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In this screen, we searched for stocks with low price to book ratios (P/B). Book value is the difference between a company’s total assets and total liabilities. Companies trading at low price to book multiples are relatively “cheap”. In fact, a stock with a P/B ratio below one is trading at a lower level than the value of its net assets. Of course, there is often a reason for this, such as a poor outlook or financial instability. Nonetheless, P/B, along with other relative valuation metrics like price to earnings, price to cash flow, and price to sales, can help investors determine which stocks are relatively underpriced and which are relatively overpriced. We limited our list to large-cap issues (market capitalization over $5 billion) with stock prices above $5.00. Here are some highlights.

Capital One Financial Corporation (COF) is one of the largest providers of MasterCard and Visa credit cards in the United States. It also offers other consumer lending and deposit services, and had $147 billion in managed loans at December 31, 2008. The company offers its credit card products through Capital One Bank. It acquired North Fork Bank in December, 2006, Hibernia Bank in November, 2005, and Onyx Acceptance Corporation in January, 2005. Capital One closed its GreenPoint Mortgage business in August, 2007.

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (NSANY) is Japan's third-largest auto maker. Its principal U.S. models include Altima, Maxima, Sentra, Quest, 350Z, Pathfinder, and the Infiniti brand. The company builds cars and trucks in Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Spain, and Australia. In fiscal 2008, Nissan sold 1,055,715 vehicles in North America, 575,944 units in Japan, 547,187 in Europe, and 1,199,914 in other regions. Foreign sales were 76% of the 2008 total. The company also makes rockets, machinery, and boats.

Micron Technology, Inc. (MU) manufactures and markets semiconductor components used in the computer, telecom, and office automation industries. The company’s major products include DDR and DDR2 computing DRAM, specialty DRAM, NAND flash, and CMOS image sensors. Foreign sales accounted for 75% of the 2008 total. Research & Development expenses were 11.6% of 2008 sales.

CNA Financial Corp. (CNA) is an insurance holding company whose main subsidiaries consist of property & casualty and life & group insurance companies. The company conducts its operations through five operating segments: standard lines, specialty lines, CNA Re, group operations, and life. Insurance products include property and casualty coverage, including life, accident, and health insurance. CNA also sells retirement products and annuities. The company's products are marketed through independent agents, brokers, managing general agents, and direct sales.

Sears Holdings Corporation (SHLD) is the parent company of Kmart Holding Corp. and Sears, Roebuck, & Co. The company is a broadline retailer with 2,297 full-line and 1,233 specialty retail stores in the United States operating through Kmart and Sears. It also has 388 full-line and specialty retail stores in Canada, operating through Sears Canada, a 70%-owned subsidiary.

The table below lists the top ten results of our screen (including the five we highlighted), ranked by P/B ratio. All data as of 8/20/09.

Company

Ticker

Stock Price

Market Cap $ (Mil)

Price to Book Value

Capital One Fin'l

COF 

$35.04

15,941.1

0.74

Nissan Motor ADR

NSANY 

$15.20

34,357.4

0.77

Regions Financial

RF 

$5.49

6,522.1

0.77

Magna Int'l 'A'

MGA 

$46.19

5,201.3

0.90

Micron Technology

MU 

$6.79

5,749.8

0.95

CNA Fin'l

CNA 

$21.90

5,891.6

0.97

SunTrust Banks

STI 

$21.46

10,704.0

0.97

Sears Holdings

SHLD 

$65.00

7,865.0

1.00

Kyocera Corp. ADR

KYO 

$78.54

14,414.3

1.04

Travelers Cos.

TRV 

$47.81

27,983.2

1.05