I'll be writing a series of short articles to share with my fellow Fools all the tips and tricks I've yet discovered for getting the maximum profit, learning, and fun from our Motley Fool CAPS investment service. I consider each a "play" in the CAPS Playbook we're building for you. Make sense? Ready to join in? Let's begin.

The most obvious way to begin to crack the CAPS nut for juicy goodness is by rating your first seven stocks. Doing so gets you your own CAPS rating. And by earning a rating and building a scorecard of your own unique views -- your stock market likes and dislikes -- you enable CAPS to send you personalized stock ideas.

Here's how you get them:

  1. Rate 7 stocks to get your own CAPS rating.
  2. On the following Monday, you'll receive your first "Stock of the Day."
  3. Go to your CAPS page and scroll down below your Buzzbox to the lavender-colored "Rate More Stocks!" box. Just to the right, you'll find your first-ever "Stock of the Day."
  4. Check the same spot every day. Your calendar fills up with one personalized pick per day each week, then empties to start the next week.

So what can you expect from your Stock of the Day? Each is a four- or five-star stock on CAPS -- a pick that the CAPS community believes will beat the stock market over the next year. We're offering no guarantee, of course. Every investor needs to recognize that even the best of us only get things right about 7 times out of 10. But every day, you'll receive a new idea that our best minds think is a winner.

Better yet, your Stock of the Day is not just some random selection, nor a one-size-fits-all pick broadcast to every CAPS player. Our complex algorithm uses a number of factors to locate a distinct stock idea just for you each day. Some of these factors include the stocks and sectors you already favor, the picks made by other CAPS investors similar to you, the stocks chosen by our highest-rated CAPS investors, recent bullish activity in our high-rated stocks, and much more.

Even though I know the algorithm, I still can't predict what stocks I get for my Stock of the Day each day. Talk about a motley mix: Here's a look at what I got this week (April 9-13, 2007), for instance....

  • Monday: Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS)
    Maybe the world's greatest investment bank.
  • Tuesday: CarMax (NYSE:KMX)
    Taking the big-box retail approach to the sale of used cars.
  • Wednesday: Diana Shipping (NYSE:DSX)
    This Athens, Greece-based dry bulk shipper is up 15% so far this year.
  • Thursday: Companhia de Bebidas Das Americas (AMBEV) (NYSE:ABV)
    The king of the Brazilian beer market.
  • Friday: Coventry Health Care (NYSE:CVH)
    A market-beating managed-health-care mid cap ... and profitable four-time Tom Gardner recommendation in Motley Fool Stock Advisor. (Talk about "knowing me" -- it's sending me my brother's own stock picks!)

Stock of the Day may be my favorite CAPS feature. It's always fresh, always new, and always something to think about. Whether you choose any of these stocks for your own CAPS scorecard or not is your choice. I've added several, and even given one a thumbs-down as an "Underperform." CAPS really flexes its muscles with this feature, providing you with potentially profitable ideas. It gives you (and only you) your own mix of stocks to think about, which helps to make you a more astute investor and observer of the market.

One final power-user tip: If you're as addicted to this feature as I am, you may appreciate knowing that each of your Stocks of the Day actually gets filled out on your My CAPS page at midnight ET. If you're so inclined, you can start doing your new due diligence along with the coyotes, the barn owls -- and me!

To sign up for CAPS, entirely free, click here.

Fool on!

Make seven picks on CAPS by April 24, and we'll send you a free copy of The Motley Fool Five Star Report.

Fool co-founder David Gardner does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned. The Fool has a disclosure policy.