Picking a great stock can be extremely rewarding, regardless of whether you're first to the party. Titanium Metals, for example, has been a public company since 1996, but investors who took the plunge in 2003 when the stock was trading at around $0.50 (split-adjusted) are up -- well, let's just say a whole lot.

It's a similar story with Google. Investors who bought the stock this time last year are up a decent 10%. However, those investors who boarded the Google train at its 2004 IPO at the opening price of $100 are sitting on a 381% gain.

The allure of buying an IPO has faded a bit since the dot-com era, but there's still that je ne sais quoi about being in on a great stock from the ground floor. Investing in IPOs can be tricky, though. There's typically less information available about the company, and unless a bank outside the underwriting team decides to cover the stock, there won't be any analyst estimates to work from. Last year, while IPOs like Rule Breakers pick Omrix Biopharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:OMRI) showed us why it's still great to catch a winner at the open, others, like Vonage, reminded us that you can still lose big.

The Motley Fool's new investing community, CAPS, is helping to make new stocks more transparent by allowing investors to share their thoughts and outlooks on recent IPOs (as well as more than 4,000 other stocks). The following are a few of the most recent IPOs.


Return Since IPO

Total CAPS Votes

CAPS Bulls

CAPS Rating (out of five)

MetroPCS Communications (NYSE:PCS)





SuperMicro Computer (NASDAQ:SMCI)





Aruba Networks (NASDAQ:ARUN)















Sources: IPOHome, Yahoo! Finance, and CAPS.

I highly recommend that you visit CAPS and check out what players are saying about these highly rated offerings. In the meantime, here are some introductory thoughts on a few of the IPOs that piqued my interest.

Freeing your phone
If you're sick of watching your minutes on your cell phone plan, then you know what the folks behind MetroPCS Communications were thinking. Founded in 2002, MetroPCS is a relatively young entry in an already heavily competitive arena, but it has the potential to make waves.

The company offers flat-rate, unlimited-usage cell phone service. If you've never heard of MetroPCS, you probably don't live in one of the eight cities where it currently operates (San Francisco, Sacramento, Detroit, Dallas, Atlanta, Tampa, Orlando, and Miami). Financial success has followed the innovative service; the company has grown at a compounded annual rate of 88% since 2002, while delivering a solidly black bottom line every year except 2003.

Getting super in servers
SuperMicro also exists in a highly competitive market: computing servers. With hardware giants like Dell, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), and Sun Microsystems, as well as smaller competitors like Rackable Systems, going after a piece of this huge market, SuperMicro no doubt has its boxing gloves on. Don't consider the company a newcomer, though -- it's been in business since 1993 and has been profitable every year since its inception.

SuperMicro headed into its IPO with plenty of momentum. It managed to boost revenue for the first six months of its fiscal year by almost 50%. You can bet that CEO, President, Chairman, and co-founder Charles Liang will be working hard to keep up that growth, since after the IPO, he still owns 33% of the outstanding stock.

Managing the unknown
Investors know that the future is never a given, particularly the relative near-term future. For many companies that deal with commodity products either as an output or an input (for example, airlines and oil), taking some risk out of the future can allow more focus on building the business.

FCStone is in the business of helping its customers deal with commodity risk, primarily through the use of options and futures contracts. The company offers risk management consulting services, clearing and execution for futures and options market participants, and financing for commodity purchases, and it also acts as an intermediary in the grain market. The company had a fantastic 2006 fiscal year (ended in August) and managed to more than double net income, giving it plenty of momentum coming to the public markets.

CAPS All-Star ThatGuy73 doesn't see things slowing down, either: "This is a hot sector right now and I don't predict it stopping anytime soon. At [a multiple of] four times sales FCStone still has plenty of room to run."

Got some thoughts on these IPOs? Head over to CAPS and help them earn their stripes. While you're there, you can check out some of the thoughts that more than 27,000 CAPS members have had on the 4,000-plus stocks currently rated. CAPS is entirely free, and it's more fun than watching Terminator 2 and Twins back to back (and that is a lot of fun).

Get down with some more IPO action:

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. He encourages feedback, but asks that you avoid any disparaging remarks about his home state's Governator. Dell is a Motley Fool Inside Value and Stock Advisor choice. The Fool's disclosure policy has stared T-1000 right in the face and said "hasta la vista, baby."