As an investor, it doesn't pay to follow the crowd.

In this series, though, we highlight a possible exception -- the collective wisdom of our CAPS community. Read the next section if you're unfamiliar with our methodology. Skip it if you want to go straight to the results.

Why this crowd is different
Jumping into a stock because your rich neighbor did, or because you heard about it from your friend's uncle who used to work on Wall Street, or because CNBC has been talking about it nonstop is a recipe for disaster.

If there's one thing I've learned as a stock analyst, it's that any stock can be gussied up to sound like a world-beater. If there's a second thing I've learned, it's that being a smart person doesn't make you a good investor.

In the hands of a smart person with good communication skills, the never-were and never-will-be stocks sound like tickets to instant fortune. The ancient Greek philosophers made the distinction between rhetoric and knowledge. The former is convincing; the latter is true.

That's why we factor in track record in our Motley Fool CAPS community. We invite everyone to give stocks an outperform (akin to a "buy" call) or underperform rating (akin to a "sell" call) in CAPS. We then use those opinions to calculate a rating for each stock -- from one to five stars (five being the best). But -- and this is a big distinction -- we give more weight to the opinions of folks whose picks have performed well in the past.

The top nine metals and mining high yielders
So, with that methodology as prelude, I present to you the nine four- and five-star-rated metals and mining stocks that yield 3% of more in order of the most outperform ratings by CAPS members. I used a minimum market capitalization of $100 million and the proviso that the stock must be listed on a major U.S. exchange. Remember, stocks are rated on a five-star scale by our CAPS community, so four- and five-star stocks are consensus outperforms.

Company Name

 Market Capitalization (in Millions)

P/E Ratio

Dividend Yield

CAPS Rating
 (out of 5)

Outperform Picks

Southern Copper (NYSE: SCCO)

 $25,424

18.6

4.9%

****

 3,992

Nucor (NYSE: NUE)

 $11,568

78.0

3.9%

****

 1,969

Companhia Siderurgica Nacional (NYSE: SID)

 $23,244

17.9

7.6%

****

 860

Alliance Resource Partners LP (Nasdaq: ARLP)

 $1,989

13.2

6.0%

*****

 542

Commercial Metals (NYSE: CMC)

 $1,463

NM

3.8%

****

 508

Penn Virginia Resource Partners, L.P. (NYSE: PVR)

 $1,181

21.5

8.3%

****

 298

BHP Billiton PLC

 $155,527

12.2

3.2%

*****

 291

Harsco Corporation (NYSE: HSC)

 $1,623

16.9

4.1%

****

 277

Alliance Holdings GP, L.P.

 $2,293

16.7

5.0%

*****

 216

Source: Motley Fool CAPS. NM= not meaningful.

Only nine metals and mining companies met each of the criteria. A copper player and a steel player are the most popular here. More CAPS members think Southern Copper is an outperform than any other high-yielding metals and mining stock. In addition, my Foolish colleague Jennifer Schonberger recently noted it in a screen for strong balance sheets. Which is your favorite? Make your thoughts known in CAPS by clicking here. Or just go there to do further research on one of these stocks.

Anand Chokkavelu doesn't own shares of any company mentioned. Nucor is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Alliance Resource Partners LP is a Motley Fool Income Investor pick. The Fool has a disclosure policy.