Expectations are everything in investing. If deciphering a company's future moves were as simple as looking at historical performance, we'd all be experts at equity analysis. We'd know exactly what every company is going to do in the future and calculate the exact returns we could expect. In that scenario, we'd also lose all excess returns; without the risk of the unknown, stocks would look a whole heck of a lot like another basically riskless investment vehicle -- U.S. treasuries. How much fun would that be?

But that's not the case -- not even close. We don't even have perfect information about the past, let alone any guarantee that we could use the past to predict the future for stocks. As we all know, "historical results may not be indicative of future performance." So we look at historical results, along with a host of other things, and make estimates for what we think might happen in the future to the economy, the company's industry, and the company itself. And sometimes we're oh-so-wrong.

But what happens when a stock defies not only the set of expectations that we (individually) have come up with, but those that we (the collective) have come up with? Much of the time, it's just investors getting a bit excited, either overselling a stock or pushing it way up without the quality of the stock really changing. Sometimes, though, a fundamental change at the company makes the stock actually worth more -- that, or everyone was just wrong to begin with. So with that in mind, I've dug up seven stocks that had been rated just one star in our Motley Fool CAPS investing community, but have had a really nice 30-day run.

Here are this week's scorching seven, as identified by your fellow Fools on CAPS. Each of the companies below had been given a one-star rating (the lowest) by our community of investors just 30 days ago:


30-day return

One-year return

Escala Group (NASDAQ:ESCL)



Systemax (NYSE:SYX)



Syntroleum (NASDAQ:SYNM)



Jo-Ann Stores (NYSE:JAS)



Empire Resorts (NASDAQ:NYNY)



Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods (NYSE:WBD)



Royal Gold (NASDAQ:RGLD)



Data provided from Motley Fool CAPS as of Dec. 20.

CAPS members held fast on six of these seven, and they remained lowly one-star stocks. For one lucky stock of this group, though -- Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods -- sentiment ticked slightly upward and it now sport two stars.

Now that's one happy milkman
In case you're not familiar with the company and are wondering about the name, Wimm-Bill-Dann was chosen as the name for this Russia-based company "to attract consumers who preferred products with foreign-sounding names due to perceived higher quality and novelty." So far, the ploy has worked, and the brand name has become very well-recognized in Russian households.

After being founded in 1992 primarily as a juice company, Wimm-Bill-Dann went on a fierce acquisition binge. Starting in 1995, the company acquired factory on top of factory, primarily in the dairy industry, but also a few properties involved in baby food and mineral water. And while these products may be taken for granted by many Americans, "exotic" juices like orange juice and many types of dairy products are just now really taking off in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the nation's recovery after the 1998 financial crisis.

Though growth has been good for Wimm-Bill-Dann, the company has really turned up the volume this year. For the recently announced third quarter, sales grew 28%, and net income was up 44%. Both the dairy and baby food segments posted strong gains, but it expanding gross margins and falling financial expenses were the greatest drivers of increased profitability. For the nine months to date, results have been similarly impressive -- sales up 22%, and net income up 205%.

Is a Russian diary company worth 34 times 2006 EPS estimates? Its current two stars suggest that CAPS players remain skeptical. However, six CAPS All-Stars and a highly ranked investment bank seem to think that Wimm-Bill-Dann still has legs.

It might not yet be time to cut the chit-chat and buy some of this bovine beauty, but at the very least, Wimm-Bill-Dann -- if not some of its fellow one-star wonders -- is an excellent candidates for further due diligence. In the meantime, get in the game and get yourself heard in the CAPS community. You'll also be able to read timely analysis from our community, and perhaps offer your own pitch for one of these stocks. CAPS is entirely free. And unlike the Civic I drive around, it's definitely a place where "the more the merrier" is actually true.

Eager for more surprises?

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Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer didn't see these particular moves coming, but he's rarely surprised at Mr. Market's general tomfoolery. He does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. The Fool's disclosure policy is always expected.