Whether in the corporate lunchroom, your cubicle, or the local watering hole after work, there are regular places we gather to discuss news, sports, or -- if you're like us -- stocks. Here at Motley Fool CAPS, we gather around the virtual water cooler daily to rate stocks and delve into their merits as investments.

Our 135,000-strong CAPS community -- where members give the thumbs-up or thumbs-down to roughly 5,300 stocks -- seeks companies that look like they'll outperform the market. We'll take a look at some stocks in CAPS that members are talking about the most, and see whether our community thinks they'll continue their winning ways.

Stock

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Number of Calls

% Outperform Calls

CVS Caremark (NYSE:CVS)

****

1,483

96%

Northgate Minerals (NYSE:NXG)

*****

1,459

97%

Teva Pharmaceutical (NASDAQ:TEVA)

****

1,434

96%

United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS)

**

1,469

85%

Waste Management (NYSE:WMI)

*****

1,427

97%

A tall drink of water
Aetna is said to be shopping its pharmacy benefits management (PBM) business, and it makes sense for CVS Caremark to look closely at acquiring this 11.2 million-member operation. Estimates suggest the division might fetch as much as $2 billion.

When Express Scripts bought WellPoint's PBM business earlier this year, it vaulted past CVS Caremark and closed in on Medco in terms of numbers of prescriptions filled. Getting Aetna's business might be one way for CVS Caremark to regain some of the ground it lost, while putting more distance between itself and Walgreen (NYSE:WAG). CAPS member EllisWyatt thinks CVS will grow even more.

After the merger, CVS pharmacies now has a direct link to medical supply, not to mention the benefit of mopping up the market share Walgreen's is slowly [losing]. Although not big in the Midwest as of yet, the potential for growth is astronomical.

Another shot of reality
If you're looking for an indicator that might signal a change in direction for world economies, the earnings report and forecast for United Parcel Service might fit the bill. Unfortunately, the worldwide package giant's report suggests there are no green shoots. Earnings for the second quarter fell 49% year over year as revenue dropped 19%, with all segments experiencing weakness. Worse, UPS management says it sees no indication of a change in fortune, either. Its guidance for the third quarter is the same as the results for the second quarter, meaning it expects its numbers to fall below analyst expectations.

CEO Scott Davis says it doesn't matter whether this is the trough of the recession. He places more importance on the length of time we stay at the bottom, and there's not much to encourage him that it will improve  anytime soon. That is similar to the dour report FedEx (NYSE:FDX) gave two weeks ago, when management said we should expect soft demand until at least next year.

Investors are looking for Big Brown to come out ahead, though. CAPS member hooufoolin thinks UPS is a keeper, partly because it doesn't have high debt or the labor issues confronting FedEx.

When the economy picks up, UPS will be in a great position having become a leaner organization without losing its core identity. UPS will continue to excel with its leading edge technology, skilled driver workforce, led by the time tested managerial principles set forth by their visionary founder Jim Casey!! UPS OUTPERFORMS IN THE LONG HAUL!!

Gather 'round
With so many good opinions about today's top companies, diving into the CAPS community can be like trying to drink from a fire hose. Why not grab a pointy paper cup from the dispenser and join us at the Motley Fool CAPS water cooler, where your input can help guide other investors to stocks with bright prospects? 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.

Sign up today for the completely free service, and let us hear what you have to say about the great and almost-great companies that interest you.

FedEx is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Waste Management is an Inside Value recommendation. United Parcel Service and Waste Management are Income Investor picks. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services today, free for 30 days.

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.