In my weekly Fool column "Get Ready for the Fall," I run's 52-week highs list through the "wisdom of crowds" meter we call Motley Fool CAPS. The result: a list of stocks that have flown so high, investors are starting to get nervous about that whole "gravity" thing. But while many stocks will indeed plunge back to Earth, some seem immune to gravity, steadily riding a rising megatrend to ever-greater heights.

Today, we'll move beyond stocks that have hit 52-week highs, and identify companies now surpassing five solid years of outperformance. Which of these will thrash the market averages for another half-decade? Here are this week's leading contenders:


Recent Price

CAPS Rating (Out of 5):

Bull Factor

Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT)








Heinz (NYSE:HNZ)




Solera Holdings




Longs Drug Stores  (NYSE:LDG)




Companies are selected from the "New 5-Year Highs" list published on MSN Money on Thursday. CAPS ratings from Motley Fool CAPS.

"Everybody loves a winner"
Hey, don't look at me. I didn't write the truism, and I can't help it if this week, investors refused to follow the "rules." Personally, I've got nothing against ketchup, pharmacies, or car insurance. These ratings are the ones that you, the Foolish investing public, are collectively assigning to these companies, so blame the message, not the messenger.

We do have two beloved stocks among our five-year winners this week, however. Choosing which one to profile is easy -- I write about Lockheed all the time. Now it's time to give our readers a chance to respond.

The bull case for Lockheed
One of the great things about CAPS is that with 115,000 investors and counting, we're bound to have a few contributors who can offer firsthand experience with the companies they recommend. One such investor, 2Late2Mate, confides:

Used to work for them (20yrs. ago), back when "Mister Marietta" was still in office, and the way the company handled their "LEAN" manufacturing................they were "way ahead of their time" ... "Lockheed-Martin" has good, solid roots (from it's inception) and exercises good judgement, in the direction [its] company is going. And not to mention, they put out a "quality" product. Their engineers are one of the best in the country (from the ones that I have met) and their hiring practices are "second-to-none". I have FULL confidence in their abilities and would call them an industry leader!

Lean manufacturing, quality products, and smart engineers. That's a good start. What's more, joejums argues: 

With the JSF just beginning initial production phases and talks of F-22 exports, the big money makers have yet to hit their high points. And outside of Aeronautics, it's amazing to see all the thing this company has their fingers in--systems integration and avionics for US101, continual sensor upgrades for maritime applications, the Aegis system which shot down that space satellite from a Navy ship, space systems with the Orion CEV, and the list goes on. I'm starting to wonder if any defense product can be sold or developed without LM.

Heaping praise on Lockheed gets us only so far, though. Here's the real kicker, in skonesam2's view: "US DoD isn't getting any smarter in what we purchase or how we purchase it-- and, no matter what, LM is making lots of money off of it."

Is it wrong to invest with a tinge of cynicism? I sure hope not, because earlier this year I made much the same argument as skonesam2 does today. Describing how Lockheed rival General Dynamics (NYSE:GD) won the contract to build the Navy's new Joint High Speed Vessel, I pointed out that General D and Lockheed both had their contracts to build two of the Navy's other new ships -- the Littoral Combat Ships -- suspended because of cost overruns.

Problem is, fouling up one job doesn't necessarily mean a defense contractor won't immediately be awarded another. Thanks to the wave of consolidation in the sector, there's only a handful of major contractors left to choose from -- Lockheed, General D, Raytheon (NYSE:RTN), Boeing (NYSE:BA). After these, the ranks start to thin out really quickly.

Said I: "While, as taxpayers, we lament the Catch-22 that defense industry consolidation has put us in, as investors, we must bow to the inevitable conclusion: These companies are going to win contracts and make profits no matter what."

Time to chime in
Of course, there's no need for you to be so cynical. Got a more optimistic take on Lockheed? Let us hear it.

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

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. 403 out of more than 115,000 players. Heinz is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. The Fool has a disclosure policy.