"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 with 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 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

Barrick Gold  (NYSE:ABX)




Agnico-Eagle Mines  (NYSE:AEM)




Randgold Resources  (NASDAQ:GOLD)




Bois D'Arc Energy (NYSE:BDE)




Pharmaxis  (NASDAQ:PXSL)




Clinical Data  (NASDAQ:CLDA)




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 become rare. And yes, despite some pretty impressive carnage on Wall Street last week, some stocks did still soar. Investors are getting jittery, though, and don't seem terribly confident that stock certificates will keep climbing in value. Half the stocks making today's "highs" list, you'll notice, are in the business of digging solid assets -- gold -- out of the ground.

The highflier getting the worst marks today does something entirely different. Clinical Data makes its money providing pharmacogenomics services and genetic tests to other companies, and hopes to eventually sell its own drug, anti-depressant Vilazodone (acquired from Merck (NYSE:MRK) three years ago). As fellow Fool Brian Orelli described on Friday, Clinical Data announced positive phase 3 results for Vilazodone last week, in which the drug beat out a placebo in improving patients' moods.

The bear case against Clinical Data
Why hasn't the good news had a similar effect on investors? At first glance, it's hard to say. Only 20 Fools have rated the stock so far, and most of these have yet to post "pitches" describing their reasons for rating the stock an outperformer, or underperformer. The one bear on record, CAPS All-Star obiwankenobe1250, keeps his comment pithy, but a bit on the vague side: "Good industry, bad fundamentals."

But it's not hard to feel the Force behind Obi-wan's pessimism. A quick review of the stock's key statistics (we've got a link to the numbers on Clinical Data's CAPS page) shows you that this firm is losing money, burning cash, and experienced declining revenues in its most recent quarter. Hardly the stuff that growth investor dreams are made of. Moreover, as Brian pointed out last week: "While it's great that the drug improved individuals' moods compared to a sugar pill, Vilazodone really needs to be compared to drugs currently on the market, instead of placebo, before investors will know how much market share the drug could take."

So I'm guessing that the reasons for investors' pessimism are actually twain: First, as a recurring-revenue services business, Clinical Data is seeing a drop in sales that bodes ill for the future. Second, as a nascent drug maker, the company's prospects remain uncertain until more is known about Vilazodone's advantages relative to the competition. Combined, the two fears are keeping CAPS investors on the sidelines.

Time to chime in
Should you join them, or take a leap of faith and endorse the stock? We want to hear what you think about Clinical Data. If you've got an opinion, we've got a place to voice it.

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. 433 out of more than 65,000 players. The Fool has a disclosure policy.