Think of investor sentiment as a pendulum that swings in tandem with a company's share price. When investors begin to think highly of your company, its stock might also start heading in the right direction. Alas, you can rarely tell when investors are warming to a stock until after it's made that upward swing.

An astrolabe for investors
But Motley Fool CAPS' proprietary ratings, aggregated from the opinions and accuracy of 125,000-plus members, offer a great way to monitor investor sentiment. Like astronomers scanning the skies, investors can follow a stock's stars through its CAPS rating trend, tracking investor sentiment to help determine the best time to invest. So let's look at previously rated one- or two-star companies that have recently enjoyed a bump in investor confidence and see whether the stars are really aligning in their favor.

Company

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Recent Price

Next Year’s Estimated EPS Growth

C.H. Robinson Worldwide (NASDAQ:CHRW)

***

$46.94

12%

CBS (NYSE:CBS)

***

$5.76

(36%)

First Industrial Realty Trust (NYSE:FR)

***

$4.99

(54%)

i2 Technologies (NASDAQ:ITWO)

***

$6.58

(26%)

MiddleBrook Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:MBRK)

***

$1.75

N/A

Sources: Motley Fool CAPS, Yahoo! Finance.

Obviously, this is not a list of stocks to buy -- just a starting point for further research. Yet if some of the best investing minds are taking notice of these stocks, maybe we should too. 

The sun's always shining somewhere
Like David Letterman asking impeached Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, "Why exactly are you here?", CAPS All-Star BSHumphreyII seems to be asking investors why they would want to go anywhere near CBS. Certainly other big media companies like Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) and Disney (NYSE:DIS), both of which recently came up short in the profit picture, are showing that entertainment may not be so entertaining after all. BSHumphreyII writes:

Anything centered on advertising is just a bad place to be right now. Negative earnings, negative cash flow, and high costs scream "Stay Away!" from CBS. I just can't see how that dividend is safe.

Last year, it looked like biotech MiddleBrook Pharmaceuticals might be hanging around outside death's door. While investors were hoping for a buyout, the board of directors was instead looking for a cash-infusion lifeline. Today, top-rated All-Star CAPS member aracer says that with a new drug coming to market next month, it's a different story:

Oversold since stock plunged in July after financing deal showed the BOD was no longer considering an outright sale. Launch new drug Moxatag on March 16, 2009. Has hired a 270-person field force to promote to docs nationwide. Moxatag is approved for the treatment of adults and pediatric patients 12 years and older with tonsillitis and/or pharyngitis, and is the only FDA-approved once-daily amoxicillin,.

Shine your starlight
So are these stocks driving ahead or ready to crash? It pays to start your research 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 weigh in with your own thoughts on which stocks you think are shooting stars or supernovas. Since it's free to sign up and post your thoughts, why not use this opportunity to take your star turn?

Walt Disney is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation and a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey owns shares of Disney 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.