No one has perfect foresight, but let's be honest: The market is full of people who, as Oscar Wilde would say, know "the price of everything and the value of nothing." Far too often -- over the past year especially -- investors have been pitched sensational stock recommendations, only to be left high and dry as shares crumble.  

To hunt down top-recommended stocks that have been rewarding investors accordingly, I summoned our Motley Fool CAPS community to point out a few four- or five-star stocks that have gone gangbusters in recent months.

While they're not formal buy recommendations, these three-month bloomers caught my attention:  

Company

13-Week Price Change

Recent Share Price

2009 EPS Estimates

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

Akamai (NASDAQ:AKAM)

49%

$18.06

$1.67

*****

Diana Shipping (NYSE:DSX)

39%

$11.85

$1.64

****

Freeport McMoRan (NYSE:FCX)

22%

$30.09

$0.50

*****

Marvell Technology (NASDAQ:MRVL)

32%

$7.51

$0.17

****

Potash (NYSE:POT)

31%

$83.84

$10.72

****

Quality Systems (NASDAQ:QSII)

33%

$39.62

$2.03

*****

Mosaic (NYSE:MOS)

29%

$39.66

$7.15

****

Data from Motley Fool CAPS and Yahoo! Finance. Price change from Nov. 28, 2008, through Feb. 25, 2009.

You can rerun the CAPS screen I used by clicking here

All that glitters …
I have some reservations about the long-term prospects of the shiny yellow metal, but the argument put forth by gold bugs is hard to refute: Printing money and using debt to cure a debt problem can't be executed without the mother of all unintended consequences: inflation.

And while gold breached the $1,000 level recently, its ultimate trajectory could carry it considerably higher as our financial system continues to deteriorate. I can hear you already: "Haven't things deteriorated enough already?" Perhaps, but it's not hard to argue that a small mountain of financial pain still lies ahead. As Nouriel Roubini put it: "We don't just have a subprime mortgage lending system; we have a subprime financial system."

How high might gold go? Opinions are all over the map. My Foolish colleague, precious-metals expert Chris Barker, pegs an initial $2,000 price target -- just more than double today's prices -- should the ultimate flight to safety fall into place.

And that's what this is about: the flight to safety. As CAPS member QuakerMan222 recently wrote about one precious-metals stock, Freeport McMoRan:

Although gold is an inflation hedge, it is also a chaos hedge. In times of uncertainty gold is the right play, and I think that anybody is crazy to say they are anything but uncertain where our market will go for the next year or so. Also, commodities are starting to turn the corner. Although there is an extreme surplus in the world production of copper (109,000 tons in 2008 and 277,000 expected in 2009), I think that gold will carry this stock for the time being.

Freeport's an interesting company these days. After copper prices suffered a veritable disintegration last year, shares fell from almost $130 last summer to just $15 last fall. The catalyst behind shares' two-bagger since then has been (1) realization that the decline was disturbingly overdone, and (2) realization that the company's 41 million ounces of proven and probable gold reserves could spark a dramatic comeback in the years ahead.

CAPS member KipLargo touched on this back in December, writing:

For he amount of gold it has , 41 million ounces of it provable reserves, and a P/E of around 7 (12/30/08), it's undervalued when compared to most gold miners operating at P/E's more than twice that. Certainly its exposure to copper hurts it, and they probably wish that copper wasn't in their name because they get associated as a infrastructure play rather than a precious metals play. I think they are more than discounted because of this association, and the current price of copper is more than baked into the price. So if gold starts moving past $900 towards a $1000, this stock should have a bigger leap than most gold mining stocks out there.

Take it from here
What do you think about Freeport McMoRan? Some have thrown their weight emphatically behind the gold play; others are wary, thinking it might be reaching bubble territory. More than 125,000 investors use CAPS to share ideas and swap opinions. Click here to check it out and share your thoughts. It's 100% free to participate.

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Fool contributor Morgan Housel doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. Akamai Technologies is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Quality Systems is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.