Great Call on Intuitive Surgical! What's Next?

I'm not sure which sounds more unbelievable, robotic surgeons, or the Dow jumping more than 11% in a single day.

Actually, both can be penned in the "fact" column. On Monday, the Dow leapt more than 900 points on ...

Oh, who am I kidding? Nobody has any idea why the markets do what they do these days. Meanwhile, Rule Breakers favorite Intuitive Surgical (Nasdaq: ISRG  ) does, in fact, make robotic surgeons.

Not only does Intuitive Surgical do something that's unquestionably cool, but it manages to be shockingly profitable while it does it. For the quarter ending in June, the company put up just about $220 million in revenue (up 56% from the prior year), and more than 23% of that revenue turned into profit for the shareholders.

Intuitive Surgical's four-star rating on CAPS reflects this stellar business, moderated somewhat by a relatively high valuation (depending on whom you ask). Of all the 3,000-plus CAPS members who have weighed in on the stock, though, none seem to have read it as well as UTsprdv. UTsprdv has made two correct bullish calls on Intuitive's stock and earned a sweet 281 points for his troubles.

Since mid-summer, UTsprdv has hit a rocky spot and currently ranks in the bottom 20% of all CAPS players. However, along the way, he has made some pretty stellar calls in addition to Intuitive Surgical. Let's take a look at a few of them:

Company

Date Picked

Call

Points

CAPS Rating

The Mosaic Company (NYSE: MOS  )

4/16/07

Outperform

217

***

aQuantive

4/16/07

Outperform

112

(acquired by Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) )

Wabtec (NYSE: WAB  )

4/1/08

Outperform

68

*****

Data from CAPS.

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

Company

Date Picked

Call

CAPS Rating

U.S. Steel (NYSE: X  )

6/25/08

Outperform

***

MasterCard (NYSE: MA  )

6/25/08

Outperform

***

Nucor (NYSE: NUE  )

6/25/08

Outperform

*****

Data from CAPS.

While not all of these picks may pan out, they could be a good place to start some further research. I decided to take a closer look at Nucor.

What do investors see in Nucor anyway?
Let's go ahead and hit the obvious first. Over the past few years, we've seen a huge commodity boom. Oil and food prices have gotten the most coverage because they've been pilfering consumers' bank accounts, but a wide variety of other commodities from copper to molybdenum have seen major increases over this same stretch.

This has also been a great time to be selling steel -- just ask Nucor. For its 2003 fiscal year, Nucor posted $0.20 in profit per share. In the 12 months ending in June of this year, the company churned out $5.91 per share. Now it’s not that I'm too lazy to calculate the percentage change over the past five years, it's just that I find that percentages with a comma in them look like gibberish when you put them in writing. Let's just say that Montgomery Burns would drool over the kind of coin that Nucor has raked in over the past few years.

On CAPS, there are 23 Nucor bulls for every bear, and the stock carries a top-of-the-heap five-star rating. Gunnymarine saw a good opportunity to jump at the stock earlier this month:

Everything is getting slammed right now. This is a great company with good fundamentals and continued growth. Maintains a superb dividend yield. Nucor is a buy below $50, its 40 percent below that. If you have the stomach and can ride this out for a while, nucor is a good buy. 

So what's your take on Nucor? Will it be able to continue its strong performance over the past few years, or is there weakness ahead? Get in the action by clicking over to CAPS. CAPS is absolutely free and already has more than 115,000 stock pickers chipping in to find the best stocks out there.

More CAPS Foolishness:

In the coming weeks, Fool co-founder David Gardner and his Motley Fool Pro team will invest $1 million in a portfolio designed to help you make money in any market. The service, which just launched, will rely heavily on proprietary CAPS “community intelligence” data to establish long and short positions in a broad range of securities, including common stocks, publicly traded put and call options, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). To learn more about Motley Fool Pro and to receive a private invitation to join, simply enter your email address in the box below.

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Intuitive Surgical is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. The Fool’s disclosure policy wants to invest in the government's massive hedge fund.


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