The Best Stocks Right Now

Back in January, we named the 10 highest-rated stocks according to investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's investing community.

Six months later, those 10 stocks have trumped the market, averaging 11.3% gains vs. 7.9% gains for the S&P 500. Leading the original pack is Precision Castparts (NYSE: PCP  ) , which is up 54.5% since mid-January; energy company Unit Corp. is up 36%. In fact, only two of January's top 10 haven't made money for investors.

So, it may well pay to glean some stock ideas from this monthly list, fueled by stock picks from more than 60,000 investors participating in CAPS.

This month's list has seven new faces, while Canadian Natural Resources (NYSE: CNQ  ) , Mueller Water, and Chicago Bridge & Iron (NYSE: CBI  ) remained in high regard with CAPS investors.

Company

Market Cap (in millions)

Canadian Natural Resources

$35,900

Mueller Water

$1,880

Superior Energy (NYSE:SPN)

$3,280

Chicago Bridge & Iron

$3,980

Norsk Hydro

$50,000

Grant Prideco (NYSE:GRP)

$7,030

Parker Drilling (NYSE:PKD)

$1,300

Net Servicos de Comunicacao

$523

Amerisafe

$394

American Software

$284

Data provided by Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's.

Black gold, Texas tea
With oil prices up significantly since January, it doesn't come as a real shock that six of the top 10 stocks on this month's list have their hands in the oil industry.

We've already talked about Chicago Bridge & Iron, so let's get acquainted with this month's new No. 1, independent oil and gas concern, Canadian Natural Resources.

Hailing from -- you guessed it -- Canada, Canadian Natural Resources competes with other large Canadian energy firms like Petro-Canada and Suncor Energy (NYSE: SU  ) . But when you put these three head to head, Canadian Natural Resources sports higher operating margins and five-year revenue growth. One of the interesting developments for the company in 2006 was that its West Africa operations nearly doubled revenue production and operating profits.

Over on CAPS, fully 98% of the 463 investors who have rated Canadian Natural Resources are bullish on its prospects, including CAPS investor charlesskang, who had this to say about the company:

"Experienced, capable management in all aspects of business -- finding, developing, and operating. Strong balance sheet. Great assets with long lives in 'safe' jurisdictions. Watch for continuing growth in free cash flow."

What do you think about Canadian Natural Resources? Or any stock for that matter? Make your voice heard over on Motley Fool CAPS. Participation in CAPS is 100% free and quite a bit of fun. Get started by clicking here.

Mueller Water is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems selection. A free 30-day trial to the service is yours -- just click here to get started.

Unit Corp. is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick.

Todd Wenning is currently ranked 506 of more than 60,000 CAPS players. Norsk Hydro is a Motley Fool Income Investor selection. The Fool's disclosure policy has been to Newark, Hackensack, three meetings back to back.


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