"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."
-- Sir Isaac Newton

There's a reason why more than 35,000 investors flock to Omaha, Neb., every May, and why millions more rummage through the Berkshire Hathaway annual reports. Gleaning knowledge from proven investors is one way to find the stocks that will make you rich.

Using Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's 135,000-plus-member investing community, we can see which stocks got a boost in attention from proven investors in the past month.

In addition to a stock's CAPS star rating, a sudden increase in bullish interest from CAPS members ranked in the top 20% of the community -- we call them CAPS All-Stars -- is a very good sign; one you should take note of.

Conversely, a sudden increase in bearish interest from CAPS All-Stars might be an early signal that the stock's one to avoid.

A bullish stampede
To illustrate, here are five stocks receiving more support from CAPS All-Stars over the past four weeks:

Company

Industry

Change in All-Star Bulls
From May 4 to June 1

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

Yamana Gold (NYSE:AUY)

Gold

26%

****

SPDR Gold Shares (NYSE:GLD)

ETF-Gold

22%

***

iShares MSCI Brazil Index (EWZ)

ETF

25%

*****

Goldcorp (NYSE:GG)

Gold

24%

***

Silver Wheaton 

Silver

23%

****

Data from Motley Fool CAPS as of June 1, 2009.

Suffice it to say that CAPS All-Stars have turned bullish on precious metals over the past month. As market fears have subsided slightly in recent months, investors have been more willing to take on riskier investments, like stocks and commodities. This has been good for our stock portfolios, but as investors move out of the safe haven of U.S. Treasuries, it also weakens the U.S. dollar. Since many commodities -- including gold and silver -- are priced in dollars, this makes them more attractive to foreign investors with suddenly stronger buying power.

A number of emerging market-focused ETFs, like iShares MSCI Brazil, also had a substantial increase in All-Star outperform picks. Renewed interest in emerging markets is hardly surprising, as the BRIC markets -- Brazil, Russia, India, and China -- are all up at least 60% in dollar terms year to date.

While precious metals and emerging markets could very well continue their rallies, contrarian investors would view this nearly unanimous spike in investor interest in these areas of the market as a sign that the opportunities have passed. Before you buy into either rally, be sure to do your homework.

When bears attack
Now that we've seen which stocks CAPS All-Stars think are poised to pop, here are five stocks saddled with a greater number of "underperform" ratings over the past month:

Company

Sector

Change in All-Star Bears
From May 4 to June 1

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

Bank of America (NYSE:BAC)

Financial Services

23%

***

Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC)

Financial Services

37%

***

Baidu.com (NASDAQ:BIDU)

Internet Services

20%

***

American Express (NYSE:AXP)

Financial Services

23%

***

Capital One Financial 

Financial Services

24%

*

Data from Motley Fool CAPS as of June 1, 2009.

CAPS All-Stars remain skeptical about financial services companies, especially after the rebound the sector has experienced since early March. The specter of increased federal regulation, uncertain capital requirements, and mounting defaults at both the corporate and consumer level continues to hang over banks and lenders.

What to do next
Knowing when stocks are poised to change direction requires thorough fundamental analysis and a keen sense of changing conditions. Missing either of these key ingredients could lead you into a very bad investment, particularly if you short the stock.

At our new Motley Fool Pro service, which will be reopening for two days next week, we'll continue to stand on the shoulders of proven investors, using similar proprietary data points and our own thorough fundamental analysis to identify promising investment opportunities. Our ultimate goal is to help subscribers make money, whether the market is up, down, or flat, by going long and short using stocks, options, and ETFs. If you'd like to learn more about Motley Fool Pro, simply enter your email address in the box below.

This article was first published Oct. 2, 2008. It has been updated.

Todd Wenning is the lead analyst for Motley Fool Pro and a proud alumnus of St. Joseph's University. He does not own shares of any company mentioned. Baidu is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. American Express and Berkshire Hathaway are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. Berkshire Hathaway is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor choice. The Fool owns shares of American Express and Berkshire Hathaway. The Fool's disclosure policy protects both longs and shorts.