"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 with 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 more than 25,000 stock gurus (and counting) have to say about them?

One Year Ago Today

Currently Fetching

CAPS Rating

Harsco (NYSE:HSC)








ITT Educational




Stericycle (NASDAQ:SRCL)








Liberty Media Capital








*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.

Love is all around
They say everybody loves a winner, and that holds true once again for today's list. With a single exception, every stock you see above is rated average or better by our CAPS investors. Boring.

We're here to stir up some controversy, and perhaps inspire a bit of informed discussion over on CAPS, people. So leaving the lovefest behind, let's focus on the one stock that Wall Street appears to love but that CAPS investors hate: data-center operator Equinix.

The bear case on Equinix
Readers who caught our Naughty and Nice in 2006 series of articles last December will already be familiar with this one. Fellow Fool Steve Ellis outlined a series of criticisms on Equinix, ranging from lack of profits, to questionable cash flow, to the risk of losing customers. Over on CAPS, he summed up the bear thesis thusly: "The majority of the operating cash flow is coming from stock options, and if the stock ever drops, say goodbye to positive cash flow. With more than 500M in accumulated losses, and a 2B market cap or roughly 7-8 times sales, this strikes me as a solid underperform."

Nor is Steve alone in doubting the company. Fellow all-star dmbeach cites: "No earnings, no identifiable sustainable competitive advantage, and it seems to be making some big expansionary investments (financed by debt, since it doesn't have any earnings) just at a time when the economy is moving into a "soft patch," if not a recession, concluding "I'm calling irrational exuberance on this one." Rounding out the skepticism, yet another of our all-star players, kwphysics, isn't terribly impressed with the "strong insider selling."

Mix all of this together with a stock that's risen more than 50% in the last 12 months, and some of the smartest Fools around think Equinix has nowhere to go but down. Are they right? Are they wrong? If you've got an opinion on the stock, here's your chance to share it with the world. Click on over to CAPS and drop your $0.02 in the collections box (just a figure of speech. Playing CAPS is, of course, absolutely free.)

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 60 out of 25,000-plus investors. The Fool has a disclosure policy.