3 Stocks Near 52-Week Lows Worth Buying

Just as we examine companies each week that may be rising past their fair value, we can also find companies potentially trading at bargain prices. While many investors would rather have nothing to do with companies tipping the scales at 52-week lows, I think it makes a lot of sense to determine whether the market has overreacted to the downside, just as we often do to the upside.

Here's a look at three fallen angels trading near their 52-week lows that could be worth buying.

Pedal to the metal
I almost have to choke down this recommendation a bit because it's a company that I would normally avoid, but Alcoa (NYS: AA) is finally trading at an attractive valuation. As the world's largest producer of aluminum, Alcoa's fortunes are inextricably linked to the health of the global economy. Because of Greece worries and significantly slower-than-expected growth in the U.S., many have Alcoa pegged for rough times ahead. I, on the other hand, see light at the end of the tunnel.

Even with reduced profit forecasts, investors looking for metals exposure have to be intrigued by Alcoa at 65% of book value and just 7 times forward earnings. Also consider that Alcoa's gross margin is much higher than that of its closest rival Aluminum Corporation of China (NYS: ACH) and it trades at a forward P/E that's half that of Aluminum Corp. While it will take global growth to drive sales, I'm not sure Alcoa is going to get much cheaper.

Misunderstanding, maybe?
If you asked shareholders of engineering and construction management company Fluor (NYS: FLR) , they'd say Alcoa shareholders have it easy. Not only does Fluor need a strong global economy to increase sales, but it also relies heavily on government contracts. Considering that the U.S. government just went through the painstaking process of raising the debt ceiling, I can understand where the pessimism is coming from. But, I also feel Fluor has more than paid its penance.

Since its highs earlier in the year, Fluor has fallen from a forward P/E of nearly 24 to just 13. The company is now trading at a price-to-cash-flow ratio near its lowest levels since 2001! With speculation swirling that the U.S. government will once again need to spur the economy through a potential jobs package, companies like Fluor shouldn't be counted out. Don't forget that Fluor also gives you a 1.1% yield while you wait for investors to come to their senses.

1.21 jiggawatts? It can be done!
I could just as easily include a new solar stock each week in this column -- and today I'm going to do just that with SunPower (NAS: SPWRA) (NAS: SPWRB) . Last week Foolish colleague Travis Hoium hit the nail on the head when he declared SunPower his favorite solar play. While I may not share his enthusiasm as my favorite play, the company's energy efficiency is far and away higher than all of its peers, offering it a significant competitive advantage.

As Travis expounded further, SunPower's cost-per-watt might be one of the highest in the industry, but this also leaves room for a large amount of improvement. It's not as if SunPower has been struggling, either, despite its high cost-per-watt. The company is currently valued at just six times forward earnings and half of its book value, consistent with other solar companies I've highlighted in recent weeks, JA Solar (NAS: JASO) and Trina Solar (NYS: TSL) . If you aren't ready to pull the trigger yet on solar, consider at least getting these companies on your watchlist.

Foolish roundup
Market panic is on the rise and there are deals to be had. Keep your eyes peeled for companies trading at or below book value that have stronger earnings potential than their peers and you should be in good shape when the market finally does find its footing.

What's your take -- do these fallen angels deserve a second chance? Share your thoughts in the comments section below and consider adding Alcoa, Fluor, and SunPower to your free and personalized watchlist to keep up on the latest news affecting each company.

At the time this article was published Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy that's always on the lookout for a good deal.

Copyright © 1995 - 2011 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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Gumby

Car makers are slowly adding aluminium to cars to cut down weight but they can do it much faster.. Carmakers are adding about ten pounds of aluminmium every year which is not fast enough for a two ton car.. Theyshould add 50 pounds of aluminium every year.. I can understand the challenges of reengineering but ten pounds is too low.. 50 pounds is more reasonable or even 100 pounds is better. People still think that steel is superior to aluminium which is the real problem!! Theydont understand... la la la lal la fa fa la fa la al la fa la fa la

October 05 2011 at 9:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gumby

The govenment gave several billons in loan guarantees to solar developments.. One huge chunk of it goes to a solar thermal project but nobody is talking about it... About $700 millon in loan guarantee is handed to a unkown name of a company that will use a lot of aluminium in its solar thermal project... Why nobody is tlaking about it... Why is everybody so silent about aluminium as if it is a revenge story or what???

