"The bigger they are, the harder they fall." This old saying sums up the worst nightmare of every homeowner, every gold buyer, and every investor in today's market. Dare ye buy at the top?

Every day, MSN Money publishes a list of the market's top stocks -- the companies whose shares have just hit their highest intraday price of any time in the past 52 weeks. Every day, investors read this list and tremble -- some with greed (big mo', baby!), and others in pure, unmitigated, acrophobic terror (whatever you do, don't look down).

Over on Motley Fool CAPS, thousands of investors just like you are watching these same companies and voting their gut on whether they'll keep rising or stumble and fall. Usually, the ratings wax optimistic as stocks hit new highs -- because everyone loves a winner. But what do you make of it when some of the smartest investors out there are panning a hot stock?

You could heed them. You could ignore them. You could take the stock tickers and construct anagrams from 'em. For my money, though, the best course of action is to use the "52-week highs" list as just a starting point for further research. Stocks can go up for many reasons, after all, and it's up to you to decide how worthy those reasons are. But thanks to Motley Fool CAPS, now you don't have to make the decision alone.

With that said, let's meet today's list of contenders, drawn from the latest "52-week highs" list at MSN Money. What does our panel of 17,000 stock gurus (and counting) have to say about them?

One year ago today

Currently fetching

CAPS rating

Toyota Motor









China Life





Uniao de Bancos Brasileiros





Femsa Fomento (NYSE:FMX)




British Airways (NYSE:BAB)




*Five stars = highest possible CAPS rating; one star = lowest. Companies are selected from the "New 52-Week Highs" list published on MSN Money on the Saturday following close of trading last week. CAPS ratings from Motley Fool CAPS.

Can you feel the love?
In honor of the Fool's new international investing newsletter, Motley Fool Global Gains, I assembled today's list with the specific intent of giving it a bit of international flavor. As you can see, we've got companies from Japan to Germany, China to Brazil, and Great Britain to Mexico. One thing that this disparate diaspora has in common: they're all hitting their 52-week highs. And one other: For the most part, they're highly rated by the CAPS community (because hey, who doesn't love a winner?). But note that I said "for the most part." One of these stocks does not look like the others: one-starred British Airways.

Why does CAPS hate "the world's favourite airline?" Well, there we have a mystery. You see, 22 CAPS analysts have affixed ratings to BA, including two of our all-stars. But so far, only one brave soul has ventured to tell us why they rate BA as they do:

  • CAPS newcomer marketflavor, who runs against the herd in recommending BA, opines that "with a continued weak dollar I think we will keep seeing run up in British Airways."

So far, that's it. Clicking through the profile, I see that this a theme with marketflavor, who also favors such equities as the Templeton Russia & East European Fund (NYSE:TRF), arguing that "Russia is a hot play right now. They are being admitted to WTO which is going to be huge! They are also the 2nd largest oil producer in the world." Ochen interesno, my globetrotting Fool.

Now it's your turn. Does British Air deserve its bum rap, or is marketflavor right on the money? On Motley Fool CAPS, you've got as much right to state your case as any wingtip-wearin' investment banker. So tell us what you think, and may the best argument win.

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. You can find him on CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he's currently ranked 386 out of more than 17,000 raters.