This article is part of our Rising Star Portfolios series.

Maybe it's true what they say about women being better investors than men. After about two months, Alyce Lomax is the top-performing investor among our Rising Stars, a group of analysts and writers who are managing real-money portfolios on Fool.com. It's too early to draw meaningful conclusions about our returns, but Alyce's impressive start has been one of the most interesting stories so far.

Below you'll find the top five performers since we started on Nov. 1.

Rising Star

Total Portfolio Return

Difference From S&P 500 Return

Alyce Lomax

5.32%

0.20%

Eric Bleeker

5.04%

(0.09%)

Anand Chokkavelu

3.37%

(1.76%)

Bryan White

3.32%

(1.81%)

Jim Mueller

2.35%

(2.78%)

Alyce has gained the early lead by investing in the steady and solid Timberland (NYSE: TBL) and Costco (Nasdaq: COST), which are up 18.5% and 3.2%, respectively. She's putting together a socially responsible portfolio. Our third-place performer, Anand Chokkavelu, has done well by taking a somewhat different tack. His portfolio includes shares of JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) and Bank of America, two companies that haven't turned up on too many socially responsible screens of late.

Perhaps the most striking result, however, is how well the market has done since Nov. 2, our first day of performance tracking. Alyce has been the only one to outpace the S&P 500, which has advanced more than 5%. We're confident, though, that more and more of our analysts will outperform as they patiently deploy their remaining cash positions in outstanding investing ideas.

While our portfolios may have struggled to keep up with the market, several of our individual picks have done spectacularly so far. And as whole as of Dec. 23, 69% of our picks were beating the market, as measured on Motley Fool CAPS. Here are our top five picks:

Company

Return

Original Recommendation

ION Geophysical (NYSE: IO) 36.52% Article
Cirrus Logic (Nasdaq: CRUS) 25.74% Article
Timberland 19.28% Article
Power-One (Nasdaq: PWER) 18.23% Article
Wet Seal (Nasdaq: WTSLA) 15.34% Article

Returns from Motley Fool CAPS through Dec. 23.

Rising Star analyst Bryan White brought ION Geophysical to our attention, arguing that the seismic company was "just too cheap to pass up." He notes that ION Geophysical has recently returned to profitability and should provide investors with "plenty of upside levered to a rebound in exploration." Be sure to read Bryan's buy recommendation to hear his entire investing thesis.

We try harder
So why should investors care about our free stock recommendations, when they can find hundreds of stock ideas on the Internet every single day? I'd say they should pay very close attention for three reasons:

  1. We track all of our Rising Star stock recommendations, so we're accountable for every recommendation we put out there.
  2. Our analysts are building track records that they will carry around with them for the rest of their careers. They take this very seriously.
  3. We're subjecting our analysts and their picks to a much higher level of due diligence than you'll find on other free sites.

With all of this in mind, please join us on www.risingstars.fool.com. We want to build the best, free investing service out there, and we want you to be part of it.

This article is part of our Rising Star Portfolios series, where we give some of our most promising stock analysts cold, hard cash to manage on the Fool's behalf. We'd like you to track our performance and benefit from these real-money, real-time free stock picks. See all of our Rising Star analysts (and their portfolios).

John Reeves owns shares of Costco. Costco is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Costco and Timberland are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. The Fool owns shares of Cirrus Logic, Costco Wholesale, ION Geophysical, JPMorgan, Power-One, and Timberland. Through different Rising Stars real-money portfolios, The Motley Fool has a long position and a short position in Bank of America. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.