If a business is worth a dollar and I can buy it for 40 cents, something good may happen to me.
The best Dow stocks of the past 10 years don't include Microsoft or Intel. But Caterpillar (Cat) makes the cut with a 212% return. In 1997, in the midst of tech madness, the market was so bored by the company's industrial-machinery business that investors paid just $11.50 for each dollar of earnings. If the stock's current value of 16.1 times earnings is right, that's nearly a 30% discount. Smart investors didn't need to foresee the coming construction boom. They only needed to call a bargain a bargain and trust the market to eventually wise up.