Pick Stocks, Become Famous

Buffett. Lynch. Neff. Miller. Muhlenkamp.

The list of renowned investors could go on and on.

Notice, however, that the investors we tend to look up to the most are professionals. They have proven themselves to be effective managers of billions of dollars, navigating Wall Street with their agile intellectual footwork.

That's all well and good, but where are the famous non-professional investors -- the John Henrys, the Paul Bunyans of our world? People who work a regular nine-to-five, cook their own dinner, take their kids to soccer practice, and with their spare time, generate 20% annualized returns in their stock portfolios?

When pigs fly ...
I know what you're thinking: "Can those people even exist?" Finding two hours a week, let alone each day, to read through a company's 10-K is no small feat.

Becoming a famous non-professional investor sure isn't easy, but three of our top Motley Fool CAPS investors got a step up on the ladder of stardom when they were highlighted in Barrons over the weekend. CAPS investors SpecBear, TDRH, and dwot are rated Nos. 1, 2, and 19, respectively, in our community of more than 105,000 investors.

None of them are professional investors, yet each has made the correct "outperform" and "underperform" stock calls versus the S&P 500 more than 80% of the time. That's, in a word, incredible.

The art of riding coattails
And investors in our community have caught onto their outstanding performance. SpecBear, for example, has more than 2,200 "groupies" who have signed up to keep track of his every move. Some of his most recent moves include "underperform" calls on USANA Health Sciences (Nasdaq: USNA  ) , Lehman Brothers (NYSE: LEH  ) , and Centex (NYSE: CTX  ) .

TDRH, who has more than 1,100 groupies, has added "outperform" calls on Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) , Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC  ) and Whole Foods (Nasdaq: WFMI  ) in the last month.

Earlier in May, dwot made her eighth consecutive "underperform" call on Freddie Mac (NYSE: FRE  ) , a stock where she has yet to make an incorrect call.

One of the advantages of following top CAPS investors rather than Wall Street pros is that they're accessible to you daily through blog posts on their pages and pitches on their stocks. In contrast, we might hear from professional investors only once every quarter, or even just once a year, through quarterly or annual reports to shareholders.

Moreover, CAPS players don't communicate in Wall Street-speak. They're regular investors just like you and me, and they avoid esoteric phrases like "Stochastic Cross" or "Parabolic SAR." (I wouldn't know a parabolic SAR if it came up and bit me.)

If you'd like to read more about CAPS and its top players, or just want to check out what the community thinks about the stocks you own, click here to sign up for CAPS. It's 100% free, and hey, if you're good enough, it just might make you famous.

Bank of America is an Income Investor pick. Whole Foods Market is a Stock Advisor recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Todd Wenning is rated No. 794 on CAPS, but still has a long way to go to reach the Top Fool spot. He does not own shares of any company mentioned. The Fool's disclosure policy is the seventh member of the '80s band Toto. It plays the xylophone.

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