When investing in the stock market, it pays to be skeptical. In addition to doubting what the analysts tell you, you often have to discount what the companies tell you, too. On Wall Street, going against the grain can reap huge rewards. Like baseball's greatest place hitter, "Wee Willie" Keeler, great contrarian investors such as Benjamin Graham, Warren Buffett, and John Neff "hit 'em where they ain't."

Today, I'm looking at a new breed of contrarian: the Motley Fool CAPS "skeptic." These savvy Fools are willing to see both the upside and the downside of a stock. While their opinions tend toward the pessimistic, their top CAPS ratings mean they're right far more often than not. And when they find a stock they actually believe will outperform, perhaps we should take notice.

Here are some recent picks from five Foolish CAPS skeptics:


CAPS Rating


Player Rating

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL)




Isis Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ISIS)








Lundin Mining (NYSE: LMC)




CapitalSource (NYSE: CSE)




Source: Motley Fool CAPS as of Jan. 16. 

Just as a list of their worst stocks would not be a list of stocks to short, these skeptics' favorites aren't automatic buys. But they do offer an excellent starting place for your own research.

Hot Apple pie
Although investors seemingly were less than impressed with Apple's latest technological wizardry unveiled at Macworld, with share prices falling by more than 5% yesterday, CEO Steve Jobs continues to devise devices that ought to make consumers salivate. The new MacBook Air is so thin, if you turn it sideways, you'll lose sight of it.

Apple has also seemingly buried the hatchet with movie studios -- and apparently not in the cranium of the executive sitting across from it at the negotiating table. Most major studios have signed on to allow their films to be downloaded via Apple TV, part deux. Whether that's enough to displace Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) is still a question. The first run at Apple TV has generally been considered a flop -- or at least underwhelming -- and the movie rentals, while cheaper than the original version, don't necessarily make it much of a steal. It will still cost between $3 and $4 to rent the movie, and buyers will have just 24 hours to finish watching it.

Jobs certainly gets most of the credit for revitalizing this company and having it come out with "gee whiz" gotta-have products. Yet is Apple more than just its founder's vision, or will it suffer a meltdown if and when he leaves? CAPS investor cdelaney08 thinks it's a possibility, but while Jobs is around, Apple is a must-have stock:

Steve Jobs is the key here. As long as he remains, AAPL will be a great investment. Their iPhone 1.0 is only the beginning of a very successful new product line. And they will continue to take market share from PC's and laptops as Apple becomes more and more popular.

However, there are some, such as CAPS All-Star dude59, who think the roiled U.S. economy will play a bigger role in Apple's fortunes than its CEO.

While [Apple] has been hot this year, the products are consumer discretionary. I think Apple is a good company, but for the next few months it will be pressed hard to show that December was not the top. If we have a much broader pullback as some have suggested, then a twenty percent pullback in AAPL could happen in a month.

Seeing past the obvious
Skeptics know that just beyond the storm clouds lies a shimmering morning. Conversely, the sun can't shine forever, whatever the crowds may think. What's your forecast? Drop by CAPS and tell us which stocks are your favorite contrarian picks.

CapitalSource is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. Don't be skeptical about the 30-day free trial.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey does not have a financial position in any of the stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings here. Netflix is a Stock Advisor selection. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.