"'Don't catch a falling knife' ... 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."

So runs the thesis of my recurring Fool column "Get Ready for the Bounce," in which we search among the wreckage of Mr. Market's overturned cutlery drawer, hoping to find future winners in a pile of 52-week losers. But do we really need to sit around for a whole year, waiting for a potential bouncer?

I say nay. Sometimes, stocks fall far in far less time than a year -- and like a superball dropped from the balcony, the harder they fall, the higher they bounce. Today, we're going to look at a few equities that've suffered dramatic drops over the past week. With a little help from the 135,000 members of Motley Fool CAPS, we hope to find an opportunity or two for you:


How Far From
52-Week High?

Recent Price

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

Omnicare  (NYSE:OCR)




Yingli Green Energy  (NYSE:YGE)












Las Vegas Sands  (NYSE:LVS)




Companies are selected by screening on finviz.com for abrupt 10% or greater price drops over the past week. 52-week high and recent price data provided by finviz.com. CAPS ratings from Motley Fool CAPS.

Five super falls -- one superball
Last week was a tough one for these five firms. Starting at the bottom, Las Vegas Sands cratered after reporting yet another loss Thursday (at the same time as rival Wynn (NASDAQ:WYNN) was reporting a surprise profit). Symantec took a tumble despite earning a profit (perhaps because it was less than half what it earned last year). And Yahoo! ... oh, you already know what happened to Yahoo! It sold the crown jewels to Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) for a song and a promise, putting investors' Microhoo dreams to bed once and for all.

All that's understandable. But the one I just can't figure out is Omnicare. This Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation warned Thursday that earnings could fall toward the low end of guidance this year, and suffered a tremendous drop in share price in consequence. Yet as far as actual results go, it grew its profits 36% in the second quarter, and nearly doubled its free cash flow. No wonder Fools are viewing last week's sell-off as a buying opportunity.

Let's learn more about it as we dig into ...

The bull case for Omnicare
As far back as September 2007, chitownjester had Omnicare pegged to outperform the market (and so far, it has done just that). How did chitownjester pick this winner? This CAPS investor explains: "capitalizing on long-term irreversible trend called 'getting older.' Americans don't want to take care of their own aging family members, so they will end up in assisted living with companies like OCR making a nice profit for related services."

CAPS All-Star BSHumphreyII agrees, adding that "Omnicare has a good balance sheet, is priced under book value, and is in a solid industry with inelastic markets. Add to that the potential for a takeover by Walgreen (NYSE:WAG), and this one looks good.

Last but not least, fellow All-Star 00100 likes Omnicare's "Good cash flow. Low payout ratio. Good growth rate (11%); nominal to low debt ratio. Good margins. Good management," and agrees that it's a likely: "Takeover play."

I agree. Fact is, if I had $5 billion lying around, I'd be happy to buy out Omnicare myself. You see, while this company looks a little expensive based on oversimplified metrics like its P/E ratio (a 17 P/E and a 13% projected growth rate ordinarily indicate an overvalued stock), the truth is that Omnicare's a whole lot cheaper than it looks.

GAAP accounting only permitted this company to report $156.7 million in net income over the last 12 months. But in fact, Omnicare generated free cash flow in excess of $424.1 million -- nearly three times its reported profits! Viewed from the perspective of its free cash flow, therefore, Omnicare is selling not for a 17-times multiple, but for less than 7 times free cash flow. In other words, cheap.

Time to chime in
Of course, that's just my opinion (and the opinion of the team at Motley Fool Inside Value, which has also recommended the stock). Omnicare detractors would counter that with more than $2 billion in net debt, Omnicare isn't quite the steal-of-a-deal that it appears. (And bears would counter-counter that at a price-to-book value of just 0.72, yes, it is cheap.)

Can you help us break this impasse? Click on over to Motley Fool CAPS now, and tell us whether you think Omnicare will bounce back.

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. 841 out of more than 135,000 members. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

Microsoft and Omnicare are Motley Fool Inside Value selections.