Are you familiar with the dynamic duo of Fama and French? No, they didn't eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil; that was Adam and Eve. And they didn't defeat Mr. Freeze; that was Batman and Robin.

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 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 Price Change

CAPS Rating (Out of 5)

L-1 Identity Solutions (NYSE:ID)




National Oilwell Varco (NYSE:NOV)




Ingersoll-Rand (NYSE:IR)








Toronto-Dominion Bank (NYSE:TD)




Data from CAPS and Yahoo! Finance.

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 Ingersoll-Rand.

Where is the value?
The answer is simple: market leadership. Ingersoll-Rand dominates many of the markets that it plays in, and even if it's tough sledding right now in some of those markets, they're areas unlikely to stay depressed over the longer term.

In its climate control segment, it's the No. 1 worldwide provider in refrigeration for transportation and number one in North America for refrigerated display cases. It's also No. 1 in North America in air compressors and commercial locks and doors. And with the 2008 acquisition of Trane, the company's largest segment -- air conditioning -- is No. 1 in the U.S. and No. 2 worldwide in commercial HVAC equipment.

The important thing to know about the areas in which Ingersoll has these leadership positions is that they're not primarily driven by new sales. Only about 30% of Ingersoll's sales come from "new-new" equipment, while 45% comes from selling replacement equipment. When it comes to picking up replacement orders, being the local -- or better yet worldwide -- leader is a great help.

The remaining 25% of Ingersoll's sales is even better, though -- that's all recurring revenue that the company picks up through its service segment.

But will it beat the market?
Over the past year, Ingersoll's stock fell harder than other industrial companies like Illinois Tool Works (NYSE:ITW) and Eaton (NYSE:ETN), but it has also roared back faster. So at this point Ingersoll's stock is only slightly underperforming the other two and carries a lower valuation based on forward price-to-earnings ratios.

The CAPS community seems to think that Ingersoll's stock has even more gains ahead. More than 1,100 CAPS members (including yours truly) have rated the stock an outperformer, versus just 32 that think it will lag behind the S&P 500 index.

CAPS member jonkhr joined the bullish chorus on Ingersoll in late June and cited savvy management moves at the company:

The company is positioning itself for a rebound by aquiring Trane which is a very solid company and disposing of Bobcat and combining the Trane 401K program with the [Ingersoll] 401K program to cut costs. All moves are signaling cost cutting measures on all fronts to become lean and mean. This will benefit all its share holders nicely!

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-plus member community know what you think.

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