No one has perfect foresight, but let's be honest: The market is full of people who, as Oscar Wilde would say, know "the price of everything and the value of nothing." Far too often -- over the past year especially -- investors have been pitched sensational stock recommendations only to be left high and dry as shares crumble.  

To hunt down top-recommended stocks that have been rewarding investors accordingly, I summoned our Motley Fool CAPS community to point out a few four- or five-star stocks that have been shootin' for the moon in recent months.

While not formal buy recommendations, these three-month bloomers caught my attention: 


13-Week Price Change

Recent Share Price

2009 EPS Estimates

CAPS Rating  
(5 max)

Cemex (NYSE:CX)










PetroChina (NYSE:PTR)





Transocean (NYSE:RIG)





United States Steel (NYSE:X)





Data from Motley Fool CAPS, and Yahoo! Finance as of June 17. 

You can rerun the CAPS screen I used by clicking here.                                                      

Got patience? Good. You'll need it.
For United States Steel investors, 2008 and early 2009 might end up being the most miserable period in the company's history. Shares are off 79% in the past year. Even if Madoff investors end up getting back a few cents on the dollar, they might end up happier than investors who bought this stock last summer.

Why? Frankly, the world stopped building things. U.S. Steel, along with metal buddies Alcoa (NYSE:AA) and Nucor (NYSE:NUE), went from a world flooded with cheap credit and an insatiable thirst to build, to one drowning in an oversupply of buildings and a domestic auto industry that literally shut down. It was a sudden, vicious jolt that just ravaged business. As the table above shows, 2009 is going to be an absolutely wretched year. There's no sugarcoating that.

Yet the recent rebound in this company's stock price is indicative of a key point: Shares were being priced on the assumption that the global economy might never spring back. The company was priced for literal failure. For never-ending losses and a permanent slump that would create a world uninterested in building anything made of metal ever again.

But these fears were greatly overblown. Yes, steel companies are going through an extraordinarily tough period, but heck, that's the nature of cyclical businesses. It's what happens. The industrialized world isn't coming to an end. After booms come busts, and after busts come … you get the idea. As CAPS member Pattypoo212 recently wrote:

When someone figures out a better and cheaper way to build various things and replace something like steel I will say this has become a bad pick but until then im sticking with it.

Indeed, a Morgan Stanley analyst recently upped his U.S. Steel outlook on the basis of industry-wide production rising from 46% to 65% of capacity by the end of this year. Things are still terrible, but they're less terrible, and that alone is more than enough good news to drive this stock higher.  

One way to value this kind of cyclical company, however imperfect, is to look at average earnings over long periods of time. For example, the 10-year EPS average for U.S. Steel is $5.00 per share. When you compare that to a current $36 share price, things could look quite appealing for investors with enough patience to slog through the next year or two.  

Your turn to chime in
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Fool contributor Morgan Housel doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. Cemex is a choice of Motley Fool Stock Advisor and Motley Fool Global Gains, and the Fool owns shares of it. The Fool has a disclosure policy.