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 watercooler 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 highest-rated, most talked-about stocks in the CAPS universe, and whether you think they will outperform or underperform the market.

Stock

CAPS Rating (5 Stars Max)

No. of Recs

% Outperform

Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI)

*****

3171

98%

Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO)

****

4318

95%

JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM)

**

2995

85%

Marvel Entertainment (NYSE:MVL)

****

3514

96%

Sears Holdings (NASDAQ:SHLD)

**

2055

77%

A tall drink of water
Despite being a discount retailer with stores located in prime areas, Sears Holdings seems to hold little of the cachet that Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) does, and even less of its potential. But the retailer did unveil a holiday layaway program that some suggest was a big success. Whether that can help offset the otherwise poor Christmas season many retailers are expected to report remains to be seen.

CAPS All-Star member dexion10 doesn't think the sum of Sears' parts adds up to much of a great investment, considering there are other, better retailers around:

too much debt and declining earnings as far as the eye can see. [Home Depot] [Wal-Mart] [Target] and [Lowe's] are better retailers with better locations in this retail category

The replacement cost thesis (sum of the parts) is broken: replacement cost of their leases is higher than market cap but you'd have to find a buyer.

Healthy junk food?
Part of my perennial New Year's resolutions is to cut back on the fat intake, so I put items like reduced-fat Oreos and Twinkie Bites on my shopping list. If nothing else, it makes me feel better when I'm dunking them in a glass of milk. Can my soda intake be healthier, too?

While I prefer the taste of PepsiCo's (NYSE:PEP) signature beverage, Coca-Cola has taken the diet cola battle further, by adding vitamins and minerals to its carbonated sugar water and calling it Diet Coke Plus. Although it meets the requisite level of additives, the FDA says the word "plus" is a violation, because it "doesn't comply with the regulations governing the use of this claim." Pepsi offers a vitamin-enriched soda called Tava, as well as Diet Pepsi Max, which comes fortified with ginseng and extra caffeine. Apparently, that's OK with the FDA gatekeepers. Overloading on caffeine is good; getting vitamins is not -- at least, not so long as you offend the FDA's sensibilities with the word "plus."

Top-rated CAPS All-Star Vanheezy18 thinks that Coca-Cola would be a healthy addition to anyone's portfolio at these prices.

I'm surprised Coca-Cola stock is still trading this low. This is a good stock to anchor your portfolio. Over the long haul it will probably be right with the market--a little above at times and a little below at times. But this solid of a company with a 3.4 dividend yield is worth at least 15% of any portfolio in my Foolish opinion. A definite income investor stock.

Gather 'round
With so many good opinions about today's top companies, the CAPS community is like trying to take a sip from a fire hose. Why not grab a pointy paper cup from the dispenser and join us at Motley Fool CAPS, where 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.

On Jan. 12, 2009, Fool co-founder David Gardner, Jeff Fischer, and their Motley Fool Pro team will accept new subscribers to their real-money portfolio service. Motley Fool Pro is investing $1 million of the Fool's own money in long and short positions in a range of securities, including common stocks, put and call options, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). They also incorporate proprietary CAPS "community intelligence" data into their research. To learn more about Motley Fool Pro, and to receive a private invitation to join, simply enter your email address in the box below.

PepsiCo and JPMorgan Chase are Motley Fool Income Investor recommendations. Wal-Mart, Sears Holdings, and Coca-Cola are Inside Value recommendations. Marvel Entertainment and Activision Blizzard are Stock Advisor picks. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey owns shares of Wal-Mart but does not have a financial position in any of the other stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings here. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.