From the Wall Street Journal:
Several stock sectors have collapsed over the past year, including banks, department stores and homebuilders. However, the smart money is starting to pick up the pieces.
The valuations of some of the most beaten-up companies seem too low to overlook, even with the nation's faltering economy.
We canvassed money managers and combed balance sheets, looking for the best combination of cheap valuations and solid businesses. The result: five stocks whose better days should be ahead of them....
...Applied Materials ($20)
Applied Materials is the leading maker of microchip-manufacturing equipment, but that hasn't helped much lately as the microchip industry has struggled. But the firm's valuation is close to its low point for the past decade, and the company is sitting on almost $2 billion in cash.
In the meantime, Applied's chip-equipment-making prowess translates well into machinery to make solar panels. Buying the stock now gives investors a chance to capitalize on both a chip-sector rebound and the growing solar-cell market....
Applied Materials Inc (AMAT.O: Quote) said on Monday its SunFab thin film solar technology does not infringe on a European patent held by Switzerland's University of Neuchatel.
The announcement by the maker of equipment for both the semiconductor and solar power industries came after Swiss technology group Oerlikon (OERL.VX: Quote) said earlier this month its intellectual property was being infringed by Germany's Sunfilm AG, an Applied Materials customer....MORE