October 05 2011 at 9:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gumby

The investment community appears to be resigned to lmited energy future where oil and natural gas continue to dominate our future economy and conitinue to rise in prices at great costs to many of us.. They couldnt care any less as it is no lose propostion to sit back and watch oil prices rise and rise because we have yet to grow solar energy with aluminium as a crucial player... Why use aluminium why the bother?? Oil is fine and the prices are rising and people are still buying them why stop them mentality... this is destructive to everything we take for granted today.. we already witness many things disappear or wilt becauseo f rising oil prices.. The well to do investment community can afford higher oil prices regardlessly... We do not blame oil producers as we should.. Should Big oil producers foster solar energy with the excess profits they generate??? Or should we allow oil producers to continue to funnel back profits into futiless efforts to explore and develop meager amounts of oil in the future... The sun is limitless and oil producers would do very well to adopt uses of aluminium because oil producers are the only ones around who can afford to do it... not the govenrment that is already broke yet spending Social Security to finance the already obseolete solar energy technologies known as photovoltaics.. The govenrment should encourage more aluminium... They dont mention it at all how come??

October 05 2011 at 9:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gumby

Everybvody still cant undersatand that mirrors can be used to heat homes... At first blush, they would ask if they will be blinded by the glare of mirrors.. Whoa whoa this isnot what you might think... We will desgin perfectly safe mirrors that will not blind or burn you... They will heat your homes.. and you will not need to rely on your traditional home furnaces as long as the sun shine.. For summer. we can reflect back hot sunlight upwardly into the sky with reflectors on our roofs to keep indoors cooler and reduce dependence on air conditioners.. We will not be as dependable on our HVAC guys as before.. Insulation in our attic will be cooled with cool night air through forced air through pipes inside insulation to help cool down indoors for the next hot day.. It will stay cooler much longer during the day before air conditioners kick in saving untold hours of electricity.. Smart ideas will come from aluminium.. Yet we are still having excess inventories of aluminmium sitting in warehouses for lack of motiviation in energy conservation. Aluminium may require vast amounts of electricty to make but it pay back handsome dividends for centuries as long as you recycle them... with minimal energy requirments at around 5%... Steel uses same amount of energy to make new as recycle. becuase they are heavy and wieldy... as well as requiring much higher temperature and energy to remelt and recycle.. Aluminium or ALCOA is a buy, of course but the investment community is so addicted to old ways of doing business like drilling for more oil profitably without regard to high unemployment and such.. They dont care about tomorrow... So how do you convince them to see why aluminium is way undervalued because of underuitlization.

October 05 2011 at 9:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gumby

Sean I am still not convinced about photovoltaics as the main stay for solar energy.. There is already more advanced and far more efficient solar technologies under research and development.. The biggest missing material vital to the future of solar energy is aluminium . Aluminium is the lowest cost material used to make mirrors or so called heliostats that are used to concentrate sunlight much similiar to use of lenses . We also have what we call Fresenic lenses but I am not sure about the cost competitiveness of lenses except for sutiable applicatoins. For general utliity purposes on great scales, aluminium will prove to be the major player in solar energy. Photovoltaics will not.. We will still have photovoltaics but not as the dominant player in solar energy much longer.. Every bit helps, of course but we are already choking on energy resources and we need aluminium to create solar harvesting networks far more cheaply than photovoltaics. as well as reducing footprint. Aluminium is close to 100% in efficiency as it can concentrate sunlight with neglible losses or waste and refocus sunlight into many uses that we used to rely on natural gas or oil for manufacturing goods.. Those electrical wall outlets will probably become a thing of the past... well sort of..
not as important ...

October 05 2011 at 9:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply