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

Forward P/E Ratio

CAPS Rating  
(5 max)

Cemex (NYSE:CX)





GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK)










Natus Medical (NASDAQ:BABY)





Walter Energy (NYSE:WLT)





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

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

A closer look at Cemex
Not long ago, I had serious doubts about Cemex's ability to survive. Not to prosper. Not to stay competitive. But to actually survive.

The giant cement maker overloaded on debt after an ill-timed and disastrously optimistic 2007 acquisition. Its debt became so debilitating that, during the financial heart attack last fall, bankruptcy was a very real possibility. It simply couldn't roll over its liabilities.

Since then, Cemex has made monumental progress that takes those worst-case scenarios off the table. Debt restructuring with its banks has gone as well as anyone could ask for, killing the specter of near-term insolvency.

Just last week, Cemex struck a deal with lenders that pushes most of its 2009-2011 debt maturities out to 2014. Anticipation of such a deal is undoubtedly behind shares' recent surge.

What happens now could get interesting. See, Cemex the company has long been a solid organization; it was Cemex the balance sheet that was a train wreck. Now that its short-term debt hurdles are cleared, Cemex has repositioned itself alongside names like Alcoa (NYSE:AA) and U.S. Steel (NYSE:X) -- extremely cyclical companies that are currently trudging trough the lows of the cycle. As CAPS member Northville wrote in February:

Very simply, this is a cyclical company and this is the bottom of the cycle. Management got caught with the Rinker acquisition at exactly the wrong time, which will lead to uncertainty over the next year or so until management manages to unlever (which they have a lot of good experience doing).

But the company has global exposure and, I believe, the resources and experience to get through the down cycle in good shape (at approx 4-5 times earnings, it is trading for what it has traded for during other down cycles) and will be trading at much higher multiples or greater earnings when the global economy gets under way again.

That sums it up nicely, but focus on that one caveat: Sure, the debt dilemma has been pushed down the road, but it's still there. Cemex's overall debt load is still massive. Someday, somehow, it'll need to be dealt with. Just yesterday, the company said it'll issue $1 billion of stock associated with debt restructuring. That's quite dilutive. And further debt-servicing measures down the road could wreak havoc on common shareholders.

The hope, then, relies on the prospect of global economies returning to healthy levels of infrastructure spending. With most economies on the mend, this doesn't seem unreasonable. And with zillions of dollars of global stimulus money targeting infrastructure prospects, near-term results could get a nice boost.

For the moment, Cemex has dodged a bullet. Several of them, actually. It's now up to management to use this new shot at life to position the company to fully exploit recovering and rebuilding economies. Frankly, the jury's still out on whether it can. If it can, you've got a grossly cheap stock on your hands. If it can't, the same myopic and overly optimistic tactics that got the company in this mess might bring it right back to trouble in due time.

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 Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. Intel is an Inside Value recommendation. Natus Medical is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation. The Fool owns shares of Intel and Cemex, and has a disclosure policy.