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.  

I summoned our Motley Fool CAPS community to hunt down highly recommended four-or five-star stocks that have rewarded investors accordingly in recent months.

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


Price Change

Recent Share Price

2009 EPS Estimates

CAPS Rating  
(5 stars max.)

CF Industries (NYSE:CF)





Himax Technologies (NASDAQ:HIMX)





National Oilwell Varco (NYSE:NOV)





Petroleo Brasileiro (NYSE:PBR)





Transocean (NYSE:RIG)





Data from Motley Fool CAPS, Yahoo! Finance, and Capital IQ, a division of Standard and Poor's, as of March 23. 

You can start your own due diligence on these potential candidates by rerunning the CAPS screen I used

It's time to buy energy stocks
Two things happened over the past month that might inspire you to take a gander at energy-related companies:

  • Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke announced plans to buy more than $1 trillion of long-term debt securities, proving he'll do everything in his power to reinflate the economy.
  • Oil surged more than 40%.

Yep -- the oil story is back on, Fools. A combination of OPEC supply reductions and a slow but sure stabilization of the global economy assured its return. You can take advantage of this rebirth with diversified oil giants such as ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) or Chevron (NYSE:CVX). But you might find even bigger returns in stocks like Transocean -- companies that have been torn to shreds since oil began to unwind last fall.

Transocean's been on a tear lately, if only because its December bottom of about $42 a share seemed hard to justify. 2009 EPS is expected to come in at $13.52, making even today's price of $65 look pathetically cheap, especially after the recent surge.

Just yesterday, Transocean's CEO said he wasn't optimistic about a surge in new rig announcements in the short term, simply because of market uncertainty. However, CEO Robert Long did express optimism over the company's ability to pay down its heavy debt load and buy back shares. With shares this low, any such buybacks or reductions in its debt load would likely be well-received by a market still cloaked in fear.

CAPS member mykoai recently elaborated on all of these points:

Oil prices are still down, but this is a proven cash flow generator with a substantial moat (considerable technical expertise is required for open water drilling, and the rigs require a tremendous investment for design, construction, and operation). Their backlog grew over the course of 2008, even as prices fell, but there have been recent cancellations- nothing lethal, but worth watching. Debt is a major issue for this company at roughly 10x cash, but they only have 600m coming due in 2009, which they can service with FCF. Further they made a significant dent in their outstanding debt during the time when gas prices were high, dropping it from 15b to around 7b now. The bulk of their debt is coming due in 2010, and they should be able to roll over and/or service a significant portion of it at that time.

The prospect of an imploding backlog has particularly overshadowed this stock in recent months. While that fear is legitimate, fellow Fool Toby Shute showed last month that current terminations don't amount to much more than a rounding error in the grand scheme of things.

CAPS member wolfhounds shares similar feelings: "The most important piece of information [from a recent quarterly report] was the decline in it's backlog of about $300m from small producers. The remaining $39.5B is solid, as is a projected increase in cash flow in 2009, due the high quality companies in deep water projects."                         

Your turn to chime in
What do you think about Transocean? More than 130,000 investors use CAPS to share ideas and swap opinions. Click here to check it out and speak your mind. It's 100% free to participate.

For further Foolishness:

Fool contributor Morgan Housel doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. Petroleo Brasileiro is a Motley Fool Income Investor selection. National Oilwell Varco is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.