Are you familiar with the dynamic duo of Fama and French? No, they didn't sing "Out of Touch" -- that was Hall and Oates. And they didn't star in The 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 geographic 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 or less than two times their book value (you can run the same screen on the Motley Fool CAPS screener). To focus on high-quality stocks, I've cross-referenced these against ratings in our CAPS community of more than 125,000 investors.


Book Value Multiple

1-Year Change

CAPS Rating (max 5)

ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP)




Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK)




Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT)




Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A)




Raytheon (NYSE:RTN)




Data from CAPS, Capital IQ (a division of Standard & Poor's), and Yahoo! Finance as of Jan. 30.

Five years ago, Flotek Industries would have made this list with its 0.8 book value multiple. Since then, the stock has excelled, gaining 450% while the S&P index lost nearly a quarter of its value.

While we can't expect that all of these are going to perform like Flotek, some in the CAPS community think that the stocks above are good choices when it comes to value stocks. With that in mind, I thought I'd dig in a little further on none other than Berkshire Hathaway.

Where is the value?
Selling Foolish readers on Berkshire Hathaway's value is like trying to convince Kiss fans of the awesomeness of Gene Simmons' tongue. From See's Candies to Coca-Cola stock, from GEICO insurance to Warren Buffett, many Fools know Berkshire well.

But for those who haven't yet signed on to the Church of Buffett, let me elaborate briefly. Decades ago, investor Warren Buffett bought too much stock in a lousy textile manufacturing company called Berkshire Hathaway. What could have been the story of an overeager investor getting plowed under by a crumbling industry became one of the greatest wealth-creation stories in U.S. history, as Buffett used the cash produced by Berkshire to invest in stocks and buy other businesses. Today, Buffett is one of the richest people in the world, and Berkshire is an insurance powerhouse with a massive equity and bond portfolio that also owns a diverse collection of businesses from home retailer R.C. Willey to private jet service NetJets.

Buffett under fire
Lately, Berkshire and Buffett have been taking it on the chin from the media, due to the hits that Berkshire's equity portfolio has taken in positions like American Express (NYSE:AXP) and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC). Some of the razzing is probably warranted; after all, if Buffett really were one of the savviest investors out there, one might have figured he'd see the problems that surfaced and lower his massive exposure to financial-services companies.

At the same time, I think a lot of the criticism misses the mark. Saying that Buffett's investment style -- to buy shares of high-quality companies and hold them for a long time -- is outdated likely will prove a bit shortsighted.

Although Berkshire's investments obviously have a huge impact on the company's overall performance, it'd be a mistake to overlook Berkshire's collection of wholly owned businesses. Sure, many of them, such as Pampered Chef and flooring specialist Shaw Industries, will suffer from the slowdown. But should we really assume that stalwart businesses such as Fruit of the Loom, See's Candies, Business Wire, and Dairy Queen won't continue to pad Berkshire's bottom line for a long time? And that's completely ignoring the company's GEICO and General Re insurance businesses.

Sure, some have made money making short-term bets against Berkshire, and maybe that trade still has some legs. When I look at Berkshire, though, I'm thinking about a long-term investment, not a short-term one.

Like I said, there doesn't seem to be much of a need to convince most Foolish readers, including some members of CAPS. Of 2,807 members who have offered their outlook on the stock, 2,735 have rated it an outperformer. Brentvoss, a CAPS All-Star who recently went bullish on Berkshire, kept his outperform pitch short and sweet: "Uh yeah. This outperform needs no explaining."

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:

Coca-Cola, Chesapeake Energy, Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), and American Express are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Berkshire Hathaway (B shares) is a Stock Advisor selection. The Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway (B shares) and American Express. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer owns shares of American Express, but does not own shares of any of the other 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.