Keeping your portfolio above water in these markets is no easy task. Companies can be too easily whipsawed by the whimsical 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 consistently steered their picks through a turbulent market. Just like some of the top 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 this community's mavens. If these All-Stars have been able to maintain their status through bull and bear markets alike, their opinions on stocks might be worth watching.

CAPS Member

Member Rating

Member Since

Recent Stock Pick

CAPS Rating (5 Stars Max)




Dec. 27, 2006






Nov. 6, 2006

National Oilwell Varco (NYSE:NOV)





Aug. 24, 2006

Apollo Group (NASDAQ:APOL)





Dec. 6, 2006

Manitowoc (NYSE:MTW)





Nov. 18, 2006

The St. Joe Company (NYSE:JOE)



Rowing against the current
The plans The St. Joe Company offers for a turnaround might sound a little strange. The Florida real estate developer seems mostly to be going on a wing and a prayer.

With its development properties located primarily in the panhandle section of Florida, The St. Joe Company has been particularly hit by the depressed housing market. It has wriggled its way past much of the calamity by adopting what it calls a "place-making" strategy, making construction-ready investments in roads, pools, and golf courses for its properties, which it then sells to developers for home construction.

It's now hoping that an airport that's scheduled to open in 2010 will create jobs and boost property values. The St. Joe Company has even donated about 4,000 of the 586,000 acres it owns to the project, hoping the value of its remaining land will jump afterward. It seems as good a plan as any, considering the usual prospects for growth look doubtful.

For the latest quarter, such hopes weren't enough to prevent the company from swinging to a $28 million loss from a $1 million profit last year. Preserving its liquidity remains a top priority for surviving. And the developer has paid off most of its long-term debt, opened a $100 million line of credit, and received a big boost of confidence from value investor Bruce Berkowitz, who by special arrangement will buy up to 30% of the company's stock while still preserving his voting rights, which usually are capped at 20%. Berkowitz had owned about 17% of the company, so maybe the conflicting signals on housing have him thinking things will soon pick up in Florida.

St. Joe's is not alone. Consolidated-Tomoka Land (NYSE:CTO), with 10,700 acres of land on the west side of Daytona Beach, Florida, has attracted activist investors at Wintergreen Advisors who want to install three directors on the board. Betting on the landowners rather than homebuilders like Toll Brothers (NYSE:TOL) may just make more sense.

After all, Mark Twain famously suggested that we "Buy land; they're not making it anymore," and St. Joe is the largest private-property owner in the state. White sands and palm trees will always make for an attractive destination, so it stands to reason values will eventually rise once again. CAPS All-Star member ValueMrk agrees, noting the value locked up in the properties will one day be revealed.

Real Estate will fly high in the long-run. St. Joe has excellent balance sheet to get through slow down. In addition, they have great hidden value own last largest piece of land in FL.

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.

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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.