Keeping your portfolio above water in these markets is no easy task. Companies can be too easily whipsawed by the musings of the Treasury Department or the Fed, making investors who've successfully navigated these rough waters rare indeed. A steady track record is even more impressive.

The All-Stars in our Motley Fool CAPS investor intelligence database have been particularly adroit at consistently steering their picks through these turbulent markets. Perhaps they're taking cues from the handful of investing professionals who view this as the best time in 35 years to invest in stocks. Let's look at some of the recent picks from these CAPS champs. If our All-Stars have held onto their top status despite these turbulent times, perhaps their opinions will prove worth watching.

CAPS Member

Member Rating

Member Since

Recent Stock Pick

CAPS Rating (5 Stars Max)




Aug. 24, 2006

Citigroup (NYSE:C)





Sept. 14, 2006

Apache (NYSE:APA)





Sept. 27, 2006

Energy Conversion Devices (NASDAQ:ENER)





Sept. 18, 2006

Blyth (NYSE:BTH)





Nov. 22, 2006

USANA Health Sciences (NASDAQ:USNA)



Rowing against the current
Is the solar industry melting? Recent developments certainly suggest that solar CEOs' recent high hopes and bluster are wilting. In that light (no pun intended,) how is photovoltaic maker Energy Conversion Devices faring?

Recently, Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) had to acknowledge that its much-hoped-for buyer of $1.9 billion worth of thin-film manufacturing equipment would really only buy about $250 million worth, though to date, no sales have been recorded. Previously First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) froze in February, and Energy Conversion Devices said in March to forget everything previously forecast in its quarterly guidance.

Prices for the industry's outputs have been falling precipitously. Worse, solar companies plan to churn out even greater amounts in 2009. This year, the 20 largest solar-panel makers are expected to produce about seven gigawatts of capacity, according to market researcher Gabelli & Co. -- even though total global demand for solar products is estimated to be only five to seven gigawatts.

Add in the continued tight credit markets, and the cost of financing the purchase of solar panels should remain a bad moon rising over the industry. Analysts expect further delays in solar projects or outright cancellation. Even the ballyhooed subsidies that China anticipates making can't dispel the clouds surrounding solar. China's ministry of housing and urban-rural development, along with its ministry of finance, said last month that they would provide a subsidy of up to $2.93 per watt this year to certain approved solar projects. But soon after that, it was announced that the government agencies had been too hasty in making such promises -- meaning any benefits that may be derived from the subsidies could be far, far off.

When managers such as those at Energy Conversion Devices suddenly do an about-face on guidance, you can understand why bullish investors might change their minds, too. CAPS member Foliobuilder believes that the U-turn means profitability is no longer on the horizon, and that the losses that have dogged the company will recur:

Energy Conversion Devices had an awful quarter and gave a horrible outlook for the near future on [its] conference call in March. This wasn't just lowering guidance -- they are cutting production, undergoing a corporate restructuring, and contracting their business. What a disaster. After losing 28% in one day, I got out. I don't see any upside in this one for a long time.

Ahoy there!
Whether you've been in the markets for years or are new to them, it pays to start your own research on these stocks 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 share your views with the CAPS community, including these All-Stars.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey does not have a financial position in any of the stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.