"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 more than 27,000 stock gurus (and counting) have to say about them?

One Year Ago Today

Currently Fetching

CAPS Rating

Seaboard Corporation (NYSE:SEB)




Hartford Financial (NYSE:HIG)




Burlington Northern Santa Fe (NYSE:BNI)




Delhaize Group (NYSE:DEG)




*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.

Everybody loves a winner
When stocks soar higher, ever higher on the wings of success, bears become rare. So it's no surprise that investors love most of the stocks on today's list. The sole exception: Belgium-based Delhaize Group, which operates supermarkets in Europe, Southeast Asia, and right here in the U.S. of A. -- where we know it as Food Lion, Bloom, and Bottom Dollar.

Well-known doesn't translate into well-loved for Delhaize, however, which scores a below-average two stars on CAPS. Why? Well, let's find out.

Build-a-bear, anyone?
Over on CAPS, just 16 souls have rated Food Lion's parent company, and none of the bears have explained their pessimism in the form of a stock pitch. No matter. I can handle this one:

With a trailing P/E of 20, and growth estimated to max out at 9% per year over the next five years, Delhaize scores a pricey P/E-to-growth (or "PEG") ratio of 1.9. So at its current level, many value investors would consider the stock overpriced by almost two times. Delhaize also looks relatively expensive when compared to its peer supermarket operators (also expensive as a group):

  • Safeway (NYSE:SWY), for example, commands a 19 P/E and a 1.8 PEG.
  • Kroger (NYSE:KR) also gets a 19 P/E, and a 1.7 PEG.
  • And bane-of-the-industry Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) sells for a mere 18 times earnings, with a PEG of close to 1.0.

See how simple it is to write a CAPS pitch? Why, to paraphrase the GEICO commercials, "it's so easy, even a bear can do it." So if you see a stock on today's list that deserves a good panning -- whether it's Delhaize or any of our other contenders -- come on over to CAPS and give it a try.

Motley Fool CAPS: It's fun, it's free, and it just might make you famous.

Wal-Mart is an Inside Value recommendation.

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 137 out of more than 27,000 raters. Fool rules are here.