The idea of supplying customers with recommendations based on prior shopping habits isn't all that new. If you've signed on for service with Blockbuster or Netflix, you know about the movie recommendations they hook you up with (mine right now include Batman and Hairspray -- does that say something about me?). Shoppers on get a similar slew of suggestions based on their previous purchases.

Investing in stocks may not exactly be comparable to renting a movie or buying a book, but with thousands of stocks out there, finding new ideas can often be overwhelming. To help grease the ol' mental machinery, The Motley Fool's CAPS service recently started providing players with daily stock recommendations.

It works like this: CAPS members create a portfolio by rating some of their favorite (and least favorite) stocks. The super-secret stock-of-the-day algorithm -- which I've heard is run by a computer hooked up to 50,000 hamsters on wheels and uses calculations so complex they'd make Archimedes cry -- is then run. It then starts churning out highly rated stocks for each player based largely on their prior selections and the phase of the moon.

To give you a sampling of the kinds of ideas that CAPS is doling out, here are the five recommendations the CAPS supercomputer spit out for me last week:



Market Cap

CAPS Rating


American Physicians Capital (NASDAQ:ACAP)

$399 million




$18.6 billion



National Bank of Greece (NYSE:NBG)

$27.2 billion



Nymagic (NYSE:NYM)

$245 million



Nabors Industries (NYSE:NBR)

$8.6 billion


Data from Motley Fool CAPS as of Aug. 10, 2007.

As smart as the CAPS Stock of the Day algorithm may be, it's still just an algorithm, so be sure to look before you leap on any of its suggestions. With that in mind, I thought I'd kick you off with thoughts on some of these stocks.

Along with some of its neighbors in the oil and gas sector, Nabors has had a volatile year. Though it's down 10% from where it was this time last year, it has been as much as 20% higher and 10% lower. Recently the company has been under the cloud of tough market conditions in North America that put pressure on second-quarter results. On the bright side, though, it has been able to offset that weakness with strength from its overseas operations.

While many CAPS players like the stock's low P/E (under 9 on a trailing basis), All-Star player Kinzo sees the merger between Transocean (NYSE:RIG) and GlobalSantaFe as a potential spark to ignite industry consolidation.  

And speaking of overseas, one of the stocks listed above can give an investor solid exposure to one of Europe's most exciting economies. Stumped? That exciting economy is Greece and the stock is National Bank of Greece. According to a recent Forbes article, Greece's GDP has averaged 6% annual growth over the past 10 years. This easily outpaces sluggish economies like France and Germany.

The same article cites the country's location and strength of its shipping operations as a big part of the growth. Though not particularly well liked on CAPS, DryShips (NASDAQ:DRYS) is one Greek shipping concern that has caught some of that tailwind in its proverbial sails.

Players have taken a better view of National Bank of Greece and the stock has only two underperform ratings out of 204 total. Many of the Fools on CAPS like National Bank of Greece as a play on Greece's growth as well as a way to get non-U.S. financial exposure. CAPS All-Star TJones97 noted the growth in the eastern Mediterranean and calls the bank a "long and established leader in the region."

Now for the real question: are you getting your own CAPS Stock of the Day selections yet? If not, what are you waiting for? CAPS is free, and getting your Stock of the Day picks is much more fun than having me get California's Governator to track you down and give you a wedgie. And don't think I won't do it ...

More CAPS Foolishness:

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. Netflix and Amazon are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations.  Matt tried to give The Fool's disclosure policy a wedgie, but he was overpowered by its incredible might. Don't worry, he learned his lesson.