However hard the market slams a stock, there's always the chance it'll come bouncing right back. We'll consult our Motley Fool CAPS community to find shares on the rebound, examining one specific sector of the economy in search of companies with rising CAPS ratings.          

There are 62 stocks listed under "computer hardware" in the CAPS' screener, but only a select group of them carry well-respected four- and five-star ratings. Those accolades mean our 180,000 CAPS members are confident that these stocks will beat the market in the months ahead. Let's see what members are saying about the ones below:


CAPS Rating Today (out of 5)

Recent Price

52-Week Price Change

Estimated 5-Year Growth Rate

Brocade Communications (Nasdaq: BRCD)





Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO)





Riverbed Technology (Nasdaq: RVBD)





Sources: Motley Fool CAPS, Yahoo! Finance.

The markets have been on a roller-coaster ride lately, but with the S&P 500 up about 22% over the past year, it might be surprising to learn that the CAPS computer hardware stocks have done appreciably better, rising 37% on average in that same time span. So let's take a closer look at why investors think some of these other companies won't be jumping from the frying pan into the fire even if the markets turn downward again.

Hitting 'em while they're down
Over the past year, Brocade Communications' shares are up nicely, but in the past 30 days, the stock is down 12%, with much of that coming in just the last week as Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) decided to buy Force10 Networks.

It's well known that Dell is looking to buy its way into different markets to offset the decline of the PC business. Investors had been hoping Brocade would be a Dell target, as Brocade would give the computer maker the networking capabilities it currently lacks. The Force10 acquisition, though, puts that speculation in doubt. It also raises questions of whether Dell will continue to resell Brocade's products going forward.

Yet that's the exact same strategy Brocade has pursued against Cisco lately. Using its contracts with Dell, IBM, and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ), Brocade has encroached on traditional Cisco fiefdoms like Ethernet switches, where it hopes a new fabric will create an intelligent base for cloud-optimized networking that will give it greater leverage. The rivals have been only too willing to help unseat the heretofore king.

By the way, that helps explain why Cisco is doing so poorly in comparison with the rest of the industry. CEO John Chambers knows there's something wrong -- and some analysts contend it's him -- but Juniper Networks, Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), and Finisar all feel the time is ripe to make a move against the networking giant.

Earlier this year, CAPS member H8CAGERS had been counting on an acquisition to bolster the investment thesis in Brocade, and 95% of the broader CAPS community rating the equipment leader think it can still outperform the broad market averages. With nearly 11,000 CAPS members weighing in, a similar percentage sees Cisco beating the Street, too.

Let us know on the Brocade Communications CAPS page whether you think the buyout option is still on the table, and head over to the Cisco CAPS page with your views on whether it will come out of its current troubles on the right side.

A miss is a miss?
As difficult as the networking business is here in the U.S., it's just as bad in Europe, as both F5 Networks (Nasdaq: FFIV) and Riverbed Technology saw their shares tumble after revenues came up short overseas.

But Riverbed's cloud-computing prospects remain the biggest driver for the company, and it made two acquisitions recently to help fend off F5's own strength in the space. CEO Jerry Kennelly says the company remains an attractive stock for investors who are willing to overlook a negligible miss on revenues.

At around 100 times trailing earnings and 27 times forward estimates, Riverbed doesn't exactly look cheap, even though shares are almost 25% cheaper than they were a week ago. Unlike the CEO, highly rated CAPS All-Star member TSIF thinks the minuscule revenue miss is a much larger problem.

Riverbed only missed analyst estimates by a fraction, but the market is looking for high beats from [companies] at this phase. Riverbed still states that … they could grow revenue by $1 Billion over three years. Analysts are holding their buy rating after the retrace. Overall, I think Riverbed is still overpriced for expectations.

Let us know on the Riverbed Technology CAPS page whether you think this is a flash in the pan or a stock that investors really should check out.

The ball's in your court
There are many factors that go into whether a stock is a buy or sell, so 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. Head over to CAPS today and share your thoughts with other investor analysts on whether you think these stocks are ready to bound higher.

The Motley Fool owns shares of IBM and Cisco and has created a bull call spread position on Cisco. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Cisco and Riverbed Technology, as well as shorting Juniper Networks. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey owns shares of Cisco but has no financial position in any of the other stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.