Although there will always be differences of opinion, these are some of the Motley Fool CAPS community's most favored companies. So why does the professional analyst community look down on them?

Below, we'll look closer at a handful of companies with four- and five-star ratings, the highest in CAPS because members think they have the best chance of outperforming the market. Yet Wall Street still can't muster up enough opinions to agree.

So who's got it right? The professional analysts, sitting in their paneled offices, or a motley crew of community investors pooling their best thoughts for others to share? We've got an idea about who will come out ahead: How about you?


CAPS Rating 
(out of 5)

Wall Street Bullish Sentiment

Petrobras Argentina (NYSE: PZE) **** 0%
Piedmont Natural Gas (NYSE: PNY) **** 0%
Suburban Propane (NYSE: SPH) **** 50%

Source: Motley Fool CAPS.

Now as much as we love our CAPS community, don't invest in these companies just because they've earned many stars. And don't sell just because Wall Street looks down on them, either. Investing requires a closer look on your part, so use these ratings as a launching pad for your own research.

A ray of hope
To start off 2010, the CAPS community identified Petrobras Argentina as one of a number of stocks that looked poised to capitalize on growth opportunities this year. Particularly when you compared how the market valued its stock with ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) and BP (NYSE: BP) before the Gulf of Mexico disaster, Petrobras Argentina was a steal. It seems the investor community was spot-on.

Petrobras Argentina shares are up 75% this year while Exxon is up only 10%. While we'll never know how BP would have performed had the Deepwater Horizon rig never exploded, its shares are down 21% in 2010 (though they're a heck of a lot higher than they were at their low in July).

But Wall Street isn't giving Petrobras Argentina any credit now, either. With Argentina expecting its economy to grow 3.5% to 6.5% in 2011 after growing 8.4% this year, that would put it ahead of Brazil, where most investors tend to focus. Yet with most South American economies offering strong growth opportunities, it's easy to see why the CAPS community is expecting Petrobras Argentina to grow with them.

Add your thoughts on the Petrobras Argentina CAPS page.

Checking the temperature
Admittedly, it's hard to get excited by a natural gas company these days, considering the depressed state of the market. Prices are down historically, inventory is up, and more drilling is under way. While Baker Hughes (NYSE: BHI) reports that natural gas rigs counts are down in December, the industry is still well above the number it had in operation a year ago

Despite the debate on global warming, Piedmont Natural Gas reported record earnings this year, helped along by temperatures that were 6% colder than average and 4% colder than last year. Interestingly, though, Suburban Propane's earnings fell for the year: It blamed milder temperatures during the peak heating season. AmeriGas Partners offers that the temperatures were 2% warmer than normal this year, but colder than last year! Apparently, even utilities can't figure out the weather.

For Piedmont, it's not so much that analysts find the natural gas utility a poor investment, just that they don't see it appreciating much. They've all downgraded the stock to a hold rating, suggesting it's a relatively safe, straightforward investment that pays a near-4% dividend. CAPS member gunner2010 seems to agree, saying the charts point to better opportunities after the new year.

Always drops off - 20% after December,Sell now and buy back in later is indicated by the charts.

While analysts are split on whether Suburban Propane can excel, CAPS All-Stars are near unanimous in their view about the utility. Of the more than 100 All-Stars rating the gas company, 97% say it will turn in market-beating results.

You can let us know what you think in the comments section below or on the Suburban Propane CAPS page, and then add it to the Fool's free portfolio tracker to have all the news and analysis about the utility gathered for you in one place.

What's wrong with that?
It pays to start your own research on these stocks on Motley Fool CAPS. 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 tell us which side of the street will win.

Piedmont Natural Gas is a Motley Fool Income Investor pick. The Fool owns shares of ExxonMobil. 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.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey does not have a financial position in any of the stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.