"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 -- 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 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 65,000 stock gurus (and counting) have to say about them?

One Year Ago Today

Currently Fetching

CAPS Rating

VeriFone Holdings  (NYSE:PAY)

$28.55

$44.33

****

PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP)

$63.94

$73.26

*****

Schnitzer Steel  (NASDAQ:SCHN)

$31.49

$75.63

*****

Renaissance Re  (NYSE:RNR)

$54.75

$65.41

*****

New Oriental Education  (NYSE:EDU)

$24.20

$65.42

*****

Diamond Foods (NASDAQ:DMND)

$14.21

$20.21

**

Overstock.com (NASDAQ:OSTK)

$17.53

$30.33

*

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. So it comes as no surprise that the majority of the stocks on today's list enjoy above-average ratings. Two stocks, however, lag in the estimation of Foolish stock pickers: Nut purveyor Diamond Foods and liquidation specialist Overstock.com. Today's column will be all about the 'O.'

The bear case against Overstock.com
CAPS players don't like Overstock.com. I mean they really don't like it. Among the more than 700 investors who've rated the stock, 75% say it's a likely underperformer. What's more, the "smart money" -- our CAPS All-Star investors -- wax even more negative, with 81% calling Overstock overvalued. Why all the negativity among our best stock pickers?

Addressing the business, CAPS All-Star TDRH argues:

... the underlying fact remains that I do not find deals on this website that are any better than a Macy's Memorial Day Sale. The presentation and search engine on the site leaves much to be desired. If they are going to make it they are going to need to buy lower, offer it cheaper, and be more selective in what they buy and promote.

Addressing the CEO, fellow All-Star TMFEldrehad advises: "Patrick, spend your time and energy talking about the shorts instead of focusing on actually trying to make it so your company turns a profit for a change -- the more you fight the shorts, the more confident I become in my underperform call."

And yet, both these wise Fools are losing "virtual money" on CAPS, with their Overstock scores in the dumps. How is it that the stock is hitting new highs? Yet another All-Star, this time boggsr123, explains: "They did not lose as much in Q2. Estimates went up and street has them for a profit in Q4." And yet: "If they miss this estimate or if they do not beat it by much, stock could start to reverse again."

I second that emotion -- but there's real risk in shorting this one, folks.

True, Overstock is still burning cash (free cash flow ran at negative $3.8 million over the last year) and losing money (racking up $96.4 million in losses during the period). But negative numbers tend to create negative sentiment among investors, and for this reason, more than 34% of Overstock's float has been sold short. I'm in no position to judge how much of that shorting is "naked" or clothed -- but with so many people betting against the stock, any good news at all could send shorts heading for the hills, and send the stock up the mountain.

Time to chime in
Of course, for that to happen, Overstock first has to produce the good news. Can it? You tell me.

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. 1906 out of more than 65,000 rated players. New Oriental Education is a Global Gains recommendation. The Fool's disclosure policy packs a parachute.