When large caps make a run for it, Fools pay attention.

Think of Inside Value pick Microsoft. After years of poor performance, Mr. Softy and his $300-billion-plus market cap began making a move last month, enriching investors who bought and stayed in.

Hence this column. For as much money as there is to be made in fast-movers like Turkcell (NYSE:TKC) and Rofin-Sinar Technologies (NASDAQ:RSTI), both of which hit new 52-week highs yesterday, the turtle often beats the hare. Here's a look at Thursday's finest terrapins, courtesy of The Wall Street Journal:


Closing Price

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

% Change

52-Week Range






Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE:FCX)





Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS)





Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HOG)





Northern Trust (NASDAQ:NTRS)





Sources: The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo! Finance, Motley Fool CAPS.

Shares of our top gainer, clothing retailer Gap, rose after projecting better-than-expected third-quarter earnings. Interesting, but we Fools prefer buy-to-hold stock stories. Are any of our large cap leaders worth owning over the next three to five years?

Not really -- if you believe the 73,000-plus professional and amateur stock pickers in our Motley Fool CAPS community. For them, only Freeport-McMoRan gets the nod, as it has before.

But Gap has made an interesting comeback. Not long ago, it was a languishing one-star stock that CAPS investors loved to short. Moneymaven777 explains why here:

The Gap is out of style. I can't think of one kid in my family or their circle of friends who even walks in the store. Last time I went [into a] Gap was 20 years ago and [I] walked right out because of the gaudy, low selection of colors and expensive prices. Savvy shoppers will pass this store right by.

That was in late August. A bit over a month later, FSUSully was writing this:

I just saw their new commercial. I think they hit it out of the park and like their chances for the upcoming holiday selling season. Admittedly non-scientific but it's [CAPS] so let's take a flier. Of course, I am breaking my own rule by putting an outperform on a one-star stock. We'll see how it does.

So far, Sully, it's added a star and about 3%. But can it go higher? I'm not so sure. Same-store sales declined once again during October and the stock trades for the more than 21 times trailing earnings. Such a multiple is more often reserved for high-growth stocks than for struggling retailers. I'm not a buyer 'til I see more evidence of a turnaround in progress.

What about you? What would you do? Let us know by signing up for CAPS today. It's 100% free to participate.

See you back here tomorrow for more of the best of the biggest.

Cap off your day with related CAPS Foolishness:

Microsoft and Discover are recommendations of Motley Fool Inside Value, Turkcell was highlighted by Global Gains, and Gap was picked by both Inside Value and Motley Fool Stock Advisor.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers, who is ranked 13,044 out of more than 73,000 participants in CAPS, didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. Find Tim's portfolio here and his latest blog commentary here. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy doesn't need to be large in order to be in charge, but it is.