Even though some top professionals view this as the best time in 35 years to invest in stocks, keeping your portfolio above water in these markets is no easy task. With companies easily getting whipsawed by the whimsical musings of the Treasury Department or the Federal Reserve, investors who've successfully navigated these rough waters are rare indeed. A steady track record of staying afloat is even more impressive.

The All-Stars in our Motley Fool CAPS investor-intelligence database have found themselves particularly adroit at consistently steering their picks through these turbulent markets. Let's look at some of the recent picks of this community's longtime investing mavens. If these All-Stars have been able to maintain their top status through bull and bear markets alike, their opinions on stocks for the months and years ahead might be worth watching.

CAPS Member

Member Rating

Member Since

Recent Stock Pick

CAPS Rating (5 Stars Max)

Call

mikotian

99.95

11/27/06

MGM Mirage (NYSE:MGM)

**

Underperform

Terok1313

99.85

9/27/06

Mechel (NYSE:MTL)

*****

Outperform

LarryRicardo

99.69

9/18/06

General Motors (NYSE:GM)

*

Underperform

SarahGen

99.68

8/25/06

Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC)

***

Underperform

SavvyCaveman

99.67

12/26/06

Hansen Medical (NASDAQ:HNSN)

****

Outperform

Rowing against the current
In Las Vegas, the desert seemed to have absorbed the once-hot tourist spot. It had been more like a ghost town than Sin City lately, and the casino operators had been holding on for dear life as the vultures circled overhead.

So when MGM Mirage reported that Dubai World was getting back on board with their joint CityCenter project and then earnings appeared to beat expectations, it wasn't too surprising that shares soared. Las Vegas, it seemed, was back after all, and the sand was being cleared off the street corners.

Yet for all the hope of a recovery, the signs aren't yet indicating that Vegas has hit a bottom. According to reports of data from the Center for Business and Economic Research, its index of leading indicators for southern Nevada continued its descent in April. So it's hard to believe that Vegas will lead the country up, and it's even too early to say that the city has bottomed out. Even the good news remains tempered: Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS), although still none too stable, might actually survive, but in part because it's less exposed to Vegas with its gaming halls. Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN), meanwhile, has seen weakened occupancy rates stabilizing but still reported a loss for the quarter.

But although some investors are betting that Vegas rolls snake eyes, a number of CAPS members believe Lady Luck may have other things in store for the city. Working in the travel and tourism industry, scoylesays that even though there's been a high number of cancellations, many have simply been pushed back a year. So if MGM Mirage doesn't benefit from a recovery in 2009, scoylesays suggests that we might look for it thereafter.

as for my pitch let me first say that I actually work in the travel and tourism industry as an event coordinator/event staffer for hotels and convention centers ... primarily in las vegas and orlando. ... This year has been a lot slower than 2008, like by 30 percent slower than last year ... which of course creates the trickle down effect of shows getting smaller, vacant hotel rooms and so on. We actually have had 150 events this year cancel and leave us with the deposit, BUT many of these events have rescheduled for next year....now of course they could still pull out if the economy worsens, but being as the economy has shown signs of stabilizing, I am betting and hoping that doesn't happen.

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 on whether these old salts have the wind in their sails.

Hansen Medical is a Rule Breakers recommendation. Try it or any of our other Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey has no financial position in any of the stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.