In my weekly Fool column "Get Ready for the Fall," I run's 52-week highs list through the "wisdom of crowds" meter we call Motley Fool CAPS. The result: a list of stocks that have flown so high, investors are starting to get nervous about that whole "gravity" thing. But while many stocks will indeed plunge back to Earth, some seem immune to gravity, steadily riding a rising megatrend to ever-greater heights.

Today, we'll move beyond stocks that have hit 52-week highs, and identify companies now surpassing five solid years of outperformance. Which of these will thrash the market averages for another half-decade? Here are this week's leading contenders:


Recent Price

CAPS Rating
(out of 5 stars)

Bull Factor





Shanda Interactive  (NASDAQ:SNDA)




Rackspace Hosting (NYSE:RAX)




Randgold Resources 




SIGA Technologies




Companies are selected from the "New 5-Year Lows" list published on MSN Money on Thursday. CAPS ratings from Motley Fool CAPS. Bull factor is percentage of outperform calls in CAPS.

"Everybody loves a winner"
Not necessarily. In fact, while Fools seem willing to give two of these high-flyers a pass, both Randgold and SIGA get a grade of D+ at best. Really, there's only one stock on the list that CAPS members seem to like, and that's the mysteriously monikered MYR Group.

Never heard of 'em? Neither had I -- until, that is, I read ...

The bull case for MYR Group
CAPS All-Star NoDoughBro introduced us to MYR back in January as a "leading U.S. provider of electrical services to electric utilities and to nonresidential construction with 2008 revs estimated at $624 mln." Based on analyst predictions of "long-term" profits from building out "the U.S. electric transmission and distribution network," NoDoughBro is hoping to change his name to "RollinginDoughBro" with a little help from Obamanomics.

Likewise with TheHague, who sees "plenty of growth potential" in MYR, "especially with infrastructure help Washington has promised."

And in fact, the bull thesis for MYR may go beyond just revamping the electric grid, and drive straight into Washington's plan to save the auto sector. As sierrarancher pointed out back in December, the "fastest way to reduce energy costs in the USA is to make electricity transmission cheaper. also, there will be electric cars, we'll need a grid to handle them."

As you've probably guessed by now, building out the electric grid is MYR's stock in trade. The company specializes in providing utility and electrical construction services in the continental United States. Last year, it raked in more than $600 million in revenue from doing such work for customers like Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) and various utility subsidiaries of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A). It even earned a small profit on the work -- profit that Wall Street expects MYR to grow at 15% per year over the next half-decade.

But here's the problem: While all the above sounds pretty good, and plays right to the sweet spot of the Obama stimulus plan, the stock is also incredibly costly from a free-cash-flow perspective. MYR generated $105 million in operating cash flow over the last five years, then spent $77 million of it on capital expenditures -- leaving less than $6 million a year in annual free cash flow. Call me crazy, call me a cheapskate, but $372 million (the firm's current enterprise value) seems a pretty high price to pay for such meager cash returns.

Foolish takeaway
To me, MYR Group looks like a classic case of great story, lousy execution. When you compare the company's performance, free-cash-wise, with that of larger rivals such as Quanta Services (NYSE:PWR) or Emcor (NYSE:EME) ... well, there's just no comparison. Both firms leave MYR in the dust.

If you absolutely, positively must place a bet on America's electric future, I'd suggest you leave MYR Group to the Wall Street crowd, and focus your own energies on one of its better-performing rivals. Your portfolio will thank you for it.

(Disagree? Feel free. Click on over to Motley Fool CAPS and tell us why you think there's more to MYR than meets the eye.)

Shanda Interactive is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Berkshire Hathaway is an Inside Value pick. The Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway.

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. You can find him on CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he's currently ranked No. 768 out of more than 135,000 members. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.