"The bigger they are, the harder they fall. It's the worst nightmare of every investor in today's market -- buying a hot stock just before it takes a nosedive."

So goes the thesis of my weekly Fool.com column "Get Ready for the Fall." Therein, I run the 52-week highs compiled on Nasdaq.com through the "wisdom of crowds" meter that we call Motley Fool CAPS. And out the other end comes a list of stocks that have flown so high, investors are starting to get nervous about this "gravity thing."

But it's an undeniable -- and often glorious -- fact of investing life that some stocks seem immune to gravity. Rising for one year, they fail to fall back to Earth. Instead, they soar for a second year, and then a third. By year four, you're beginning to wonder whether you've stumbled upon a megatrend, and by year five, you're certain of it.

And so it is that today we're going to take our next logical step. Moving on from stocks that have hit 52-week highs, we'll identify for you the companies that are entering their second half-decade of outperformance. Which of these will go on to thrash the market averages for another five years? Here are this week's leading contenders:


Recent Price

CAPS Rating (5 max):

Bull Factor

Rex Energy (NASDAQ:REXX)




Union Drilling (NASDAQ:UDRL)




Concho Resources (NYSE:CXO)




Fording Canadian Coal  (NYSE:FDG)




NorthWestern (NYSE:NWE)




Companies are selected from the "New 5-Year Lows" list published on MSN Money on Friday. CAPS ratings from Motley Fool CAPS. Bull Factor is percent outperform calls in CAPS.

Everybody loves a winner
Spotting a megatrend in the making is tricky, but once the trend's become firmly established, it's a piece of cake. Need a hint? Every stock in the list above sits squarely in the middle of the energy sector, and four of the five receive above-average ratings from CAPS players.

Top marks in this group go to Rex Energy, which just recently dropped from CAPS' top rating of five stars, but boasts the highest percentage of bulls in its camp. Here's why investors love it:

The bull case for Rex Energy
CAPS All-Star iknowyourjealous introduced us to the company a couple of months ago as: 

An independent oil and gas company operating in the Illinois Basin, Appalachian Basin and southwestern region of the United States... [E]veryone seems to love this stock. I can't really find a bad thing said about it. I am just jumping on the band wagon with this one. Don't get me wrong, It's fundamentals look rock solid and with gas prices expected to keep climbing, what's not to love about thiis stocks future growth??!

Fellow All-Star conaider thinks you, "Can't go wrong with oil and gas exploration at this time." And in the short-term, markarice85 argues, "Resource companies are going to surge very large in profits with the coming summer, and energy prices are soon to escalate to the consumer."

By the end of last year, Rex boasted proven oil reserves of 12.8 million barrels, alongside 18.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas. To facilitate comparing Rex's valuation to other oil & gas plays, let's convert that into a single metric -- barrels of oil equivalent (bboe). Convert the gas into bboe, and it adds 3.1 million "barrels" to Rex's oil reserves, for a grand total of about 15.9 million bboe. At today's price, that means buying Rex is like paying $56.84 of enterprise value per barrel for its energy reserves.

Even then, I have to say that, valued on its reserves, Rex looks significantly more expensive than Petrobras (NYSE:PBR), which we looked at last week, and pricier still when compared to a more gas-rich player like Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK). That one's trading for something like $22.40 of enterprise value per bboe.

My conclusion: If oil prices stay as high as they are, Rex looks fairly priced. But there are better bargains out there.

Time to chime in
Of course, the aim of this column isn't just to tell you what I think about Rex Energy -- or even what other CAPS players are saying. We want to hear your thoughts. Head on over to Motley Fool CAPS, and tell us what you think.

Motley Fool CAPS : It's fun, it's free, and it just might make you famous.