Surprises are part of the game when it comes to picking stocks. Sometimes this can mean bad news, like one of your top stocks revealing that management has been posting anonymously to online message boards.

Other times, though, the market gets caught off guard by positive surprises from stocks that most investors thought were down for the count. In this situation, investors who stood by the stock often break out into a chorus of "I told you so," as short sellers are forced to figure out just how much pain they can take.

To dig up some of these unloved stocks that have been defying naysayers, I'm turning once again to The Motley Fool's CAPS community. Each of the companies below had been given a one-star rating (the lowest) by our community of investors just 30 days ago:


30-Day Return

One-Year Return

Current CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Hoku Scientific (NASDAQ:HOKU)




Pharmasset (NASDAQ:VRUS)








Syntax-Brillian (NASDAQ:BRLC)




Modine Manufacturing (NYSE:MOD)




US Airways (NYSE:LCC)




Iomega (NYSE:IOM)




Data from Motley Fool CAPS as of July 18.

It's important to remember that some of these stocks, particularly the smaller, more volatile ones, could just as easily reverse these big gains over the next 30 days. In some cases, though, the strength could be a sign that the prospects for the company have changed for the better, or that it had been beaten down just a little too far.

So the question with these stocks is: Are they better than CAPS players had thought, or are they just singing that proverbial swan song? The best way to get a feel for where these guys are headed is to dig in and do some research. I thought I'd kick you off with some thoughts on Hoku Scientific.

Holy Hoku, Batman!
That's not a mistake you see above -- Hoku Scientific is really up more than 75% in the last month. In fact, over just more than two months it's up more than 170%. So what gives?

It's certainly not the company's financial performance through the fiscal year completed in March. For the year, Hoku lost $2.7 million on revenue of $5.4 million, after making $1.3 million on $5.5 million in revenue in the prior year. Additionally, on the 24th, the company is announcing results for the first quarter of its 2008 fiscal year and is expected to lose $0.06 per share for the quarter.

It's the magic word "solar" that's had Hoku jumping. Though the company was founded in 2001 primarily focused on fuel-cell technologies, it announced in 2006 that it would enter the solar module and polysilicon business. Though it decided not to pursue building solar modules, it will still install third-party solar modules and is plowing full steam ahead with its plans to produce polysilicon.

The latter business is what has really been juicing Hoku's stock. Though the company doesn't expect to have polysilicon available until the first half of 2009, it has been busy signing up customers. In June alone, Hoku scored supply contracts with Suntech Power and Solar-Fabrik worth up to $678 million and $185 million, respectively.

The contracts haven't convinced CAPS players, who have been negative on the stock since it first got its rating on CAPS. billydakid, one of the top players on CAPS, gave Hoku the big red thumb and said, "This company is a scam. Numerous warnings from various sources showing inconsistencies in their financials. Lots of marketing little revenue ... creates artificial demand."

So do you think solar power is going to give Hoku a bright future? Or is the company really all hype with little substance? Head on over to CAPS and let the community know what you think. While you're there, you can start your research on any of the other stocks listed above -- or any of the 4,700-plus stocks on CAPS.

More CAPS Foolishness:

Suntech Power is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. You can find out why with a 30-day free trial of our growth-focused newsletter.

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer didn't see these particular moves coming, but he's rarely surprised at Mr. Market's general tomfoolery. You can check out Matt's CAPS portfolio here, or visit his blog. He does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. The Fool's disclosure policy is never going to give you up, it's never going to let you down, and it's definitely never going to run around and desert you.