A Great Call on Amazon.com

Inevitably, when investors start talking about the "if onlys," buying more during the wreckage of the dot-com bust comes up. Looking back now, the year 2000 offered a lot of great buys among the rubble of the tech boom. Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) certainly wasn't least among them. In fact, Fool co-founder David Gardner did recommend Amazon for Motley Fool Stock Advisor subscribers, and it's returned nearly 400% for those who bought at that time.

More recently, Motley Fool CAPS All-Star FieryGuy7 made an outstanding call on Amazon. He gave the stock a thumbs-up back in August 2006 at a mere $28, and watched it run up all the way to more than $92 before pulling back on his outperform rating. He was able to capture much of the market's enthusiasm for the company's continued progress and strong Christmas season, while avoiding the sell-off that followed at the beginning of the new year.

FieryGuy7 is one of CAPS' All-Stars -- players with a rating of 80 or greater -- having managed a stock-picking accuracy of 48% while racking up more than 450 points. Amazon hasn't been his only great call. Here's a look at a few of his other prescient picks:

Company

Date Picked

Call

Points

CAPS Rating

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)

8/25/06

Outperform

181

***

Dolby Laboratories (NYSE:DLB)

8/25/06

Outperform

115

*****

W&T Offshore (NYSE:WTI)

5/16/07

Outperform

45

****

Data from CAPS.

So what is this investor looking at these days? Here are a few of his most recent CAPS calls:

Company

Date Picked

Call

CAPS Rating

Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG)

1/15/08

Outperform

****

Hillenbrand Industries (NYSE:HB)

12/5/07

Outperform

**

Jones Soda (NASDAQ:JSDA)

12/5/07

Outperform

**

Data from CAPS.

While not all of these picks may pan out, they could be a good place to start further research. I decided to take a closer look at crowd favorite and Rule Breakers pick Intuitive Surgical.

The sci-fi of now
Four robotic arms performing minimally invasive surgery while being controlled by a surgeon at a 3-D visualization console may sound like something out of an Isaac Asimov novel, but it's today's technology, thanks to Intuitive Surgical. The company sells the da Vinci surgical system, which is helping surgeons more effectively perform minimally invasive procedures that offer patients quicker recovery times, less scarring, and less pain after surgery.

Along with blowout revenue and earnings growth over the past few years, the company has seen its stock soar. And Intuitive Surgical continues to deliver strong results. Though there were concerns that its fourth quarter might fall short, Intuitive actually ended up slapping analysts' estimates around with its brawny robot arms, clocking in $0.20 per share beyond what the Wall Street crew expected.

The company still has a lot of runway ahead of it; it's basically defining a new industry segment, and direct competition is very limited. Fellow Fool Selena Maranjian has even tapped the stock as a candidate for the best stock for 2008.

On CAPS, Intuitive is very popular, with more than 2,200 players considering it an outperformer, versus just 138 who think it will underperform. CAPS All-Star OfficerPup recently voiced his opinion in favor of Intuitive Surgical:

Revenues are surging. Their da Vinci robotic surgical system is becoming the standard for prostate cancer procedures and will no doubt become so for other applications. In the parlance of The Gorilla Game, this one has real potential to be the dominant simian.

Many of those who have given a thumbs-down have done so on the basis of valuation. While this is certainly not the majority opinion, it's worth noting, since the company is trading at an impressively high trailing P/E multiple of nearly 80. The company's strong growth, paired with high profitability, could prove this concern to be overblown. But it's not unusual for even a good company's stock to experience some pain if the valuation outruns its real potential.

So what's your take on Intuitive Surgical? Get in the action by clicking over to CAPS. CAPS is absolutely free and already has more than 84,000 stock pickers collaborating to find the best stocks in the world.

More CAPS Foolishness:


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