When a stock hits a fresh high, it can mean that it’s on its way to greatness -- or that it has run its course. Even with the risk of the latter, searching for these outperformers can reveal companies that are doing something right, much to their investors' delight.

Let’s dig deeper
With that in mind, we'll use the aggregate intelligence of the 140,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS to find stocks hitting 52-week highs today. The community's approval (signified by four- and five-star ratings) could be a sign that further research is in order.

Here are three such stocks:

Company

Today’s Intraday Price

Industry

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Fools Saying Outperform

Noble Corp (NYSE:NE)

$43.11

Energy Equipment and Services

5 Stars

1958 of 1981

Unilever N.V. (ADR) (NYSE:UN)

$31.15

Food Products

4 Stars

309 of 322

United Technologies Corp (NYSE:UTX)

$65.47

Aerospace and Defense

4 Stars

1357 of 1405

Source: Motley Fool CAPS, as of October 19, 2009

Top-rated energy equipment and services companies:

  • Acergy S.A. (ADR) (NASDAQ:ACGY): Stock price is 159% higher than last year.
  • Global Industries, Ltd. (NASDAQ:GLBL): Stock price is 118% higher than last year.

Top-rated food products companies:

  • Cosan (NYSE:CZZ): Stock price is 181% higher than last year.
  • American Dairy, Inc. (NYSE:ADY): Stock price is 180% higher than last year.

Join us on CAPS to learn more about these and countless other interesting stock ideas.

Disclosure is important to us here at The Motley Fool. The stocks mentioned in this article received their CAPS ratings from participants in The Motley Fool's CAPS service and have hit 52-week highs during today's trading.

No individual person selected the stocks in this article, so there is no author to disclose an interest in them. Since this article was automatically generated by identifying the stocks loved both by the CAPS community and by buyers in today’s market, it is possible that Motley Fool personnel (and even The Motley Fool itself, through our Million Dollar Portfolio, Motley Fool Pro, and Ready Made Millionaire services), have positions in these stocks. We thought you'd like to know that. You can learn more about The Motley Fool’s disclosure policy here.