He who has the gold makes the rules -- or so say the cynics who view the sweetheart deals that JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) has managed to arrange for itself. It's been one of several banks that got a kingly share of the gold the U.S. Treasury handed out as part of the $700 billion bailout bill.

Company

TARP Funds Received

JPMorgan Chase

$25 billion

Citigroup (NYSE:C)

$25 billion

Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC)

$25 billion

Bank of America (NYSE:BAC)

$15 billion

Source: CNN.com.

Critics charge that despite requesting such funds to ostensibly spur consumer lending, the recipients have been cagey about disclosing exactly what it is they're doing with the money. According to the Associated Press, none of the 21 banks it contacted that received $1 billion or more from TARP, including JPMorgan, would specifically account for how it was disbursing its share of the funds. So much for the transparency that was supposed to go hand-in-hand with the handouts!

Yet CAPS member ShockOfRed still likes JPMorgan as an investment, because as a "Golden Child" of the financial system, it gets to live by the Golden Rule mentioned above:

Like it or not ( I actually prefer the not ) this company is the Golden Child. The Golden Children live by the Golden Rule.

Unfortunantely, credit will not ease for new construction anytime soon. This company holds countless numbers of forclosed homes. There WILL NOT be a "forclosure market" because when the banks slowly sell these properties over the next two years, there will be very little new construction to compete with. ... Not only will they profit from this, but they have already received at least $25B from us taxpayers to keep going and there is more of that coming soon. We get a taste of low interest rates now and when we get addicted and think its safe to wade back in, they will be higher because there WILL BE a demand by then.

What's hot, what's not
JPMorgan Chase is just one of several stocks drawing more investor interest lately, as measured by Google's search activity. Below are a few more hot stocks we've found by watching the giant's search trends, which we then pair up with ratings from the Motley Fool CAPS community. Over the first 20 months of tracking the collective intelligence, the data showed that newly minted five-star stocks, sporting CAPS' highest rating, offer the best opportunities for investors, while the lowest-rated companies fared the worst.

By adding in some performance measures for the past year, we can get a handle on how they're expected to do in the future. Here are a few topping the search engine's rankings:

Stock

CAPS Rating

Return on Capital, Last 12 months

Long-Term Growth Est.

Home Depot (NYSE:HD)

**

12.4%

9.8%

JPMorgan Chase

**

5.5%*

9.7%

MGM Mirage (NYSE:MGM)

**

4.0%

15.5%

UBS

*

(52.3%)*

12.0%

United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS)

***

19.1%

11.7%

Sources: Google Finance; Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's; and CAPS.
*Return on equity.

Soul-searching
It may seem like a gamble to bet on which financial stock will be the next to implode, but when it comes to getting odds at the gaming tables, MGM Mirage has been throwing snake eyes. Travel to destination cities like Las Vegas is on the decline, and with revenue per available room falling, some investors expect the casinos there to start cashing in their chips.

Top-rated CAPS All-Star jgseattle believes that MGM will suffer, as the city's economic slowdown collides with the huge costs the company must still pay:

Currently MGM is has enough cashflow to cover the debt payment. I think this will change as the credit issues start to hit the consumer. How important is the trip to [Las Vegas] when you need to pay for food? ... Finally, MGM has large fixed costs so when the slowdown hits they cannot lay off employees and downsize quickly. You have to have maids, dealers, maintenance, and all the support to keep the casino open. Yes they can reduce some but I do not feel it will be a material amount so the cashflow I spoke about will not last as revenues drop.

Seek and ye shall find
It takes more than a brief glimpse and a few searches to make buy or sell decisions. Start your own research on these stocks on Motley Fool CAPS, where your opinion can still save the day. While there, you can read a company's financial reports, scrutinize key data and charts, and examine the comments your fellow investors have made, all from a stock's CAPS page. 

On Jan. 12, 2009, Fool co-founder David Gardner, Jeff Fischer, and their Motley Fool Pro team will accept new subscribers to their real-money portfolio service. Motley Fool Pro is investing $1 million of the Fool’s own money in long and short positions in a range of securities, including common stocks, put and call options, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). They also incorporate proprietary CAPS "community intelligence" data into their research. To learn more about Motley Fool Pro and to receive a private invitation to join, simply enter your email address in the box below.

United Parcel Service, JPMorgan Chase, and Bank of America are Motley Fool Income Investor selections. The Home Depot is an Inside Value pick.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey has no financial position in any of the stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings holdings. The Motley Fool's millionaire Britney Spears Grey's Anatomy disclosure policy would never, ever attempt to boost its Angelina Jolie Brad Pitt online search rankings through questionable means.