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


Yesterday's % Gain

Yingli Green Energy (NYSE:YGE)


Suntech Power (NYSE:STP)


JA Solar Holdings


Burlington Northern (NYSE:BNI)


Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ)


There's a reason why I selected those notable gainers, as opposed to other winners making noise on Thursday, like one-star automakers General Motors (NYSE:GM) and Ford. Stocks go up all the time, but unless you were able to predict the pop, what does it matter?  

Our community of more than 130,000 CAPS Fools considers its "high-star" stocks the most likely to outperform the market.

Written in the (five) stars?
For example, 96.8% of the 4,389 members who've rated Suntech Power have a bullish opinion of the stock. Two weeks ago, one of those Fools, LTContrarian, explained why the solar module maker would soon have its day in the sun:

Honestly, I'm quite surprised that there's so much negative sentiment right now toward [Suntech]. Sure, they're suffering like many, but if nothing else, the Chinese banks will do all they can to help one of the leading solar mfg. in the world get through this credit crisis. ... The demand going forward for solar is much bigger than most believe in my honest opinion.

Consistent with that call, shares of several solar stocks exploded yesterday, after the Chinese government announced a generous subsidy for solar initiatives.

The bullish lesson?
Learn to pounce on Mr. Market's shortsightedness. As LTContrarian understands, going against the crowd isn't easy. But if you truly believe in a company's long-term tailwinds, negative sentiment provides the best opportunities to buy. As Warren Buffett succinctly puts it, "Bad news is an investor's best friend."

And now for the losers ...
Of course, winning isn't everything in the stock market. Here are five of Thursday's biggest decliners with a one- or two-star rating:  


Yesterday's % Loss



Fannie Mae


Citigroup (NYSE:C)


China Natural Resources


Freddie Mac


While yesterday's drop in highly rated Golden Star Resources may have caught our community off guard, low-ranked stocks are fully expected to fall hard.

Did CAPS call the fall?
Last week, for instance, CAPS All-Star OldEnglish shared some sarcastic thoughts on AIG:

Only a sixty billion dollar loss last quarter. A great company to invest in. A mere 2.6 trillion in derivative bets. Sure, no problem. We've got Ben to print money. Many people said the bailout was a disaster and no one would listen. I hope they're listening now.

Following yesterday's drop, shares of the embattled insurer are already down 35% since that call.

The bearish takeaway?
Never bet on a stock based purely on a bailout possibility. As CAPS' OldEnglish understands, assistance from the government doesn't necessarily mean that current shareholders stand to benefit. Unless you're truly able to discount the massive dilution effects and risk exposures that still remain, buying into "zombie" institutions is strictly speculation.

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!

Fool contributor Brian Pacampara owns no position in any of the companies mentioned. Suntech Power is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. The Fool's disclosure policy is always the big winner.