Robert Shiller, prestigious professor at Yale University, now believes the chances of a double-dip recession are greater than 50%. Second-quarter GDP has been revised downward. Unemployment is staying stubbornly high. It's obvious to just about everyone that not only has the recovery stalled, but even worse, we may be entering another downward spiral in the market.

In these uncertain times, it's natural for volatile stocks to swing up and down, and small caps will usually fit that bill. This is especially true right now, as smaller companies are having difficulty accessing credit and thus can't hire new employees or take on new initiatives. What's surprising though about this past quarter is that large caps -- companies that typically can survive a significant downturn -- are actually doing worse than small caps. In the past six months, small caps have outpaced the general index while large-cap stocks have done slightly worse than the market.

Not to fear though -- this could be the opportunity of a decade. It's times like these when contrarian investors look for great companies trading at bargain basement prices.

That's why in this regular series, I've run a screen to find the best companies out there. Below is a list of large-cap health service stocks that have been beaten down in the past 13 weeks, are trading for P/Es less than 16, and that have been vetted by our 165,000-strong CAPS investing community. Included here, in rank order of their price depreciation, are five four- and five-star stocks:


13-Week Price Change

P/E Ratio

CAPS Rating

Stryker (NYSE: SYK)




Medtronic (NYSE: MDT)




Covidien (NYSE: COV)




WellPoint (NYSE: WLP)




St. Jude Medical (NYSE: STJ)




Source: Motley Fool CAPS. Data as of Sept. 1, 2010. Price change from June 4.

Of course, none of these stocks are completely immune to a downtrodden market, but large caps can typically weather the storm as good as most. The companies above have already been vetted by our investing community and have received the esteemed four- or five-star status; however, make sure to do your own due diligence to see if one of these companies is right for you.

Have a strong opinion about any of the seven listed above? Head over to CAPS and sound off!

True to its name, The Motley Fool is made up of a motley assortment of writers and analysts, each with a unique perspective; sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but we all believe in the power of learning from each other through our Foolish community.

Jordan DiPietro owns no shares above. Covidien, Stryker, and WellPoint are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. The Fool owns shares of Medtronic. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.