Whether in the corporate lunchroom, our cubicles, or the local watering hole after work, there are regular places we gather to discuss news, sports or -- if you're like us -- stocks. Here at Motley Fool CAPS, we gather around the virtual water cooler daily to rate stocks and delve into their merits as investments.

Our 125,000-strong CAPS community -- where members give the thumbs-up or thumbs-down to some 5,400 stocks -- has shown a propensity for making prescient market calls. Our data indicates that newly minted five-star stocks offer some of the best opportunities to investors, while the lowest-rated companies fared worst. Below we'll take a look at some of the CAPS universe's highest-rated, most talked-about stocks, and whether you think they will outperform or underperform the market.


CAPS Rating (5 stars max)

No. of Recs

% Outperform

Best Buy (NYSE:BBY)




Cemex (NYSE:CX)




ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP)




Corning (NYSE:GLW)




Ctrip.com International (NASDAQ:CTRP)




Source: Motley Fool CAPS.

A tall drink of water
All questions of rock 'n' roll supremacy aside, Best Buy faces issues that even the demise of Circuit City will be hard to forestall. Despite better-than-expected quarterly earnings, Best Buy's bottom line still fell 77% year over year, while comps were off by more than 5%. It also plans to cut 4,000 employees from the payroll.

CAPS member philippalmer, however, thinks that the electronics retailer will surprise everyone after the holiday shopping season closes, and he considers Best Buy a long-term investment:

This is a great company with great management with nowhere but up to go. Now that [Circuit City] is out of the picture, [Best Buy] should see greater numbers and more surprises in their earnings. This holiday I think will turn out to be better than expected too. I am definitely buy and hold here.

A slick opportunity
Although oil prices are depressed right now, few expect them to remain so low for very long. If OPEC is successful in its production cuts, the price of oil -- and the shares of oil companies like ConocoPhillips -- should rise in response. Perhaps in anticipation of this boost, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A) has been quietly accumulating a huge 84 million-share stake in the oil giant. That's up significantly from the 17.5 million shares it held earlier this year.

CAPS member xiaolifeidao thinks oil is far too ingrained in our global economy for demand to remain low for long:

Oil, oil, oil. Oil is the fundamental resource to support the modern countries, from personal transportation to commercial one. American people can only cut oil consumption to some degree. Also developing countries, like China, India, Basil, will keep growing middle class population and buy more cars. Plus, OPEC is tuning the pipe valve for satisfiable profits. The fundamentals of oil supply and demand hasn't change and overtime, it is moving toward high demand and tight supply again.

Gather 'round
With so many good opinions about today's top companies, why not grab a pointy paper cup from the dispenser and join us at the Motley Fool CAPS water cooler? Your input can help guide other investors to stocks with bright prospects for growth. Read a company's financial reports, scrutinize key data and charts, and examine the comments your fellow investors have made, all from a stock's CAPS page.

Sign up today for the completely free service, and let us hear what you have to say about the great and almost-great companies that interest you.

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This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.