Hey there, Fools. I've summoned our Motley Fool CAPS community once again to highlight a few of Thursday's biggest winners among the stocks with top ratings of four or five stars.

Without further ado:


Yesterday's % Gain

Natus Medical (NASDAQ:BABY)


Bare Escentuals


General Electric (NYSE:GE)




Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE:FCX)


There's a reason why I selected those notable gainers as opposed to other winners making noise on Thursday, like low-rated casino stocks Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN) and Las Vegas Sands: Stocks go up all the time, but unless you were able to predict the pop, what does it matter?  

Our community of more than 135,000 CAPS Fools considers its high-star stocks the most likely to outperform the market.

Written in the (five) stars?
For example, 99% of the 508 All-Star members who've rated Natus Medical have a bullish opinion of the stock. In late January, one of those top Fools, tenmiles, explained why the maker of newborn-care products seemed ready to deliver:

Significant recurring revenue from "disposables" should help balance out hospital capital spending cutbacks over the next couple of years. Strong balance sheet with roughly 32% of market cap in net cash ... -- above average value buy at $7.35 for those with multi-year horizon.

Following yesterday's double-digit pop, shares of Natus are up over 80% since that call. In fact, yesterday's pop came after the company's quarterly results easily topped Wall Street estimates, and raised its full-year forecast on signs of stabilizing demand.

The bullish lesson?
Learn to be long-term greedy when others are short-term fearful. Going against the herd is never easy, but if you truly believe in a company's long-run trends, significant slowdowns offer the very best opportunities to buy. As Warren Buffett reminds us, "Only those who will be sellers of equities in the near future should be happy at seeing stocks rise. Prospective purchasers should much prefer sinking prices."

And now for the losers ...
Of course, winning isn't everything in the stock market.

Here are five of Thursday's biggest decliners with one- or two-star ratings:   


Yesterday's % Loss

Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC)


Eastman Kodak


Ryland Group






While yesterday's plunge in five-star stock Akamai (NASDAQ:AKAM) may have caught our community off-guard, low-ranked stocks are fully expected to fall hard.

Did CAPS call the fall
Last year, for instance, CAPS All-Star capsoregime was already feeling super-insecure about Symantec:

It's inevitable that Symantec will pay too much for more products and then destroy them, as they've done repeatedly in the past. … I hear more and more people in the IT world every day giving up on the headaches associated with their products. It's only so long before that kind of recognition catches up with you and your "brand" wears off.

Consistent with that warning, shares of the security software maker sank yesterday after its first-quarter results disappointed Wall Street on continued weakness from corporate customers.

The bearish takeaway?
Trust your own eyes above all else. Just as it might pay to "buy what you know" (and enjoy), it's probably a good idea to stay away from stocks whose products are increasingly disappointing you. Due diligence is always required, but as CAPS' capsoregime understands, if you're not a satisfied customer, it might be a stretch to think you'll be a satisfied investor

The final Foolish move
Investors often focus strictly on stock price movements without realizing that developing a proper stock-picking process counts most.

Over at Motley Fool CAPS, thousands of investors are Foolishly sharing insightful investment tips to help, above all else, identify tomorrow's big movers. Over time, consistently reverse-engineering winning -- and losing -- stocks will help you become a more Foolish investor.

Log in to CAPS today and start participating. It's absolutely free -- and a lot of fun! 

Fool contributor Brian Pacampara owns no position in any of the companies mentioned. Natus Medical is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick. Bare Escentuals and Akamai are recommendations of Rule Breakers. Aflac and Moody's are Stock Advisor selection. Symantec and Moody's are choices of Inside Value. The Fool's disclosure policy is always the big winner.