One of the hardest things about investing is discovering new and worthwhile ideas. Finding answers to questions like "What company is poised for sustained growth?" and "Which stock can reduce my risk exposure?" are hard to procure from a slapdash search on Yahoo! Finance.

Instead of mining stocks treading near their 52-week lows, allow me to introduce an alternative method: Motley Fool CAPS, a community intelligence database (still in beta testing) in which investors pool their expertise to discover the best stocks on the market. CAPS investors simply rate a stock based on their view that it will outperform or underperform the S&P 500 over a specified time, and they also have the option of adding a pitch supporting their investment thesis.

Your friendly neighborhood investors
A good starting point on CAPS is to check out the Top Ten lists to review categories such as "High-Rated Stocks," "Disappointing Five-Star Stocks," and "Worst Wall Street Players."

Consider these five stocks of 272 that CAPS investors have rated as "Five-Star":



1-Year Return*

Montpelier Re (NYSE:MRH)



Toyota Motor

Auto Manufacturer


Smith Micro Software

Application Software


Rofin-Sinar Technologies (NASDAQ:RSTI)

Scientific Instruments


Pool Corporation (NASDAQ:POOL)

Consumer Goods


*Source: Motley Fool CAPS as of Oct. 3, 2006.

Now, just because a company is rated "Five-Star," that doesn't necessarily make it a buy. However, a list like this may provide you with some companies worthy of further research -- you know, the boring but necessary quantitative stuff.

Get in the game
So if you're looking for new stock ideas, give CAPS a try. It's a free service, and it can get you one step closer to your next great stock pick. Why not start your CAPS experience right now?

Todd Wenning does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned. You can check out his CAPS pagefor yourself. Montpelier Re and Yahoo! areStock Advisorchoices. The Fool's disclosure policy puts Hammurabi's Code to shame.