"The bigger they are, the harder they fall. It's the worst nightmare of every investor in today's market -- buying a hot stock just before it takes a nosedive."

So goes the thesis of my weekly Fool.com column "Get Ready for the Fall." Therein, I run the 52-week highs compiled on Nasdaq.com through the "wisdom of crowds" meter that we call Motley Fool CAPS. And out the other end comes a list of stocks that have flown so high, investors are starting to get nervous about this "gravity thing."

But it's an undeniable -- and often glorious -- fact of investing life that some stocks seem immune to gravity. Rising for one year, they fail to fall back to Earth. Instead, they soar for a second year, and then a third. By year four, you're beginning to wonder whether you've stumbled upon a megatrend, and by year five, you're certain of it.

And so it is that today we're going to take our next logical step. Moving on from stocks that have hit 52-week highs, we'll identify for you the companies that are entering their second half-decade of outperformance. Which of these will go on to thrash the market averages for another five years? Here are this week's leading contenders:


Price, 5/15/08

CAPS Rating (5 Max):

Bull Factor

Petroleo Brasileiro  (NYSE:PBR)



98% bullish

ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP)




Chevron (NYSE:CVX)




Total (NYSE:TOT)




Suncor Energy (NYSE:SU)




Companies are selected from the "New 5-Year Highs" list published on MSN Money on Thursday. CAPS ratings from Motley Fool CAPS.

Everybody loves a winner
Spotting a megatrend in the making is tricky, but once the trend's become firmly established, it's a piece of cake. Need a hint? Every stock in the list above scores five stars on CAPS -- our highest rating. I'd say investors are pretty convinced that high oil prices are here to stay and that investors are safe making camp in the oil patch for the foreseeable future.

But with only so much money to invest, how do you pick among five stocks with five-star ratings? I humbly submit that the stock enjoying the most support among investors is your best bet, and out of this field of five, that stock would be Brazilian petrol prince and Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation Petroleo Brasileiro. Here's why investors love it:

The bull case for Petroleo Brasileiro

  • In the midst of a booming oil market, JPC2020 calls Petrobras "perhaps the best growth play among the major oil stocks for the next 10-15 years." Our CAPS player adds: "Their reserves profile just keeps getting better & better and they've slowly but ever-so-surely obtained the know-how to efficiently exploit these resources. I recognize the stock has had a good run over the past year, but I still see it as a bit of 'sleeping giant'."
  • What makes Petrobras "the best"? If you ask CAPS All-Star CrossingtheT the relative term "best" can be boiled down to a single objective number: "Looks to me that this is the major with the most reserves. This is a long term buy."
  • Sounding a cautionary note, dietvanillacoke admits to being "wary of investing in any state run companies since they tend to be run inefficiently, but this seems to be a safe play. Plus, they've locked up almost all the deep water rigs for the next few years; if oil prices stay high and the rigs output is successful, PBR should have a competitive advantage."

Going back to CrossingtheT's objective metric, we see that Petrobras boasted more than 15 billion barrels of proven reserves at the end of last year, before its latest find was announced. That was already nearly twice the oil that ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) has in its pantry, and nearly three times BP's (NYSE:BP) oil reserves. At today's price, Petrobras is being valued at $20 per barrel of (admittedly not yet extracted or shipped) oil, and with oil fetching $120 and up on the open market -- well, you do the math.

Time to chime in
Of course, the aim of this column isn't just to tell you what I think about Petroleo Brasileiro -- or even what other CAPS players are saying. We want to hear your thoughts. Head on over to Motley Fool CAPS, and tell us what you think.

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