A 1-in-100 Investor

Presidents are often measured by what they achieve during their first 100 days in office. Schools have parties for students on the 100th day of the school year. When Jerry Yang returned to Yahoo! last summer, he gave himself 100 days to effect change at the online portal.

Around here at Motley Fool CAPS, we keep an eye on the 100-day mark, too. Some of our best investors -- we call them All-Stars -- have achieved top player ratings after garnering a score of 100 in their first 100 days on CAPS. Analysis has shown that the top-rated stocks have had the best performance over the first year for which we have data, so might we assume that when the best players rate the best stocks, there is a correlation as well?

One of our highest-rated CAPS investors is Gtrinvestor, who has a near-perfect 99.95 player rating. A player since December 2006, Gtrinvestor currently has 154 active picks on CAPS out of almost 800 stock picks made. Achieving better than 73% accuracy, Gtrinvestor has also attracted 182 "groupies" -- CAPS players who've listed this leading investor as one of their favorites.

Here are a few of the most recent stock selections Gtrinvestor has made and how they were rated.

Stock

CAPS Rating

Call

Price*

Current Score

1-Year Return

American Oriental Bioengineering (NYSE:AOB)

****

Outperform

$8.86

28.04

3.4%

Philip Morris

*****

Outperform

$50.64

(0.01)

N/A

Altria (NYSE:MO)

*****

Outperform

$22.41

(6.93)

3.2%

Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO)

**

Outperform

$25.54

2.38

(14.2%)

Sigma Designs (NASDAQ:SIGM)

*****

Outperform

$18.00

21.36

(27.3%)

The Ryland Group (NYSE:RYL)

*

Underperform

$32.82

5.88

(28.3%)

Zoltek Companies (NASDAQ:ZOLT)

***

Outperform

$28.69

(15.62)

(32.8%)

Perficient

*****

Outperform

$8.92

10.43

(54.2%)

Verasun Energy

*

Underperform

$6.27

3.79

(64.0%)

Crocs (NASDAQ:CROX)

**

Outperform

$18.57

(42.02)

(69.1%)

Source: Motley Fool CAPS and Yahoo! Finance. Current score is the number of points by which a player is beating (lagging) the S&P 500 from the time of the call.
*Price when call was made. N/A = not applicable; shares started trading 3/17/08.

Catch the breeze
While solar stocks have been riding the waves of investor interest, wind energy is catching on with gale force. Not only are private venture capitalists like Kleiner Perkins looking to invest in new forms of so-called cleantech, but major companies such as BP and Dominion Resources are joining forces to create major wind energy projects.

According to the American Wind Energy Association, a total of 5,600 megawatts of generating power will be installed in 2008. From just the new wind power plants installed in the first quarter of this year, enough electricity is produced to serve the equivalent of 400,000 homes.

To build these wind farms, companies need carbon fiber turbines to withstand the strong gusts buffeting the blades. That's where Zoltek comes in. It provides the carbon fibers to turbine manufacturers, along with selling its materials to the aerospace industry and others. In fact, 2007 marked the first time that the wind energy market surpassed the air brake industry in revenues.

Yet it hasn't been a smooth transition. Zoltek received a jolt in Q1; revenues fell 8% as a result of inventory stockpiling by customers. Then it surprised the market with its recent announcement of accounting errors and the sudden resignation of its CFO. Still, with demand blowing harder these days, and I won't say an investment here will be a breeze, it has some long-term potential.

CAPS investor rasputin12540 sees potential in wind and in automobiles needing to meet new fuel efficiency standards:

Minor earnings hiccups have hammered the share price. They have HUGE potential not only in the burgeoning WIND industry, but also in the auto industry as fuel efficiency standards dictate using carbon fibre as a building material instead of steal.

Yet not everyone is sold on it being a breezy time for Zoltek. All-Star player pytheian says it still carries a rich valuation even with the sell-off, and the accounting issues mean more problems may yet surface.

A couple of hundred thousand here and there is no big deal, right? Maybe, but a small company that needs to gut its accounting and controls to get them up to snuff is in for huge outlays and even bigger distractions. Expect more pain from this.

A 1-in-100 opportunity
Some of the best and smartest players in the CAPS investor intelligence community have been blown over, one way or another, by Zoltek, but we haven't yet heard from you. As hockey great Wayne Gretzky said, "You miss 100% of the shots you never take." At Motley Fool CAPS every investor's opinion counts. It's free to sign up, so why not use this opportunity to take your best shot?


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