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 tell you, they generally do a pretty good job of 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 Kato Kaelin.

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
(5 max)

National City (NYSE:NCC)




Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS)




Sun Microsystems




Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE:FCX)








Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's, Yahoo! Finance, and CAPS, as Sept. 29.

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
It should be no surprise that we find National City and Morgan Stanley with lousy ratings of one and two stars, respectively. As a banking institution that's been struggling for some time now, National City probably makes most investors' short list of which bank could follow in the footsteps of Washington Mutual and Wachovia (NYSE:WB).

But is Morgan Stanley in better shape? After joining Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) in morphing into a commercial bank, Morgan will certainly have some headwinds going forward as banking regulations will limit its leverage. But really, with Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns swimming with the fishes, the name of the game is survival at this point. And while the investment from Mitsubishi UFJ should help Morgan in that regard, it didn't quite provide the same confidence boost that the Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-B) investment did for Goldman.

A five-star is born!
With the financials stealing all the headlines lately, I can't blame you if AT&T has fallen off your radar. However, the company has continued plugging forward while its stock has fallen off significantly with the rest of the market. Today it yields more than 5% and carries a four-star rating on CAPS -- just one star shy of the top and a rating that definitely makes it worth a look.

But as attractive as AT&T might be right now, CAPS members have helped anoint Freeport-McMoRan as America's Next Top Value Stock for this week. The company, which mines a variety of metals, but is a king in the copper market, has fallen sharply as commodity prices have sold off and investors get increasingly concerned that softening world economies could push metals demand down further.

Many CAPS members have held onto outperform ratings, though, and many more have taken the opportunity to give the depressed stock a thumbs-up. Tomtyo, one of the 4,000-plus Freeport bulls, summed up the picture for the company last week when he said:

[Freeport-McMoRan] is set to explode. With Grasberg getting back up to speed along with the progression of the DRC along with the ongoing output from the domestic mines this company will set new records in production and share price. It has a strong old school management team, low debt, and first class technology in the field. Look for great things and don't be left in the cold. 

Make your vote count!
Do you agree that Freeport-McMoRan 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 other stocks that you think should be in the running.

On Oct. 7, 2008, Fool Co-Founder David Gardner and his Motley Fool Pro team will invest $1 million in a portfolio designed to help you make money in any market. In the coming weeks, the team, relying heavily on proprietary CAPS "community intelligence" data, will establish long and short positions in a broad range of securities, including common stocks, publicly traded put and call options, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). To learn more about Motley Fool Pro and to receive a private invitation to join, simply enter your email address in the box below. 

Berkshire Hathaway is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Berkshire Hathaway is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. The Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. 

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, but after playing parts like "guy at mall" and "security guard No. 3," it realized how rough Hollywood can be.