Are you familiar with the dynamic duo of Fama and French? No, they didn't star in Baby Mama -- that was Fey and Poehler. And they didn't perform "Who's on First?" -- that was Abbott and Costello.

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 145,000 investors.


Book Value Multiple

1-Year Change

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE:BRK-B)




Suntech Power (NYSE:STP)




Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS)




Corning (NYSE:GLW)




Cemex (NYSE:CX)




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

While these aren't formal recommendations, the CAPS community thinks that these are good choices when it comes to value stocks. With that I mind, I thought I'd dig in a little further on Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick Berkshire Hathaway.

Where is the value?
When it comes to Berkshire Hathaway, I'd almost have to ask "Where isn't the value?"

Berkshire Hathaway is first and foremost an insurance company, and its subsidiaries include GEICO, General Re, and National Indemnity. But the company owns a warehouse worth of other high-quality operating companies ranging from Business Wire, to Benjamin Moore, to Dairy Queen. In the most recent quarter, Berkshire reaped more than $16 billion in revenue from companies outside of the insurance and utilities sectors.

And we can now add to that list national rail operator Burlington Northern Santa Fe. Berkshire finally found a use for its massive stockpile of cash, and while I'm not the only one wondering about the healthy price paid for the acquisition, it certainly seems like a better place for the money than whatever low-yielding instrument Berkshire was parking its cash in before.

But of course Berkshire also commands the services of its Chairman and CEO, Warren Buffett. Flashy and on the tip of the newest trend Buffett is not, but the man has shown his prowess in slow-and-steady investing over a number of very successful  decades.

During the depths of the financial crisis Buffett once again showed his mettle by sinking huge amounts of money into Goldman Sachs and GE (NYSE:GE). The 10% yields that he scored on these preferred securities are darn attractive alone, but he's also already sitting on a big score from the warrants that he got along with the Goldman investment.

But will it beat the market?
You might notice something interesting about the chart above. Not only is Berkshire Hathaway the cheapest stock in the group, but it's also the only one that has fallen over the past 12 months. We could argue that the stock didn't fall nearly as far as some of the others, but the 50% haircut between late 2008 and the depths of the downturn is nothing to thumb your nose at.

Furthermore, that book value multiple of 1.3 is the lowest level that the stock has been at in well over a decade (if you exclude earlier this year).

So, then, will it beat the market? CAPS community members certainly seem to think so. Weighing in on Berkshire's "A" shares, more than 3,000 CAPS members believe the stock will outperform the rest of the market. CAPS member stefaith joined the bullish chorus back in October, saying:

The market seems to have forgotten everything about Berkshire that is important. Buffets bet on GS has already earned billions. GE is not in the money yet, but the point to remember is that Berkshire is still getting a hefty 10% on its loan, no losses here. Finally the insurance coverage on the ovarall market will almost certainly prove very profitable. The only weakness is in Berkshires's investment in building related businesses, and this represents only a small percentage of the company's portfolio

So what do you think? Are the stocks in this group values, or value traps? Log onto CAPS and let the 145,000-member community know what you think.

If "cheap" is the name of your game, then Tim Hanson has you covered. He recently expounded on one outrageously cheap stock.

Suntech Power Holdings is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Berkshire Hathaway, Cemex, and Walt Disney are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. Berkshire Hathaway and Walt Disney are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. The Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, but does not own shares of any of the other companies mentioned. 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.