'Tis the season for picking the best stock investments for the new year! Fools know better than to put their nest eggs into short-term stock predictions, but holiday traditions are hard to resist, like drinking eggnog, putting plastic reindeer antlers on the dogs, and playing Twister while singing Christmas carols.

About the same time as we start fixing holiday lights onto our lawn ornaments every year, we enter the "10 Best Stocks" predictions from Fortune into CAPS. TrackFortune2009 performed respectably, returning 31% across Fortune's Top 10 Stocks for 2009 picks -- slightly better than the S&P, which returned 29.8% in 2009.

As I pour our first round of holiday cheer into your glass, I have to ask: How did the picks from the CAPS community fare versus the wisdom of Fortune's Wall Street wizards? What companies are on Fortune's list for 2010, and what does the CAPS community think about those stocks?

Wipe the eggnog off your chin and join me as we put on our Foolish stocking caps and are visited by the Ghost of Market Past. He's a jolly, right good friend who laughs at our mistakes and celebrates our successes, who will soon be followed by the Ghost of Market Future: a dark and dour Fool who nonetheless wants to dream peacefully of next year's home run stocks ...

The Ghost of Market Past
Let's take a closer look at Fortune's "Best Stocks for 2009" picks, followed by the top 10 rated tickers on CAPS as of Jan. 2, 2009:

Fortune's Top 10 Stocks for 2009

Sector

January 2009 CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Current CAPS Rating (out of 5)

TTM Gross Return

Diamond Offshore Drilling

Energy

****

*****

74.65%

Fluor

Industrials

****

*****

2.47%

Medco Health Solutions

Health care

*****

****

51.56%

Annaly Capital Management

Financials

**

**

15.51%

Altria Group (NYSE:MO)

Consumer staples

*****

****

37.5%

Dell (NASDAQ:DELL)

Informaton technology

**

**

31.2%

Pfizer (NYSE:PFE)

Health care

****

****

9.34%

Johnson and Johnson (NYSE:JNJ)

Health care

**

**

10.09%

Devon Energy

Energy

*****

*****

14.34%

Potash (NYSE:POT)

Materials

****

****

63.59%

Those returns look pretty good, with (as noted above) the average return of a little more than 31% edging out the S&P's 29.8%. 

But what's this? Heavens to Betsy, the Ghost of Market Past is filling our cups with wassail and revealing the top 10 rated stocks on CAPS as of Jan. 2, 2009. Hark, the CAPS investors sing!

CAPS Top 10 Rated Tickers

Sector

January 2009 CAPS Rating

Current CAPS Rating

TTM Gross Return

Barloworld Limited

Industrials

*****

*****

33.10%

SPDR DJ Wilshire Small Cap Value

Domestic Equity

*****

*****

38.42%

Silicom Limited

Information Technology

*****

*****

73.95%

LaCrosse Footwear

Consumer Discretionary

*****

*****

7.72%

Naspers Limited

Consumer Discretionary

*****

**

130%

Horizon Financial

Financials

*****

No Rating

(93.51%)

iShares S&P Global Industrials Sector

Sector Equity (Industrials)

*****

***

31.87%

RMR Asia Pacific Real Estate Fund

Sector Equity (Int'l Real Estate)

*****

**

180.97%

Edgewater Technology

Information Technology

*****

*****

2.15%

OpenTV

Information Technology

*****

*****

22.89%

Just what I'd expect from the CAPS community: A bit more of a motley selection, but with average TTM returns coming in at 43%, we soundly trounced the market as well as the poor Wall Street gurus over at Fortune. But what were you Fools thinking with Horizon Financial Corp.?

Let's ask the Ghost of Market Past why we fall for such market losers ... hey, where did he go? Did that wassail make you a little dizzy? Who is this dark figure? Is that Stocks 360 in your hand? Ah, an app for next year's winning stocks ... this must be the Ghost of Market Future.

The Ghost of Market Future
Let's start once again with those celebrated soothsayers from Fortune, with their predictions for the 10 Best Stocks for 2010:

Company

Industry

Current CAPS Rating

Salesforce.com

Information technology

*

American Tower Corp

Telecommunications

**

Petrohawk Energy Corporation

Energy

*****

Vornado Realty Trust

Financials

*

MasterCard

Information technology

**

Amedisys

Health care

**

Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM)

Information technology

****

Baxter International

Health care

****

Quanta Services

Industrials

*****

Renhe Commerical Holdings

Chinese industrial development

(not rated)

But, O Ghost of Market Future, the CAPS community really doesn't think much of these stocks. What can that mean? How will the future unfold? What are you trying to show me with this Stocks 360? It wouldn't be fair to compare these picks with the top 10 rated stocks on CAPS, you say? It hardly figures that the CAPS community wouldn't beat the pants off the Fortune stock picks? Ah, I see now that you've entered these stocks into Stocks 360 to see what the CAPS community would choose as alternatives to these Fortune picks (selecting an alternative from the same industry with similar market cap):

Company

Industry

Current CAPS Rating

Factset Research (Alternative for CRM)

Information Technology

*****

MTN Group (Alternative for AMT)

Telecommunications

*****

Crescent Point Energy Trust Units (Alternative for HK)

Energy

*****

ICICI Bank Limited (Alternative for VNO)

Financials

****

Western Union Company (Alternative for MA)

Information Technology

*****

Bio-Reference Laboratories (Alternative for AMED)

Health care

*****

Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) (Alternative for QCOM)

Information Technology

****

Medtronic (Alternative for BAX)

Health care

****

Metso Oyj (Alternative for PWR)

Industrials

*****

Huaneng Power International (Alternative for RNHEF.PK)

China Industrial Development

*****

Yet another motley selection of stocks. But what does this mean for me, Ghost of Market Future? What will become of my portfolio? Where did you go? Hey, you left your Stocks 360!

Oh well, at least the Ghost of Market Past left the wassail bowl. Cheers and happy holidays!

John Keeling is senior vice president of community intelligence at the Fool. Dell, Pfizer, and Western Union are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. Salesforce.com and FactSet Research are Rule Breakers recommendations. MedcoHealth Solutions and Western Union are Stock Advisor picks. Huaneng Power International and Johnson & Johnson are Income Investor selections. Motley Fool Options has recommended a position on Western Union. The Fool has a financial position in Bio-Reference Laboratories, FactSet Research Systems, Johnson & Johnson, and Medtronic. The Fool has a disclosure policy.