"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, Nasdaq.com 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 -- after all, 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 High" 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 High" list at Nasdaq.com. What does our panel of more than 60,000 stock gurus (and counting) have to say about them?

One Year Ago Today

Currently Fetching

CAPS Rating

Berkshire Hathaway




Arden Group (NASDAQ:ARDNA)




Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC)




Shenandoah Telecommunications




Five stars = highest possible CAPS rating; one star = lowest. Companies are selected from the "NASDAQ 52-Week High" list published on Nasdaq.com on the Saturday following close of trading last week. One year ago and current pricing provided by Yahoo! Finance. CAPS ratings from Motley Fool CAPS.

Everybody loves a winner
When stocks soar on the wings of success, bears usually become rare. But perhaps as a result of the recent carnage on Wall Street, even this week's winners are getting precious little appreciation from jittery investors. Of the four stocks on today's list, only the no-brainer of the bunch -- Berkshire Hathaway -- gets top marks. Two others eke out an average three stars, and one firm, Shenandoah Telecommunications, actually receives a subpar two-star rating.

Why the disdain for Shenandoah? Rather than making Deliverance jokes, let's run down what our CAPS players have to say about it.

The bear case for Shenandoah
... Well, that was fast. Not one of the 11 CAPS players who have either picked or panned the company have made a substantive pitch explaining their rating. Nine "outperform" ratings. Two "underperforms." Zero pitches. So I guess it falls to Yours Fool-y to make the bear case on this one, eh?

More than a century old, Edinburgh, Va.-based Shenandoah supports 24,000 phone lines in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. The company operates as an affiliate of Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) in providing mobile phone service, and it also has a cable TV unit in Virginia with about 8,400 customers. Shenandoah has piqued my interest numerous times over the last few months, since it regularly appears in the Business pages of The Washington Post paired with announcements of insider buying. In fact, insiders have upped their ownership stake by some 31% over the last six months.

So far, so good -- but what's the downside? Well, there's the obvious: Shenandoah competes with much larger, better-capitalized players like AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ). Moreover, Shenandoah is priced at a 25% premium (by P/E) to each of these behemoths, and to the telecom industry in general. Its dividend yields just a fraction of its rivals' payouts. And its sales began to decline (year over year) last quarter.

Time to chime in
Are the above reasons sufficient to convince you to avoid Shenandoah? And if not, why not? Come on over to CAPS and tell us something (anything) about why you do or do not like the company. (Seriously, we're starving for pitches on this one, folks.)

As an added bonus, I can pretty much guarantee that at this point, whether you take the bull side or the bear, yours should quickly become the "top pitch" for its respective side.

Berkshire Hathaway is both a Stock Advisor and an Inside Value pick. If you'd like to know the latest stocks we've picked for the Fool's market-beating newsletters, take a look at all our recommendations with a free 30-day trial.

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 No. 177 out of more than 34,000 rated players. The Fool's disclosure policy always packs a parachute.