Keeping your portfolio above water in these markets is no easy task. Companies can be too easily whipsawed by the whimsical musings of the Treasury Department or the Fed, making investors who've successfully navigated these rough waters rare indeed. A steady track record of staying afloat is even more impressive.

The All-Stars in our Motley Fool CAPS investor intelligence database have found themselves particularly adroit at consistently steering their picks through these turbulent markets. Like some of the top professionals who view this as the best time in 35 years to invest in stocks. Let's look at some of the recent picks of this community's longtime investing mavens. If these All-Stars have been able to maintain their top status through bull and bear markets alike, their opinions on stocks for the months and years ahead might be worth watching.

CAPS Member

Member Rating

Member Since

Recent Stock Pick

CAPS Rating (5 stars max.)

Call

HooDaHeckNose

99.59

9/11/06

AutoZone (NYSE:AZO)

*

Underperform

kcanant

99.57

8/18/06

Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK)

*****

Outperform

sandvig

99.56

8/24/06

Eastman Kodak (NYSE:EK)

*

Underperform

CharlieGlass

99.55

9/6/06

Honda Motor (NYSE:HMC)

****

Outperform

volumewhiz

99.52

10/3/06

Genco Shipping & Trading (NYSE:GNK)

****

Outperform

Rowing against the current
Since falling 97% from its highs last year, the Baltic Dry Index is slowly creeping back up again, and that means shippers' fears of being able to stay afloat will ease. The index measures the general shipping costs for commodities. As oil prices fell and commodities broke, shippers such as Genco Shipping & Trading and Navios Maritime got caught by the rogue wave that sunk some of the firms leasing their ships. While DryShips (NASDAQ:DRYS) breached its debt covenants before renegotiating with lenders, Genco was able to forestall that possibility by tackling debt negotiations ahead of time.

DryShips may have since sailed into calmer waters, and a just-announced contract with Petrobras (NYSE:PBR) for a deepwater rig, at dayrates exceeding what even the company thought it would get, suggests the tide may have turned for the shipping industry in general. Good news, really, since some in the industry have started hearing from clients trying to get better prices on existing contracts. Diana Shipping recently said it had fielded calls from charter counterparties seeking to renegotiate rates, as did Excel Maritime, but Genco quickly announced that they did not suffer that same ignominy.

With the dry bulk index on the rise, competitors getting good rates on rigs, and clients not hitting it up for better pricing, Genco Shipping may have ridden out this particular storm in very good shape. Excluding several one-time charges from its recent earnings report, Genco posted profits of $48.4 million, or $1.55 a share, in line with what analysts had expected.

Investors are now looking for the shipping lanes to open up bigger profits. CAPS member gkratoc1, for example, thinks the eventual upturn in the economy will boost Genco's price, particularly since it now trades at such depressed valuations:

As the recession runs out of gas and the economy starts gearing up for the next boom cycle, this company is positioned better than many to profit from it. Genco is a drybulk shipping company that is currently trading at a P/E of 4. They have beaten earnings estimates in 5 of the last 8 quarters and never lost profitability like many other companies in this bear market. Genco has also been unfairly punished as dry bulk shipping rates reached multi-year lows in December and January after the price of oil collapsed off 2008 summer prices. 

Already this year, we've seen dry bulk rates nearly double which says positive things for Genco's cashflow if this trend keeps up, and they've already entered agreements committing most shipping routes for their 32 vessel fleet for the remainder of the year and into 2010. Currently trading for about half their book value, I find this company an incredible buying opportunity and well-positioned to take advantage of the recovery as international trade picks up and the movement of raw materials gets back to normal.

Ahoy there!
Whether you've been in the markets for years or are new to them, it pays to start your own research on these stocks on Motley Fool CAPS. 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. Then share your views with the CAPS community on whether these old salts have the wind in their sails.

Duke Energy and Petroleo Brasileiro are Motley Fool Income Investor recommendations. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey does not have a financial position in any of the stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings here. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.