Hey there, Fools. I've summoned our Motley Fool CAPS community once again to highlight a few of Monday's biggest winners among the stocks with a top rating of five stars.

Without further ado:


Yesterday's % Gain

Gushan Environmental Energy (NYSE:GU)


Hutchison Telecom International (NYSE:HTX)


Flamel Technologies




Becton, Dickinson and Company


There's a reason why I selected notable five-star gainers, as opposed to other big-name winners making noise on Monday, like one-star stock Interoil (NYSE:IOC). Stocks go up all the time, but unless you were able to predict the pop, what does it matter?  

Our community of more than 125,000 CAPS Fools considers its five-star stocks the most likely to outperform the market.

Written in the (five) stars?
For example, 94% of the 199 members who've rated foreign telecom provider Hutchison Telecom have a bullish opinion of the stock. Last week, one of those Fools, pinti85, explained why the subsidiary of Hutchison Whampoa looked like a particularly special situation: "i believe that its parent company may buy the rest of this firm at a premium or sell it off, after all Asian cell firms are still attractive. looking for buy out at a premium or merger price."

Consistent with that call, shares of Hutchison surged yesterday on news that it is, indeed, considering a spinoff of its Hong Kong and Macau telecom segments.

The bullish lesson?
Always get the spin on possible spinoffs. Though massive mergers tend to steal all the headlines, corporate spinoffs -- in which a parent sets one of its divisions free -- can often prove more rewarding over time. Whether it's meant to unlock a division's true market value, pass along the value of an otherwise hard-to-sell business, or dispose of a segment in the most tax-efficient manner, most spinoffs aim to create genuine value for shareholders -- something we Fools always like to see.

And now for the losers ...
Of course, winning isn't everything in the stock market.

Here are five of Monday's biggest one-star decliners:   


Yesterday's % Loss

General Growth Properties (NYSE:GGP)


HSBC Holdings (NYSE:HBC)




Capital One Financial (NYSE:COF)


Fifth Third Bancorp


While yesterday's plunge in five-star stock USEC (NYSE:USU) may have caught our community off guard, one-star stocks are fully expected to fall hard.

Did CAPS call the fall?
In late January, for instance, CAPS member coylum made this rather prescient pitch on HSBC: "They are split evenly across the three main continents. However, their US exposure is in the wrong sector and they'll see some credit issues with their European and Far Eastern clients in 09."

Just as coylum had warned, shares of HSBC plunged yesterday after the company said it would shutter most of its U.S. consumer lending business and raise $17.7 billion in new equity after posting a 70% profit drop for 2008.

The bearish takeaway?
Always identify a stock's trouble spots before they come back to haunt you. One of the biggest mistakes that investors make is underestimating the magnitude of risk to which a company is actually exposed. As CAPS' coylum demonstrates, knowing exactly where (and how) a company is likely to get hurt can go a long way in preventing portfolio disaster.

The final Foolish move
Investors often focus strictly on stock price movements without realizing that developing a proper stock-picking process counts most.

Over at Motley Fool CAPS, thousands of investors are Foolishly sharing insightful investment tips to help, above all else, identify tomorrow's big movers. Over time, consistently reverse-engineering winning -- and losing -- stocks will help you become a more Foolish investor.

Log in to CAPS today and start participating. It's absolutely free -- and a lot of fun!