Are you familiar with the dynamic duo of Fama and French? No, they didn't perform "Who's on First" -- that was Abbott and Costello. And they didn't found one of today's major teen retailers -- that was David Abercrombie and Ezra Fitch.

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 trading at less than two times their book value. (You can run the same screen on the CAPS screener.) To focus on high-quality stocks, I've cross-referenced these against ratings in our CAPS community of more than 135,000 investors.


Book Value Multiple

1-Year Change

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

CVS Caremark (NYSE:CVS)








Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN)




Akamai Technologies (NASDAQ:AKAM)








Data from CAPS, Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's, and Yahoo! Finance as of July 10.

While these aren't formal recommendations, the CAPS community thinks that these are some good choices when it comes to value stocks. With that I mind, I thought I'd dig in a little further on EMC.

Where is the value?
Not surprisingly, a lot of EMC's value is found in its product lineup. EMC pretty much has your back in all aspects of handling data -- from storage to backup and recovery, to content management, to security. We could even say that it has a finger in virtualization since it still owns a majority stake in VMware (NYSE:VMW).

The ability to store, organize, access, and secure information has always been important, but as the corporate world continues to pile up mounds of data -- whether it's Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) tracking its operations for regulatory reasons or Hulu packing away more great entertainment -- the need for EMC's products is only growing.

Beyond the business, though, EMC shows considerable value on its balance sheet. With $3 billion in debt outshined by more than $7 billion in cash, EMC sports a rock-solid balance sheet at a time when that's become a highly valued attribute.

The balance sheet also keeps the company on its toes and ready to jump on acquisitions,  which have been a significant source of EMC's growth over the years. How much does the balance sheet help here? Well, I'm not one to encourage overpaying for acquisitions, but NetApp recently found out how tough it can be to duke it out with a better-capitalized foe.

And we can't skip over EMC's cash flow. Thanks to a number of items, including noncash amortization from its acquisitions and (alas) a very healthy amount of stock-based compensation, EMC's cash flow significantly tops its reported net income. In fact, while EMC's trailing-12-month price-to-earnings ratio is a somewhat pricey 20, its price-to-free cash flow ratio is a much more appetizing 10.

But will it beat the market?
More than 2,900 of the 3,000 CAPS members who have shared their opinions on EMC's stock have come in on the bullish side.

Why the positive vibe? Back in March, CAPS All-Star claygrant1974 chimed in with this: "One of the Internet's backbone companies. Storage is becoming more and more important, necessary, needed, and will only grow much more in near future. Still owns a lot of VMWare."

More recently, tscheiblich added: "This is a good combination of strong financials and market leadership. IT is seeing a contraction, but the infrastructural components are like other commodities - companies continue to pay for them. A P/E under 20 is a great deal for this company."

So what do you think? Are the stocks in this group values or value traps? Log onto CAPS and let the rest of the 135,000-member community know what you think.

More CAPS Foolishness:

Akamai Technologies and VMware are Motley Fool Rule Breakers picks. The Fool owns shares of Volcom, which is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems selection. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned, although he is keeping an eye on some of them through his CAPS portfolio. You can connect with Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool. 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.