Now's the time to let Santa Claus know you've been a good little investor and start making up your holiday wish list.

When even stocks like Citigroup (NYSE:C) trade for less than $5 a share, you know there are extreme bargains in the market. That doesn't mean the market might not trade lower -- things can always get worse -- but being ready to pounce when opportunities present themselves has always been a shrewd investing strategy.

Make a list!
Crafting a wish list of stocks you've always wanted to own but found too expensive to buy is a way to focus your thinking. I've found it helpful because when I see the Dow tumbling to ever lower levels, I begin to get excited at all of the stocks that start looking very cheap.

What was it Warren Buffett said back when the markets collapsed in the early 1970s? He felt "like an oversexed guy in a whorehouse. Now is the time to invest and get rich." Maybe the Oracle of Omaha wouldn't put it quite so descriptively these days, but even the octogenarian must be feeling the urge again since the last time he swarmed in with his billions.

Who's naughty or nice?
It's not necessary to look amongst the small-cap, micro cap, or penny stocks for cheap stocks. Here are some of the top names in the Dow Jones Industrial Average that are selling at huge discounts to where they were just a year ago:


Recent Stock Price

% Price Change, YTD

LT Growth Est.





General Electric (NYSE:GE)




Boeing (NYSE:BA)








Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)




JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM)








Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ)








Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Without my wish list, my head would be spinning from sensory overload. When everything looks good, you can suffer from paralysis of action. So compose your list of stocks that you've always thought would look attractive hanging from your investment tree, and dig in to find the ones that shine the brightest.

A gift-wrapped opportunity
Have you always wanted to own Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE:BRK-B), but the Class A shares trading in the six-digit range put you off? Well they're back from the stratosphere, and before last week's recovery had traded below $75,000 a stub. It's been five years since they were available at such a bargain-basement price.

If that's still too rich for you, you always have the Class B shares, which traded below $2,500 for a time last week. That's a 50% discount to what they were trading for last year. Think of it as a BOGO sale on Berkshire -- you're getting one share free for each one you buy!

It's not enough to recognize that this is a buying opportunity in the market, though. You need to focus your energies to find the best buys out there, and be opportunistically selective. Keep in mind, your stocks may fall further still. Some think Buffett may have moved too early when he purchased GE and Citigroup at what looks like steep premiums. Yet, when you have a long-term outlook as Buffett does, the results of the past three months don't matter so much.

Check it twice
With wish list in hand, though, buying beaten-down blue chips can prove what a wonderful time it is to be a value investor.

If you're looking for additional superior stock ideas to add to your wish list today, you can see what members of Motley Fool Inside Value have found in their stockings free for 30 days. Click here for more information.

Microsoft, Intel, and Berkshire Hathaway are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. Berkshire Hathaway is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. JPMorgan Chase is a Motley Fool Income Investor pick. The Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, and Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey owns shares of and call options on Intel but does not have a financial position in any of the other stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings here. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.