"Don't catch a falling knife," as the old saw commands. (Pardon my mixing a cutlery metaphor.) The idea of buying a former superstar stock at a discount price certainly has its attractions, but you've got to make sure you catch the haft -- not the blade. That's where Motley Fool CAPS comes in.

Today, we once again stand beneath Mr. Market's silverware drawer, measuring which knives have fallen the farthest. Then we'll call on CAPS to ask which of these stocks -- if any -- Foolish investors believe are ready for a rebound. Let's meet today's list of contenders, drawn from the latest "New 52-Week Lows" list on WSJ.com:


52-Week High

Recent Price

CAPS Rating (5 max):

Johnson Controls  (NYSE:JCI)








Hecla Mining (NYSE:HL)




Newmont Mining  (NYSE:NEM)




Goldcorp  (NYSE:GG)




Companies are selected from the "New 52-Week Lows" list published on WSJ.com on the Saturday following close of trading last week. 52-week high and recent price provided by Yahoo! Finance. CAPS ratings from Motley Fool CAPS.

By close of trading Friday, dozens of stocks on both the Nasdaq and NYSE ended the day at 52-week lows. Meanwhile, according to WSJ.com, more than a hundred of each exchange's finest firms touched such lows at some point during the day, before pulling out of their dive at the last instant. So while last week wasn't as bad as the week before, it seems clear we're not out of this mess just yet.


Yes, hurray. Because the longer this sell-off hangs around, the more time we have to get while the getting's good -- or rather, to buy while the buying's cheap. And if you've any doubt about just how cheap stocks are right now, take a gander at the five stocks listed above.

Companies that mine gold -- Gold! The recession-proof metal of choice! -- are getting crushed. Insurers -- the guys who are in the business of making money from catastrophe -- are suffering one of their own. And one of the world's best industrialists is selling for a pittance. Join with me now as we delve into...

The bull case for Johnson Controls
EnergyCzar79 introduces the company to us as:

the 'go to' company in the upcoming transition to alternative forms of energy. Batteries are at the heart of current forms of alternative energy and [Johnson Controls] is a leader in battery manufacturing. They also provide commercial grade building control systems. Cutting energy usage is the first step in swithching to alternatives. [Johnson Controls] also has an inside track when it comes to meeting the needs of the transitioning American automobile manufactures. Overall they are going to be at the core of the American energy solution.

Indeed, as other CAPS members confide, you can find the company's batteries everywhere from the auto-parts aisle at Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) to the innards of General Motors' (NYSE:GM) new Saturn Vue Green Line.

mvinson120 agrees that: "power solutions will be huge (environmental concerns) and building efficiency will become more important as global warming concerns grow and energy costs rise."

Last but not least, subharam does us the twin service of "pitching" Johnson and expanding our (or at least my) vocabulary, arguing that Johnson: "Will be one of the few auto sectors names left standing. Perspicuous acquisition of battery biz will pay dividends with move away from fossils."

According to my dictionary: "perspicuous [fr. L. perspicere, to see through] /pur SPI kyu wus/ simple and elegant as well as clear."

Way to educate a Fool, subharam! But fortunately, you don't have to be a genius to recognize that Johnson Controls is cheap. The buy thesis on this one is, er, "perspicuous." Not only does the stock carry a sub-8 P/E, but thanks to prodigious cash generation that nearly equals net income under GAAP, Johnson also sells for a price-to-free cash flow ratio of less than 9 -- a real bargain, if the company can achieve analysts' projected 13% long-term profits growth.

Fools, that's even better than Warren Buffett's elusive "Great company selling for a good price." Johnson Controls is an honest-to-goodness great company selling for dirt cheap.

Time to chime in
Of course, the aim of this column isn't just to tell you what I think about Johnson Controls -- or even what other CAPS players are saying. We really want to hear your thoughts. Love it or hate it, click on over to Motley Fool CAPS and tell us why.

Motley Fool CAPS: It's fun, it's free, and it just might make you famous.

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 No. 526 out of more than 120,000 members. Wal-Mart Stores is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. The Fool has a disclosure policy.