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 watercooler daily to rate stocks and delve into their merits as investments.

Our 160,000-strong CAPS community -- where members give the thumbs-up or thumbs-down to some 5,400 stocks -- seeks businesses it thinks will outperform the market. Below, we'll take a look at some of the most popular and talked-about stocks in the CAPS universe, and examine whether you think they'll continue their winning ways.

Stock

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

No. of Calls

Outperform Calls

Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq: ATVI)

****

5,741

97%

Altria (NYSE: MO)

*****

8,326

96%

Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK)

****

7,027

97%

ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM)

****

7,149

93%

Pfizer

****

5,749

90%

A tall drink of water
It's not "game over" for Activision Blizzard, but February sales for some of its franchises probably won't be the shoot-'em-up investors have become accustomed to. Industry analysts at NPD Group will release the sales figures later today, and they're expecting tepid numbers at best. Activision's Guitar Hero and Rock Band from rival Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS) should suffer heavy declines from last year. Call of Duty will continue to be the rock upon which Activision rests, but Take-Two Interactive (Nasdaq: TTWO) had a lower-than-expected launch to its BioShock 2 offering.

Although Peter Lynch suggested we buy what we know, CAPS member Walker6464 thinks investors are making the wrong distinction in their love affair with the popular game maker: "People are getting emotional because they like the games produced, but just because they make great games does not make this a great stock to buy."

A slick deal
ExxonMobil and Marathon Oil (NYSE: MRO) ought to benefit from the latest inventory data from the Energy Information Administration. The data showed stockpiles rising by 1.4 million barrels last week -- below the anticipated increase, though still a bump upward. Combined with gas stockpiles dropping by 2.9 million barrels, and a fall in distillates as well, the news suggests an improved demand environment for oil.

But Chesapeake Energy isn't so lucky; it faces much higher inventory levels during the post-winter period. Temperatures are expected to be milder than normal, and although inventories shrank 111 billion cubic feet last week, the Energy Department says they remain above the five-year average.

CAPS member jeffgoz remains unconcerned, asserting that natural gas will be the nation's future fuel:

The US energy crisis will be resolved with our 100 year supply of clean burning natural gas. We will continue to ship [coal] to China (good for the rails) and consume natural gas. forget coal forget solar forget biofuel. nat gas is the answer. Nuclear to far off and to costly.

Put that in your pipe
Ongoing costs of litigation remain substantial for Altria and other cigarette makers, but CAPS All-Star edwjm says that if you're going to invest in these companies, you're going to have to accept high legal expenses as a cost of doing business:

Altria Group, Inc. (NYSE: MO) deals in the most addictive legal drug in the country! Yes, litigation is a major expense, but as long as they are making oodles of money, they can afford such expenses. They have pricing power great enough to pass on all tax increases. This is a safe company with a very safe dividend. At the current price of $20.77, the p/e is less than 13� and the dividend is 6.9%.

Gather 'round
With so many good opinions about today's top companies, why not grab a pointy paper cup from the dispenser and join us at the Motley Fool CAPS watercooler? Your input can help guide other investors to stocks with bright prospects for growth. 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.

Chesapeake Energy and Pfizer are Motley Fool Inside Value choices. Take-Two Interactive Software is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Motley Fool Options has recommended a synthetic long position on Activision Blizzard. The Fool owns shares of Activision Blizzard and Chesapeake Energy. 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 here. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.