Our so-called junk rally has been unusually kind to financial fare, with the likes of Bank of America, Genworth Financial (NYSE:GNW), and CB Richard Ellis (NYSE:CBG) for example, sporting huge returns year to date.

Never mind the still-fragile state of the economy, not to mention the weakness of commercial real estate or the fact that those toxic assets we used to hear so much about remain, well, toxic.

A deeply bought-into belief that happy days are here again has led to yet another spiked punch bowl -- and with the lampshade only recently fastened back on the lamp and the glass cleaner barely dry on the copy machine, too.

Further evidence: The tech sector has gone gaga, too. Indeed, thus far in 2009, the Technology SPDR (XLK) -- an exchange-traded fund whose top holdings include big boys like eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), and Motorola (NYSE:MOT) -- has risen by nearly 50%. And that showing, moreover, comes amid anemic business spending, the technology sector's lifeblood.

Yes indeed: The market is drunk again.

Party on, Wayne
Parties are fun while they last, but no Fool should be the last to leave. Investing ain't Sunday school, it's true, but fundamentals (and, um, fundamentalist investors) will eventually trump a "technical" rally, a rise powered in large measure by the fact that money has begun flowing back into equity mutual funds, and money managers don't get paid to sit on cash.

To snip the title from a favorite Fool commentary, the bottom line is this: Danger, horror, get out! Unlike that must-read write-up, though, no irony is required here. Now really is a great time to cash out of clunkers and trade up to tougher stuff -- vehicles poised to provide greater mileage over the long haul.

Two for the road
Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY), for example, is trading with a below-market P/E despite rock-solid profitability and deep-pocketed financial health.

Meanwhile, biotech concern Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) looks intriguing, too, with worries over coming (eventually!) health-care cost controls more than priced in. In the near- to mid-term, those controls don't appear likely to have much bite. And the emerging reform legislation seems poised to dramatically increase what is, in the broadest sense, Gilead's customer base: the insured.

Art and science
No matter what data swirls around it, though, free cash flow (FCF) is my mainstay metric. Add up the cash a company has taken in from operations, subtract its capital spending, and voila: FCF, the lifeblood of any going concern that aims to remain a going concern.

The science of analyzing FCF involves assessing the present value of a company's future cash flows. And then the art kicks in -- determining whether a stock's current price is right in light of the return you require, given its risk and how wide your margin of safety must be.

That latter phrase refers to the gap between a company's stock price and your estimate of its intrinsic value. And that's where I'm currently stuck with both Bristol-Meyers Squibb and Gilead. Attractive in fundamental terms though they are, both currently trade above my buy-below price -- and therefore outside my margin of safety.

Bargains galore!
I'm a patient Fool, though, particularly when bargains abound elsewhere and are being conveniently served up on a silver platter. To wit: Even after the market's fast and furious run-up, the list of recommendations at Motley Fool Inside Value -- a service for dyed-in-the-wool cheapskates like moi -- includes more than a dozen companies trading at huge discounts to their intrinsic value.

If you're looking to winnow your watch list down to just those stocks you might actually buy, you can check out Inside Value's complete list of recommendations for the low, low price of ... free. No investment is risk-free, of course, but there's a margin of safety in Inside Value's numbers. Click here to take the service for a 30-day, no-cost spin.

Already a member of Inside Value? Log in at the top of this page.

This article was originally published on Sept. 8, 2009. It has been updated.

Shannon Zimmerman runs point on the Fool's Duke Street and Ready Made Millionaire services, and he runs off at the mouth each week on Motley Fool Money, the Fool's fast 'n' furious podcast. Shannon doesn't own any of the stocks mentioned. Motley Fool Options recommended a bull call spread on eBay, a Stock Advisor pick. Google is a Rule Breakers recommendation. You can check out the Fool's strict disclosure policy right here.