be a movie star for a while, but after playing parts like "guy at mall" and "security guard No. 3," it realized how rough Hollywood can be.