No one has perfect foresight, but let's be honest: The market is full of people who, as Oscar Wilde would say, know "the price of everything and the value of nothing." Far too often -- over the past year especially -- investors have been pitched sensational stock recommendations, only to be left high and dry as shares crumble.

To hunt down top-recommended stocks that have been rewarding investors accordingly, I summoned our Motley Fool CAPS community to point out a few four- or five-star stocks that have been shootin' for the moon in recent months.

While they're not formal buy recommendations, these three-month bloomers caught my attention:


13-Week Price Change

Recent Share Price

Forward P/E Ratio

CAPS Rating  
(Out of 5)










Kraft (NYSE:KFT)





Morningstar (NASDAQ:MORN)





Walter Energy (NYSE:WLT)





Data from Motley Fool CAPS and Yahoo! Finance as of July 16. Price change between April 17, 2009 and July 15, 2009.

You can rerun the CAPS screen I used, or customize your own by clicking here.

A closer look at Kraft
NYU economist Nouriel Roubini declared yesterday that the worst of the recession might be behind us. People cheered. Stocks surged. White doves were released. I may have heard celebratory gunfire. It's a promising sign, no doubt about it.

But don't get complacent. The fact that the worst is behind us doesn't mean what's ahead will be much fun. Economic growth could languish, and consumer spending could flatline -- not for a few months, but a few years.

Part of dealing with this "new normal" is focusing on companies that people can't live without. Nondiscretionary industries probably won't rebound like they have in the past. A sluggish recovery won't be nearly as kind to companies like Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) and Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS) as it will those like Kraft Foods.

What Kraft has going for it is simple: People eat in good times and bad. It's pretty low on the list of things to give up (I hope).

Now, investors have been suspicious over fears that premium-branded foods -- such as Kraft's Oreos and DiGiorno pizza -- would be left for dead as frugal consumers chased cheaper, store-brand items. But Kraft management knows this, and it went on a marketing blitz to tout the frugality of its products. It also cut poorly performing brands to focus more on high-margin products. That's the kind of adaptation survivors make.

Besides, thrifty consumer behavior can actually be quite good for this company. Cutting back means fewer meals out, which means more meals at home, hopefully with Kraft products. Less lobster, more Velveeta. Less steak, more mac 'n cheese. As CAPS member MarkBDow wrote a few months ago:

Everybody eats, and Kraft keeps producing foods that everyone stocks their shelves with. As people experience financial difficulty and can afford to eat out less frequently, Kraft will perform even better.

On the valuation side, it's hard to miss the 4.2% dividend. That's really the big allure here. Don't expect blowout returns -- you won't get 'em. Kraft is a great company if the past year made you queasy and you're looking for stable, steady, long-term results. Here's how CAPS member bubbasuth put it back in May:

This is not primarily a growth stock, but a stable dividend generator with a solid market presence that can give them economies of scale other competitors don't enjoy. Trading at what I would consider properly priced it should be a solid performer over the long haul.

Your turn to chime in                                                       
Have your own take on Kraft? More than 135,000 investors use CAPS to share ideas and swap opinions. Click here to check it out and speak your mind. It's 100% free to participate.

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Fool contributor Morgan Housel doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. Ctrip is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems selection. Best Buy and Morningstar are Stock Advisor selections. Best Buy is also an Inside Value recommendation. The Fool owns shares of Best Buy and Morningstar, and has a disclosure policy.