Surprises are part of the game when it comes to picking stocks. Sometimes this can mean bad news, like one of your top stocks revealing that management has been backdating options.

Other times, though, the market gets caught off guard by positive surprises from stocks that most investors thought were down for the count. In this situation, investors who stood by the stock often break out into a chorus of "I told you so," as short sellers are forced to figure out just how much pain they can take.

To dig up some of these unloved stocks that have been defying naysayers, I'm turning once again to The Motley Fool's CAPS community. 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

Current CAPS Rating (out of five)

Trina Solar (NYSE:TSL)




Introgen Therapeutics (NASDAQ:INGN)




Uranerz Energy (NYSE:URZ)




Canadian Solar (NASDAQ:CSIQ)








Interoil (AMEX:IOC)




Solarfun Power Holdings (NASDAQ:SOLF)




Data from Motley Fool CAPS as of April 18.

It's important to remember that some of these stocks, particularly the smaller, more volatile ones, could just as easily reverse these big gains over the next 30 days. In some cases, though, the strength could be a sign that the prospects for the company have changed for the better, or that it had been beaten down just a little too far.

So the question with these stocks is: Are they better than CAPS players had thought, or are they just singing that proverbial swan song? The best way to get a feel for where these guys are headed is to dig in and do some research. I thought I'd kick you off with some thoughts on a couple of these stocks.

A not-so-sunny story
It looks to me like we have a very solar edition of "Surprising 1-Star Stocks." Of our group, four stocks -- Trina Solar, Canadian Solar, SunPower, and Solarfun -- are involved in the solar industry. And this isn't the first time we've seen a bunch of solar stocks on this list.

So what's the deal? Do CAPS players just hate solar? To a large extent, the answer is yes. In addition to the four that we have here, Evergreen Solar and First Solar are rated two stars and Hoku Scientific is a lowly one star.

The overriding concern seems to be the future of the industry. Right now, times are good, and some of these solar companies have been growing revenue by 100% -- or, in some cases, a multiple of 100%. But much of the demand right now is being fueled by government incentives to help encourage the use of clean energy alternatives like solar. Critics allege that if these incentives dry up, the massive growth in the solar industry will do likewise.

The above critiques aside, some of the CAPS bears are simply looking for a short-term pullback to make stock prices more reasonable.

  • Ctmedic00 on Trina Solar: "This was up on a nice pump from the underwriter and is coming back to earth. It has cash and can move forward -- I just think there was a bit too much pump ... Since China is home to 16 of the world's 20 most polluted cities and it is heading for a water crisis, anything that improves the potential future for a billion people sound like a good idea. Sure this is a buzzword laden issue -- China and solar -- but I think there is a future here. I'm short for now but I think this has potential to be a thumbs up later on."
  • BaaMan on SunPower: "I don't usually speculate on short term movements, but here goes. This is an awesome company with mucho growth potential and some big accounts. However, it is ahead of itself price-wise. I will pounce on any significant drop in price (15%-20%) and hold for the long term. The price should drop over next two quarters due to massive expenditures to meet future anticipated demands. This will show up in with slowing profits near term, and thus a lower price. A future outperform for me."

And for those who want to lay off the one- and two-star picks, a few solar stocks are sporting higher ratings right now. Rule Breakers pick Suntech Power Holdings and wafer provider MEMC Electronic Materials are both CAPS four-star picks.

So do you think it's time to get more positive on some of these solar stocks? Or are prices just getting further out of hand? Head over to CAPS and let the community know what you think. While you're there, you can start your research on any of the other stocks listed above -- or any of the 4,300-plus stocks on CAPS.

More CAPS Foolishness:

Make seven picks on CAPS by April 24 and we'll send you a free copy of The Motley Fool Five-Star Report. Inside, you'll discover how to use CAPS as a research tool, and you will receive a recommended five-star CAPS pick poised to beat the market for the next decade or more -- one that you can easily translate into profits for your real-world portfolio. Click here to get started now!

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer didn't see these particular moves coming, but he's rarely surprised at Mr. Market's general tomfoolery. You can check out Matt's CAPS portfolio here, or visit his blog. He does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. The Fool's disclosure policy keeps it green and keeps it real all at the same time.