"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. After all, stocks can go up for many reasons, 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 nearly 20,000 stock gurus (and counting) have to say about them?

One year ago today

Currently fetching

CAPS rating

Diamond Hill (NASDAQ:DHIL)




Ambac Financial (NYSE:ABK)




Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS)




AllianceBernstein (NYSE:AB)




Capital Southwest (NASDAQ:CSWC)




*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?
One thing these stocks have in common: They're all hitting their 52-week highs. Perhaps for that reason, they also enjoy high ratings from the CAPS community (because hey, who doesn't love a winner?)

The other thing that jumps out at you from this list: Whether it's AllianceBerstein and BlackRock managing investments, or Capital Southwest raising capital for businesses, each of these firms is riding the broader stock markets' rising tide -- and floating higher than most. And speaking of Capital Southwest, this company is the worst-rated of the six. Considering that the firm just conducted a successful IPO of part of its stake in wheeled footwear-maker Heelys (NASDAQ:HLYS), that seems a little strange. Let's read what CAPS players are saying that has them so down on the high-flyer:

Now let's stop reading -- because there's not a single negative comment on the stock at CAPS. On the contrary:

  • SmartNChic likes the firm's "strong historical performance," and thinks that even "if Heelys falls down to low 20s, stock is worth $150s based on NAV."
  • 194637476 agrees, and finds the Capital Southwest's other portfolio holdings as "Very strong."

Time to chime in
Personally, I wonder if it's a combination of these two factors that has nearly 20% of CAPS investors rating Capital Southwest an underperformer. For one thing, the Heelys trend could indeed turn fad, reducing the value of Capital Southwest's 35% stake in the company. For another, some of the firm's other holdings are considerably less strong -- manufactured homebuilder Palm Harbor (NASDAQ:PHHM), for example.

Still, this Fool can't help wishing more CAPS players would explain exactly what they don't like about the firm. None of the four people who have tagged the firm an underperformer has clearly explained why they did so. Can you? If so, join us on Motley Fool CAPS and state your case.

AllianceBernstein is a Motley Fool Income Investor pick. Discover all of our dynamic dividend-paying selections with a free 30-day trial.

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 30 out of nearly 20,000 players.