Keeping your portfolio above water in these markets is no easy task. Companies can be too easily whipsawed by the whimsical musings of the Treasury Department or the Fed, making investors who've successfully navigated these rough waters rare indeed. A steady track record of staying afloat is even more impressive.

The All-Stars in our Motley Fool CAPS investor intelligence database have found themselves particularly adroit at consistently steering their picks through these turbulent markets. CAPS has successfully marked the performance of the best stocks for more than two years now. Let's look at some of the recent picks of this community's longtime investing mavens. If these All-Stars have been able to maintain their top status through bull and bear markets alike, their opinions on stocks for the months and years ahead might be worth watching.

CAPS Member

Member Rating

Member Since

Recent Stock Pick

CAPS Rating (5 stars max)

Call

dimitri109

99.95

12/12/06

iShares Lehman 20+ Yr. Treasury (NYSE:TLT)

*

Underperform

audr

99.90

9/15/06

Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT)

****

Outperform

cipostripes

99.89

9/26/06

PowerShares DB Crude Oil Double Long (NYSE:DXO)

*****

Outperform

PLynchJr

99.89

8/28/06

Steak N Shake (NYSE:SNS)

***

Outperform

oldvolvoguy

99.88

9/27/06

Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG)

****

Outperform

Rowing against the current
Read the description of the Crude Oil Double Long ETF and you'll be excused for not quite understanding its expectation of "minimizing the negative effects of contango and maximizing the positive effects of backwardation." Suffice it to say that this fund wants to double the monthly performance of the Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB) oil index. If you think oil prices are headed north once again, this might be the way you'd want to play it.

Saudi Arabia, for example, has indicated that oil needs to be around $75 a barrel to provide sufficient incentive for further development. As a result, it and other OPEC partners have agreed to sharply curtail output to stabilize oil's price. Add in the fact that Russia is holding its supplies to the Ukraine hostage in a payment dispute, and oil has risen above $50 a barrel for the first time in five weeks.

Top-rated CAPS All-Star klemenv didn't think the price of oil was sustainable at the levels at which it started the year, and it will be either inflation or demand that pushes it higher:

There must be at least one pick where Alstry and myself could agree. Now, seriously, do you believe current oil prices are sustainable. Either world will stop and inflation will boost the prices, or the world will not stop and demand for oil will outstrip supply.

With governments around the globe stepping up stimulus plans to jump-start their economies (though none yet comes close to the package offered by Obama), some heavy industry concerns like Caterpillar or even Jacobs Engineering (NYSE:JEC) stand a good chance of benefiting from the cash infusion.

Yet, it's that kind of euphoria about government intervention that's turning off investors like top-rated CAPS All-Star dexion10, who says that the need for additional construction equipment to be built is an overblown rallying cry:

Euphoria over government infrastructure will fall off... additionally there is plenty of idle construction equipment... the world doesn't need a lot more construction tools over the near term

Ahoy there!
Whether you're been in the markets for years or are new to them, it pays to start your own research on these stocks on Motley Fool CAPS. 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. Then share your views with the CAPS community on whether these old salts have the wind in their sails.

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.

Steak n Shake is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems Pay Dirt selection. Intuitive Surgical is a Rule Breakers pick. The Fool owns shares of Steak n Shake.

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