When asked for the secret of his success, baseball player Wee Willie Keeler replied, "Hit 'em where they ain't." What worked for Willie at the plate applies equally well in investing. 

Seeking stocks that others ignore, shun, or simply forget gives individual investors like you an edge over the professionals. When Wall Street turns a blind eye, you have a chance to get in before these stocks get discovered -- or rediscovered -- and start taking off. 

Below, we'll check out companies with only a handful of analyst coverage and then pair our list with the opinions of the Motley Fool CAPS community. A stock that garners CAPS' top ratings but hasn't yet caught analysts' attention, could be your next home run investment. 


CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Wall Street Picks

Estimated EPS Growth Next Year

Alexza Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ALXA)




Great Panther Resources (NYSE: GPL)




North American Energy Partners (NYSE: NOA)




Sources: Yahoo! Finance; Motley Fool CAPS; NA = not available

Remember, without much analyst support, you'll have to do your own scouting to see whether these stocks deserve a spot on your portfolio's roster. Don't just buy or sell them based solely on their appearance here. 

Hiding in plain sight
As is customary when the FDA issues a complete response letter, Alexza Pharmaceuticals got hammered last October, after the regulatory agency said that Alexza's bipolar drug candidate AZ-004, which it's looking to market with Valeant Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: VRX), needed to address concerns about respiratory effects and manufacturing processes before it was ready for review. Alexza has taken its time addressing the issues and appears poised to resubmit its application next month.

Some analysts think Alexza should be able to get its loxapine formulation approved by early 2012, which would obviously provide it with some strong catalysts for growth. Loxapine is already on the market in various forms now, but Alexza differentiates its therapy through the delivery system -- a proprietary aerosol technology that rapidly treats agitation in schizophrenic or bipolar patients.

The CAPS community is pretty bullish on Alexza's potential, and CAPS member prophetofprofit7 sees three reasons investors expect the biotech to outperform the market.

-Good solid earnings report from Q410 after previous losses.

-[Staccato] inhalation process is awesome.

-FDA approval is key.

Let us know in rapid-fire succession in the comments section below or on the Alexza Pharmaceuticals CAPS page what you think the of the biotech's chances of gaining the necessary approval.

Is the QE3 sailing?
The commodities correction that flew into high gear last month ought to have precious-metal investors re-examining their holdings ... and preparing to buy more! There doesn't seem to have been any real change in the underlying factors that helped silver miners such as Coeur D'Alene Mines (NYSE: CDE) to jump 270% over the past year or Pan American Silver to double. Even Great Panther Resources went from less than $1 a share to more than $5, although it's now given back 42% of those gains.

Almost as soon as the horrible economic numbers came out last week, the pundits began debating whether Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke would start pumping even more money into the economy through a third round of quantitative easing. We've been whistling past the graveyard, and the latest reports showed that the ghosts are coming back to haunt us. Job growth is down, unemployment is up, and analysts are scrambling to revise downward their predictions for GDP growth. Inflationary pressures remain bubbling under the surface that will benefit silver still.

It's that pressure that has CAPS member JaysRage getting excited about Great Panther's retrenchment.

I think significant inflation has already been seeded. I like PMs and other commodities for the short and intermediate term. I do not believe that rate hikes are coming soon, because it would be a death knell to the phantom recovery, and I think that significant debt reduction moving toward a full term election is unlikely, and anything after that is far too late.

Give us your opinion on the Great Panther Resources CAPS page, or add it to your watchlist to see whether this is truly a precious opportunity.

A big hole
When oil and gas industry services provider North American Energy Partners reported that it was going to write down $40 million or so related to the heavy-equipment work going on at a damaged oil-sands project owned by Canadian Natural Resources -- with the possibility of $72 million more being written off -- shares plummeted by 21%. It then announced that CNR was suspending the work there. North American it can redeploy its equipment to other customers such as Suncor (NYSE: SU), and the loss of the low-margin work represented by the Canadian Natural project could actually help improve margins and cash flow.

The need for the services North American provides continues to grow, as recognized by the five-year contract extension with Suncor and new contract wins with Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS-A) and Synecrude. That's probably why, with more than 100 CAPS All-Stars rating the company, only one thinks it will have difficulty beating the broad market indexes.

Add North American Energy Partners to the Fool's free portfolio tracker, and see whether it can dig up new opportunities as the Canadian Natural situation works itself out.

Swing for the fences
When seeking investments where no one else is looking, Motley Fool CAPS is the best place to start your own research. 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 whether these hidden stock opportunities will help us go one up on Wall Street.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.