Are you familiar with the dynamic duo of Fama and French? No, they didn't sing "Tommy Boy" -- that was Farley and Spade. And they didn't star in Blues Brothers -- that was Belushi and Aykroyd.

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 most academics' previous consensus. In research they conducted over various periods and across multiple 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 (you can run the same screen on the CAPS screener, which updates with the markets). To focus on high-quality stocks, I've cross-referenced these against ratings in our CAPS community, which includes more than 125,000 investors.


Book Value Multiple

1-Year Change

CAPS Rating (max 5)

Teck Cominco (NYSE:TCK)




Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI)




WellPoint (NYSE:WLP)




Total (NYSE:TOT)




Verizon (NYSE:VZ)




Data from CAPS, Capital IQ (a division of Standard & Poor's), and Yahoo! Finance as of Jan. 2.

Five years ago, Titanium Metals (NYSE:TIE) would have made this list with its 1.0 book-value multiple. Since then, the stock has caught quite a tailwind and is up more than 600%.

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

Where is the value?
Break out your Fender and prepare to rock ... or dust off your battle ax and join the struggle for Azeroth supremacy. Either way, you're likely booting up a game from Activision Blizzard -- the developer that has brought us wonderful digital distractions such as Guitar Hero, Warcraft, Call of Duty, StarCraft, and Tony Hawk.

As the decline in the company's stock price suggests, obstacles abound in the near term. The recession has been giving customers myriad reasons to wait to purchase the newest Guitar Hero or to play fewer hours of World of Warcraft. At the same time, Activision Blizzard faces fierce competition. While it's constantly trying to win gamers away from competitors like Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS) and Take-Two Interactive, of note recently is the rivalry between the genre-busting Guitar Hero series and Rock Band from Viacom's MTV Games.

Many investors, however, are viewing now as exactly the time to be tuning into the Activision story. Fellow Fool Rick Munarriz picked Activision as his favorite "fun" stock for 2009, noting that its lineup of blockbusters makes it the industry's top dog and that "the stock rocks, in every conceivable way." CAPS members have been of a similar mind, giving Activision nearly 3,100 outperform ratings versus just 79 underperforms. Macsblow was one of the recent Activision bulls, writing:

The video game industry as a whole seems weak, so this would be an ideal time for [Activision] to slip ahead. Video game giants [Electronic Arts], Atari and Midway are all struggling to keep their products while [Activision] has a whole list of titles that should be of great anticipation for most gamers in 2009.

Guitar hero's recent sales have been strong and they should continue with the upcoming release of their new title centered around Metallica. Starcraft II and Diablo III are also slated for 2009 which should help to increase sales for Blizzard.

Overall, this is a solid company with low debt, high revenue and should be a safe investment for the next few years.

So what do you think? Are the stocks in this group values, or value traps? Log onto CAPS and let the rest of the community know what you think.

More CAPS Foolishness:

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Total is a Motley Fool Income Investor selection. WellPoint is an Inside Value pick. Take-Two Interactive is a Rule Breakers recommendation. Titanium Metals, Electronic Arts, and Activision Blizzard are all Stock Advisor recommendations. 

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.