"'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 150,000 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)

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (NYSE: FCX)




Teck Resources (NYSE: TCK)




Monsanto (NYSE: MON)




PotashCorp  (NYSE: POT)




Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS)




Companies are selected by screening on finviz.com for abrupt 5% 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 rough one for investors. Fears that the SEC has Goldman Sachs in its gunsights didn't just impact Goldman. They sparked a flight to safety, as investors fled shares of "risky" commodities, and sought "safe" assets such as U.S. Treasuries. In the process, scores of superb commodities stocks got knocked around pretty badly. And adding insult to guilt-by-association, both Monsanto and PotashCorp suffered the indignities of analyst downgrades, Monsanto hit by Argus, while PotashCorp was downgraded by from Goldman itself.

Yet the tumult notwithstanding, it appears many investors still have faith in these companies. Excepting only Goldman, each stock on the list above scores an above-average four stars on CAPS. But which offers the best value for investors? Call me a gold bug if you will, but for my money, the best bargain on the block this week is ...

Freeport-MacMoRan Copper & Gold
And I'm not alone. CAPS member JPNot calls Freeport: "one of the best run companies out there. I love the stock because of: a) Its international and emerging markets exposure; b) Its large share of the global copper market and current odds of copper prices going higher; ... and d) It gives some indirect exposure to gold, an inflation hedge."

DarthMaul09 sees two more reasons to like Freeport: "If you believe that a recovery is coming, then copper prices will go up. If you feel that the US debt will be a problem, then gold will go up. Maybe that is why this stock went up from $17 sixteen months ago to the mid 80's today."

And if all that weren't already reason to feel optimistic, EBStroke pointed out one more near-term catalyst for the stock last month. Citing a spike in the price of copper "following the weekend earthquake in Chile" last month, EBStroke pointed out that: "Chile is the world's largest producer of copper," and predicted that this "could give a boost to copper miners, such as Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold..., Southern Copper (Nasdaq: SCCO), and Rio Tinto (NYSE: RTP)."

A stock for all seasons, and reasons
So to recap: If the economy goes up, Freeport wins. If the dollar tanks, Freeport wins. And even when natural disaster strikes, Freeport ... wins! (Anyone else seeing a theme here?)

Now as for me, I'm not quite as bullish as my fellow CAPS members appear to be about the stock. That is to say, I wouldn't go out and argue that in any situation, no matter what happens, this stock will always outperform. But looking at the stock today, at the valuation it currently carries, I do believe that it stands a good chance of rewarding from this point forward.

Consider: Right now, post-last week's-sell-off, Freeport sells for a P/E of less than 14. And with free cash flow fully as good as its GAAP earnings suggest, the company also sells for a 12-times multiple on that metric. Either way, therefore, I'd argue that the 15% annual five-year growth that analysts project for this company should be more than enough to support the stock price. And if Freeport should exceed analyst expectations, as it has in three of the past four quarters?

Why then, Fool, we really could see Freeport bounce.

Time to chime in
Or at least, that's my opinion. But what do you think about Freeport McMoRan, copper, or gold? Click over to Motley Fool CAPS, and sound off.

Monsanto is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection, and Motley Fool Options has recommended taking a synthetic long position on Monsanto, but Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. You can find Rich on CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he's currently ranked No. 701 out of more than 160,000 members. The Fool has a disclosure policy.