Here at The Fool, we usually don't pay attention to day-to-day price gyrations. Instead, we prefer to track each business's intrinsic value, which, by its very nature, changes a lot less frequently than Mr. Market's wild swings would have you believe.    

But at times, some price moves are just so big that investors should at least take notice -- especially when we Fools could have seen them coming.

The big winners  
With that in mind, I've summoned our Motley Fool CAPS community to highlight yesterday's biggest gainers among the stocks with a top CAPS rating of five stars. I've also included a possible explanation -- where I could find one, of course -- for each move.

Without further ado:


Yesterday's % gain

Probable catalyst for move

Compania de Minas Buenaventura (NYSE:BVN)


Recent rise in metal prices

Silver Standard Resources (NASDAQ:SSRI)


Rise in metal prices




Aurizon Mines


Rise in metal prices

Endeavour Silver


Rise in metal prices

Did CAPS predict the pop?
The reason I selected the biggest five-star gainers, as opposed to the market's biggest overall winners, is simple: stocks go up all the time, but unless you were able predict the pop beforehand, what does it matter? 

Through a consensus of more than 60,000 Fools in CAPS, our community considers its five-star stocks the most likely to outperform the market. By reverse-engineering some of the arguments made for these picks, our odds of finding the next big winner will surely improve.

For example, ICO Inc., a producer of specialty resins and polymers, has been a five-star stock for the past four months. The bullish sentiment around ICO has always been -- and continues to be -- its relatively low price-to-earnings ratio (P/E), heavy insider ownership, and cash-generating ability. This outperform pitch written by JohnLevine has proved useful in the past:

ICO Inc. is a value pick. A manufacturer of specialty resins and concentrates, the stock trades at a healthy earnings multiple. It has healthy profit margins and management, easily manageable debt and a history of consistent earnings. The company's products are used in sundry households across a wide array of uses.

That was one of the player pitches I utilized to highlight ICO in a low-priced article I wrote in March. ICO's stock has since risen to the double-digit big time -- up a whopping 119% in total. This type of return illustrates, yet again, the good things that can happen when you find a cheap and fundamentally sound small-cap stock.

Now for the losers
Of course, winning isn't everything in the stock market. Stocks go down, too -- and oftentimes very, very fast.

Here are yesterday's biggest one-star decliners:  


Yesterday's % loss

Probable catalyst for move

LandAmerica Financial Group (NYSE:LFG)


Mortgage and housing concerns

Alphatec Holdings (NASDAQ:ATEC)



Directed Electronics (NASDAQ:DEIX)






Triad Guaranty (NASDAQ:TGIC)


Continued weakness regarding revolving credit draw

Did CAPS call the fall?
Whereas Fools believe five-star stocks will outperform, one-star stocks inspire the least confidence from our CAPS community. By investigating a few of the bearish arguments made for these losers, we should have a better chance of averting portfolio disaster in the future.  

Take, for instance, this Triad Guaranty underperform pitch found in CAPS:

TGIC doesn't really look too bad to me from a financial statement point of view. They are anchored to a sinking ship (sub-prime) and will likely suffer from that. Expenses are up [year over year]. Revenues are up from the overall gross premiums written and time will tell how much of that gets paid out on. I think they look good for the long-term but for now based on my desire for CAPS points I'll stay short.

Triad's stock is down a gut-wrenching 61% since CAPS All-Star ctmedic00 penned that bear call in March. In fact, 35% of that loss has come within the last two weeks alone, with the free fall starting on Aug. 27, when the company announced it was drawing $80 million from its revolving line of credit.

To be fair, Triad's management -- along with a few credit analysts -- have echoed ctmedic's sentiment that the balance sheet remains strong and that there's no evidence (for now, at least) of a liquidity crisis at the company. Still, it goes to show us Fools that when Mr. Market becomes frightened by a specific sector, he's often willing to go to great depths to get out of it.

The final Foolish move
Investors often focus strictly on stock price movements (or the results), without realizing that developing a proper stock-picking process counts most.

Over at Motley Fool CAPS, thousands of investors are Foolishly sharing insightful investment tips to help identify tomorrow's big movers. Over time, consistently reverse-engineering winning (and losing) stocks will help you become a more Foolish investor.

Log in to CAPS today. It's absolutely free -- and a lot of fun!

Fool contributor Brian Pacampara owns no position in any of the companies mentioned. The Fool's disclosure policy is always the big winner.