Today I’ll be looking at three FTSE 250 companies trading at heavily discounted prices compared to a year ago. Could this be the right time to take advantage of poor investor sentiment and be greedy when others are fearful?

Discounted sports retailer

The UK’s number one sports retailer Sports Direct (LSE: SPD) has had a torrid time this year. Investors have watched the value of their shares plummet from over £8 last August to today’s levels below £3. The retailer’s impressive record of strong growth came to an abrupt halt this year when results for FY2016 revealed a 9% drop in underlying earnings despite higher revenues of £2.9bn. The firm remains cautious about the outlook, with its exposure to the weakness of sterling against the US dollar and uncertainty over Brexit expected to weigh on the shares.

Negative publicity regarding the company’s working practices will also have an impact on investor sentiment. However, I fully expect Sports Direct to clean up its act regarding employee working conditions in a bid to improve its public image, and also think the company could fare better than its rivals if household budgets are squeezed, with its affordable and heavily discounted sportswear. The shares are trading at multi-year lows, and for me represent one of the best long-term recovery plays in the retail sector for avid contrarians.

Meaty dividends

Shares in housebuilding and construction group Galiford Try (LSE: GFRD) have been on the slide since last September despite reporting higher revenues and profits for 2015. In a trading statement earlier this month the company said it expects to report record full-year results for the period to June, with profits in line with management expectations. So maybe the outlook isn’t as bleak as the depressed share price suggests.

Indeed, our friends in the City expect the Uxbridge business to report a 12% improvement in earnings for fiscal 2016, followed by an even better 18% rise for the year to June 2018. Furthermore, the share price weakness this year coupled with the sell-off from Brexit mean prospective dividend yields have climbed to a meaty 10% for the current fiscal year. Trading at just six times forecast earnings for FY2017, I believe Galliford Try is a strong buy for both growth and income investors alike.

Nice package

Shares in Irish packaging firm Smurfit Kappa (LSE: SKG) have also suffered a significant retracement this year despite strong results in 2015. Growth in underlying profits is expected to slow to single-digits this year and next, but a 35% fall in the share price this year means the shares are changing hands at just 10 times forward earnings.

I expect significant share price appreciation as the market realises Smurfit Kappa is well and truly oversold, and consequently represents excellent value for keen bargain hunters.

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Bilaal Mohamed has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Sports Direct International. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.