Top Stocks at Half-Price

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You love buying your shirts when they go on sale. And who can resist a buy-one-get-one-free offer? So when our stocks go on sale, why do we bemoan their low prices?

Smart investors like Warren Buffett or Marty Whitman love it when their stocks are suddenly selling at bargain-basement prices. For them, these companies become no-brainer buys.

The investors in the Motley Fool CAPS community also like a bargain, apparently. Below, you'll find a pair of companies whose shares are selling at least 50% below their 52-week highs, but which still earn high honors from our investor-intelligence database. Consider it a BOGO sale on stocks.

Stock

CAPS Rating(out of 5)

% off
12-Month High

TransAtlantic Petroleum (ASE: TAT) ****64%
USEC (NYS: USU) ****75%

Source: Motley Fool CAPS.

Naturally, we want you to look a bit closer at these stocks before buying. You can get low-priced appliances in the dent-and-ding section of your home-remodeling superstore, but their quality might not be so good. Same thing here: Make sure there's nothing seriously wrong with a company before you plug it into your portfolio.

Feeling the energy
By focusing on drilling in remote places, TransAtlantic Petroleum hopes to refine its operations and grow more profitable in this time when oil's hitting $110 a barrel. It agreed to sell its oil services division to a Mideast private equity firm for $164 million, which should allow it to completely pay off its debt. It holds interests in oil and gas properties in Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania, having shed Moroccan operations last year, and it will be spending 65% of its 2012 capital spending program on its Thrace Basin holdings in Turkey, where natural gas is the primary target.

Here in the U.S., nat-gas producers Southwestern Energy (NYS: SWN) and Chesapeake Energy (NYS: CHK) have announced cutbacks in production due to low prices. But TransAtlantic is looking to increase production because natural gas accounts for 47% of Turkey's electricity generation, and consumption is already up 12% this year.

CAPS member RAP7777 believes TransAtlantic will ride its relationships in Turkey higher and that it's only a matter of time before the rest of the market catches on. Add the oil and gas play to your watchlist and let us know on the TransAtlantic Petroleum CAPS page if drilling where others aren't is a way to profit while staying out of sight.

Is the nuclear winter over?
It was almost exactly one year ago -- March 11, to be exact -- that Japan's Fukushima nuclear reactor was struck by an earthquake and tidal wave that seared into the collective consciousness the risks associated with nuclear power.

While the heroic efforts of some of the brave workers who reentered the plant after the disaster likely helped stave off a catastrophe, unfortunately one message the industry hasn't been getting out very well is that Fukushima never really got close to becoming a Chernobyl. People's fear of nuclear power clouds judgment on its record of safety. In turn, companies like uranium miner Cameco (NYS: CCJ) saw their shares melt down to half the value they had before the disaster.

But there's a difference between Cameco, whose shares have since rebounded more than 40% from their low point, and uranium enrichment specialist USEC, which sells uranium to power plants around the world. Germany is going to end its nuclear program entirely, and several other countries are pausing to examine how they're going to proceed. USEC, which is trying to get financing for a centrifuge project, keeps running into roadblocks.

Its future success lies in getting that financing approved, and while I marked it to underperform on CAPS a year ago based on Fukushima fears and difficulties with the loan program, doinitmyway believes the Department of Energy will come through.

Domestic Natural Gas and Oil production will continue to increase for geo-political reasons. We need to rely less on foreign energy sources. Nuclear energy will play an important role and the DOE is funding additional research for the USEC's American centrifuge project. They will fully fund it as the Middle East becomes more troubled. Our energy future includes nuclear fission and this company could be a multi-bagger in the very near future. Some risk involved and hurdles to overcome.

Let us know on the USEC CAPS page or the comments section below if you think the stock will melt down further, and add USEC to the Fool's free portfolio tracker to be notified if and when it happens.

Have half a mind
Sign up today for the completely free CAPS service, and tell us whether these stocks are twice as good at half the price. These companies may carry heightened risk both here and around the globe, but check out The Motley Fool's brand-new report, " The Tiny Gold Stock Digging Up Massive Profits." It highlights one little-known company that is set to profit from scary inflation and gold prospects. You can get instant access to the name of this company by clicking here -- it's free.

At the time this article was published Fool contributorRich Dupreyholds no position in any company mentioned.Click hereto see his holdings and a short bio.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Chesapeake Energy. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 - 2012 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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