3 Stocks Near 52-Week Lows Worth Buying

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Just as we examine companies each week that may be rising past their fair value, we can also find companies potentially trading at a bargain price. 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.

Dimon in the rough
Not even a European debt calamity or weakening U.S. economic figures can topple one of the United States' strongest banks, JPMorgan Chase (NYS: JPM) . Investors often criticize Jamie Dimon's leadership of JPMorgan, but unquestionably since the lows of the credit crisis and its subsequent purchase of Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual, it has offered some of the strongest results in the banking sector.

In its latest quarter, JPMorgan Chase reported a 49% jump in net income on a 16% jump in revenue over the year-ago period. The main drivers of growth were a $1 billion reduction in loan loss reserves in its card services division and a record quarter for its commercial banking segment. At a core tier-1 capital ratio of 10.1%, JPMorgan Chase stands better-capitalized than Bank of America (NYS: BAC) and Wells Fargo (NYS: WFC) to withstand further economic shocks. Trading at a mere 73% of its book value, now may be the right time to dip your toes into the water.

An economic swirlie?
Shareholders of Whirlpool (NYS: WHR) must not share President Obama's optimism about the U.S. economy, because they've gone straight past pessimistic to outright depressed. Since May of last year, Whirlpool shares have lost more than half of their value -- yet the last time I checked, the wheels were still firmly planted on this wagon.

Higher oil prices and weakening global economies are definitely straining Whirlpool's margins, but long-term growth trends remain largely intact. For the second quarter, Whirlpool reported a 4% increase in revenue and reaffirmed its 2011 profit and cash flow outlook. For the full year, the company's Asia segment is projected to grow by 4% to 6%, while the Latin America segment could grow between 5% and 10% according to the company's own guidance. Currently valued at only 92% of its book value and trading at a forward earnings multiple of 6.2, this company has the potential to provide huge returns over the long term.

A slow fade
Shares of Netherlands-based molecular diagnostics company Qiagen (NAS: QGEN) have been slowly fading over the past year. It appears the root of the pessimism stems from the company's lack of organic growth recently. In its most recent quarter, excluding currency-related gains, organic revenue rose by just 1%. But are investors missing a potential value stock in the molecular sector? I think so!

With a five-year average P/E ratio of 43, I'm shocked to see Qiagen valued at a mere 13 times forward earnings. If the company can hit its targets, that valuation would represent a decade low. Relative to peer Sigma-Aldrich (NAS: SIAL) , Qiagen trades at a slightly lower forward multiple and a lower price-to-cash-flow. Also outlined in the company's quarterly results were its plans to increase sales through geographic expansion and, of course, innovation. Having followed Qiagen on my watchlist for years, the valuation now appears as tempting as it has ever been.

Foolish roundup
Relative to U.S. Treasuries, the stock market appears cheap right now. This means that there are plenty of values out there to be had. Keep your eyes peeled for established and still-growing names trading below book value, and chances are good that you'll be handsomely rewarded in the long run.

Do these fallen angels deserve a second chance? You be the judge by telling the community in the comments section below. Also, consider tracking JPMorgan Chase, Whirlpool, and Qiagen by adding them to your watchlist.

At the time this article was published

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