Though value investors have been some of the most successful investors out there, finding good stocks at bargain prices is far from easy. Though markets aren't as efficient as some university professors may want to tell you, they generally do a pretty good job pricing stocks. So while there are good deals out there, you're going to have to break a bit of a mental sweat if you want to make sure that you're investing in the stock equivalent of Brad Pitt, not Kato Kaelin.

Fortunately for us, in the search for stock market values, we have the 145,000 members of The Motley Fool's CAPS community voting on which stocks are true stars and which are just posers. To gather ideas I've dug up a handful of companies valued at less than twice their book value -- a measure often used by value investors.


Book Value Multiple

1-Year Stock Performance

CAPS Rating

















Arch Coal (NYSE:ACI)




Source: Yahoo! Finance, and CAPS as of Dec. 21.

As you can see, although these stocks all carry value-like multiples, the CAPS community doesn't think that all are worthy of your investment dollars.

No twinkle in these stars
Despite carrying the lowest multiple of the group, CAPS members are skeptical of AIG's stock. Potentially the best thing that could be said about AIG at this point is that the company is huge -- at least big enough that the U.S. government seems hell-bent on making sure it doesn't fail. The government currently owns about 80% of the company, and the big question for shareholders is how much will be left for them when all is said and done.

When it comes to the homebuilding sector, Lennar isn't home alone at the bottom rung of CAPS ratings. It has plenty of company, including D.R. Horton and KB Home. CAPS members haven't seen a big enough bounce in the housing market over the past nine months to justify a boost in these homebuilders' stocks .

As for MGM Mirage, the opening of the company's much-ballyhooed CityCenter project may be reason for some celebration, but CAPS members have a bleak view of the Las Vegas market that extends to MGM competitors like Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS) and Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN).

A five-star is born!
Thanks to its GE Capital division, GE has had a tumultuous ride through the financial crisis. However, the company has been scaling back the division's exposure, and CEO Jeff Immelt now thinks that the worst is over. The company has also been sharpening its focus on core energy and industrial infrastructure segments, and it took a big step in that direction by putting NBC into a new joint venture with Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and selling a majority stake.

CAPS members seem to think that this industrial giant is now on the mend and have awarded the stock four stars. Of course, that rating leaves GE one star shy of topping this week's top value stock, Arch Coal.

Coal may be reviled by environment hawks, but this fossil fuel is still essential when it comes to electricity generation in the U.S. It should be little surprise then that Arch Coal, which sells enough coal to provide roughly 6% of all U.S. electricity generation, would be high on investors' lists.

But why the perfect five-star rating? CAPS All-Star starrider78 got right to the point when rating the stock an outperformer back in May:

Coal is not going away as a power source any time soon. This company is the best of breed for coal, with less debt, better income, and better margins than its peers.

Make your vote count!
I've already given Arch Coal an outperform rating in my CAPS portfolio, but what do you think? Do you agree that Arch Coal could be America's next top value stock? Click over to CAPS and let the rest of the community know what you think. And while you're there, you can log your vote for the other stocks that you think should be in the running.

To compete well in the investment world, you often have to beat Wall Street to the punch. Check out the stocks that Anand Chokkavelu thinks you should buy before Wall Street catches on.

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool. The Fool's disclosure policy -- which does nothing but monitor disclosures -- knows that boring can be beautiful.