Tips -- as any good investor knows -- are best left for waiters. Ideas, however, are the lifeblood of any dedicated stock picker.

So where do ideas come from? Well, besides the stock idea fairy, they come from a variety of sources such as stock screens and financial news sites. You can also add The Motley Fool's CAPS service to the list. Among the many great features on CAPS is the Stock of the Day -- which serves up a new stock idea to CAPS players on a daily basis.

It works like this: CAPS members create a portfolio by rating some of their favorite (and least favorite) stocks. The super-secret stock-of-the-day algorithm -- which uses calculations based on the tides and the position of Jupiter's moons -- is then run. It then starts churning out highly rated stocks for each player based largely on their prior selections and the first letter of the last five teams to win major sports championships.

To give you a sampling of the kinds of ideas that CAPS is doling out, here are the five recommendations the CAPS supercomputer spit out for me last week:



Market Cap

CAPS Rating


Axis Capital Holdings (NYSE:AXS)

$6.0 billion



Hanover Insurance Group

$2.3 billion



StatoilHydro (NYSE:STO)

$63.7 billion



Limco-Piedmont (NASDAQ:LIMC)

$170 million



Commerce Group

$2.2 billion


Data provided from Motley Fool CAPS and Yahoo!Finance as of Dec. 14.

As smart as the CAPS Stock of the Day algorithm may be, it's still just an algorithm, so be sure to look before you leap on any of its suggestions. With that in mind, I thought I'd kick you off with some thoughts on these ideas.

Air repair
A newcomer to the capital markets in 2007, Limco-Piedmont completed its IPO in July. The company provides MRO (maintenance, repair, and overhaul) and parts supply services to aircraft owners. The company claims that a number of industry factors -- including the aging of aircraft fleets and the desire to cut down on MRO costs -- are causing more aircraft owners to outsource their MRO needs.

The company's four repair centers are all FAA-approved, which is crucial, because the FAA mandates that all aircraft service and repair work be done at FAA-approved facilities. In its prospectus, the company lists a broad range of aircraft that it can service, including industry giants like Boeing (NYSE:BA), Airbus, and General Dynamics (NYSE:GD)

A crude play
If you are keen on making money on the strength of oil, there's no shortage of high-profile names to pick from -- Chevron (NYSE:CVX) and Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS-A) not least among them. With all of them selling essentially the same product, the trick is picking out the oil majors that have the right stuff operationally and managerially to provide the best returns for shareholders.

StatoilHydro, an active Income Investor recommendation, has been highlighted by CAPS players as just such a company. There have been 372 players bullish on the company versus just five that think it will lag the broader market. CAPS All-Star spkinney1 noted the company's conservative management team and strong cash flow. He also said that StatoilHydro "has rewarded shareholders with special dividends from time to time. [It] should be a good play on oil as long as oil prices remain at elevated levels."

But now for the real question: Are you getting your own CAPS Stock of the Day selections yet? If not, what are you waiting for? CAPS is free, and getting your Stock of the Day picks is much more fun than having me get California's Governator to track you down and give you a wedgie. And don't think I won't do it ...

More CAPS Foolishness:

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. Matt tried to give The Fool's disclosure policy a wedgie, but was overpowered by its incredible might. Don't worry, he learned his lesson.