After a golfer such as Tiger Woods first rises to prominence, he is naturally widely, and correctly, expected to continue to be an elite golfer season after season. Students who excel in school are expected to continue with scholastic success over the course of their lives. Even in the relatively fickle world of art, musicians and artists who successfully master their craft are virtually never regress to a lower level of talent, even if their commercial success eventually wanes.

IN PICTURES: 10 Reasons To Add ETFs To Your Portfolio

Leaders Become Laggards
In the stock market, however, this logical train of thought is not very useful. Once a company comes to dominate its industry, even for a short period of time, most of its competitors will readily adopt whatever methods provided it with its advantage. Indeed, over the long term it is exceptionally difficult for a company to maintain an economic moat.

As well, once a company achieves success, it can quickly become prone to overvaluation by market participants, who believe the company'' good fortunes will continue much longer than they end up actually lasting. As such, good companies can end up being priced like they are absolutely outstanding companies, which means that eventually they will have to offer less-than-stellar returns for their prices to revert to a more accurate valuation.

Losers Become Winners
The reverse can occur as well. Stocks that temporarily stumble can be driven too far down in price in the short-term, thus setting the stage for market-beating returns as their valuations eventually correct to the appropriate level.

For individual investors, the goal is to attempt to avoid paying too much for last year's winners, only to see them end up as laggards in your portfolio, and instead try to pick up a few of last year's losers before they eventually become part of the next batch of winners. With that in mind, here are five stocks that are near the bottom of their 52-week range, yet also are expected to produce positive earnings growth going forward.

Company Current Price 52-Week Low Forward P/E
Intel Corporation (Nasdaq:INTC) $18.90 $18.31 9.0
Diodes Incorporated (Nasdaq:DIOD) $16.26 $15.01 9.3
Thompson Creek Metals Company (NYSE:TC) $8.97 $8.03 6.1
Dell (Nasdaq:DELL) $12.04 $11.72 8.3
TTM Technologies (Nasdaq:TTMI) $8.53 $8.25 7.0
Data as of market close, August 20, 2010

Intel's Time Again?

Trading north of $24 a share as recently as April of this year, the market has steadily sold off shares of Intel in recent months, with the stock most recently closing below $19. Not only is this near the 52-week low for this stock, but it is also approaching something of a 10-year low as well. In fact, the stock has traded above the $20 mark for the majority of the past decade.

While the most recent economic downturn of course greatly affected the cyclical semiconductor industry, Intel business operations appear to have been turned the corner. For its fiscal year 2010, the company is expected to tally $44.6 billion in sales, which would represent a 27.1% off its 2009 sales volume.

Assuming its 2010 year-end comes in as expected, this would make 2009 its worst sales year in the past four years, while 2010 would be its best. With analyst consensus estimates currently pegging the company's sales to grow further in 2011 to $47 billion, at this point it seem likely that Intel's share price will have to eventually reverse course as well.

The Bottom Line
While picking winning stocks tends be counterintuitive, compared to most other areas of life, this does not have to be a disadvantage to individual investors who understand this reality. A proven performer such as Intel could be just that sort of turnaround story in the making, as it has been driven down to levels near its 52-week low, yet still harbors positive earnings growth expectations. (To learn more about turnarounds, see Turnaround Stocks: U-Turn To High Returns.)

Use the Investopedia Stock Simulator to trade the stocks mentioned in this stock analysis, risk free!

Related Articles
  1. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    What Exactly Are Arbitrage Mutual Funds?

    Learn about arbitrage funds and how this type of investment generates profits by taking advantage of price differentials between the cash and futures markets.
  2. Investing News

    Ferrari’s IPO: Ready to Roll or Poor Timing?

    Will Ferrari's shares move fast off the line only to sputter later?
  3. Stock Analysis

    5 Cheap Dividend Stocks for a Bear Market

    Here are five stocks that pay safe dividends and should be at least somewhat resilient to a bear market.
  4. Investing

    How to Win More by Losing Less in Today’s Markets

    The further you fall, the harder it is to climb back up. It’s a universal truth that is painfully apparent in the investing world.
  5. Fundamental Analysis

    Use Options Data To Predict Stock Market Direction

    Options market trading data can provide important insights about the direction of stocks and the overall market. Here’s how to track it.
  6. Stock Analysis

    2 Oil Stocks to Buy Right Now (PSX,TSO)

    Can these two oil stocks buck the trend?
  7. Investing News

    What Alcoa’s (AA) Breakup Means for Investors

    Alcoa plans to split into two companies. Is this a bullish catalyst for investors?
  8. Stock Analysis

    Top 3 Stocks for the Coming Holiday Season

    If you want to buck the bear market trend by going long on consumer stocks, these three might be your best bets.
  9. Investing News

    Could a Rate Hike Send Stocks Higher?

    A rate hike would certainly alter the investment scene, but would it be for the better or worse?
  10. Investing News

    Corporate Bonds or Stocks: Which is Better Now?

    With market volatility high, you may think it is time to run for corporate bonds instead of stocks. Before you do take a deeper look into which is better.
  1. How do dividends affect retained earnings?

    When a company issues a cash dividend to its shareholders, the retained earnings listed on the balance sheet are reduced ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital?

    The difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital is investors have already paid in full for paid-up ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Why would a corporation issue convertible bonds?

    A convertible bond represents a hybrid security that has bond and equity features; this type of bond allows the conversion ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How does additional paid in capital affect retained earnings?

    Both additional paid-in capital and retained earnings are entries under the shareholders' equity section of a company's balance ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What types of capital are not considered share capital?

    The money a business uses to fund operations or growth is called capital, and there are a number of capital sources available. ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is the difference between issued share capital and subscribed share capital?

    The difference between subscribed share capital and issued share capital is the former relates to the amount of stock for ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!