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America's Next Top Value Stock

By Matt Koppenheffer - Updated Apr 6, 2017 at 10:11PM

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Not all stocks that look like values belong in your portfolio -- check out who we're voting off.

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 170,000-plus members of The Motley Fool's CAPS community voting on which stocks are true stars and which are just posers. To gather some 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
(out of 5)

China Sky One Medical
(Nasdaq: CSKI)




Advanced Battery Technologies
(Nasdaq: ABAT)




American Capital
(Nasdaq: ACAS)








Precision Drilling




Source: Yahoo! Finance and CAPS as of April 26.

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

No twinkle in these stars
China Sky One Medical and Advanced Battery Technologies certainly have attractive-looking valuation multiples. Both, however, have been caught directly in the eye of the swirling tempest that's absolutely battered many Chinese reverse-merger stocks.

The companies in this group hit the U.S. public market via a reverse merger, which allows a private company to combine with a public shell company and thereby bypass the traditional IPO process. Recently, many of these companies have come under fire from short sellers claiming that the companies are inflating results or otherwise misleading shareholders. For China Sky One and Advanced Battery, it's been a "he said, she said" so far, with skeptics hurling accusations while investors wait to see what turns out to be true.

It would seem that big box retailing isn't what it used to be. Circuit City has long since been sent to the great swap meet in the sky, while there's skepticism over whether Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) can keep up in a world where online retailers like (Nasdaq: AMZN) and low-cost experts like Wal-Mart are more than ready to eat its lunch.

So could hhgregg possibly be a good bet in this environment? CAPS members are split: Some have been attracted by the company's growth and the stock's low valuation, while others are concerned that brick and mortar is under too much pressure these days. As a result, the stock is currently stuck at a middling three stars on CAPS.

A five-star is born!
Now that we've left the riffraff behind, we can move on to a stock that CAPS members think is worthwhile, American Capital.

American Capital is most definitely a comeback story. Prior to the financial meltdown, the company was a very successful private equity investor that kicked out hefty dividends for its investors. But in 2008 and 2009, the company racked up losses of more than $4 billion, and those fat dividends disappeared.

In 2010, American Capital attracted billionaire investor John Paulson, as his hedge fund took a 13% stake in the company. Last year also saw American Capital return to profitability. Investors interested in dividends, typically the attraction for a company like American Capital, still aren't going to find what they're looking for. Still, many CAPS members seem to think that there's value in the shares as the company continues to recover.

But as much as the CAPS community likes American Capital, it couldn't quite top this week's top value stock, Precision Drilling.

Interestingly, this Motley Fool Global Gains pick is another former dividend darling, but changed its tune when Canada changed the rules around income trusts. Now operating as a standard corporation, Precision is directing its cash flow toward strengthening its balance sheet and growing. And investors certainly have certainly been excited about the stock lately, as it's nearly doubled over the past 12 months.

The stock's book value multiple of 1.7 may not be a great signal of value here, since the price is also 20 times expected 2011 earnings and more than 65 times trailing earnings. The CAPS community has overwhelmingly stuck with the stock though, and 1,638 members currently consider it an "outperformer" versus just 40 who think it will lag the market.

Make your vote count!
Do you agree that Precision Drilling 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.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis – even one of our own – helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

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Stocks Mentioned

Precision Drilling Corporation Stock Quote
Precision Drilling Corporation
$32.33 (2.57%) $0.81
Best Buy Co., Inc. Stock Quote
Best Buy Co., Inc.
$103.92 (1.63%) $1.67, Inc. Stock Quote, Inc.
$3,437.36 (-0.18%) $-6.36
hhgregg, Inc. Stock Quote
hhgregg, Inc.

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