When large caps make a run for it, Fools pay attention.

Think of Motley Fool Inside Value pick Microsoft. After years of poor performance, Mr. Softy and his $300 billion-plus market cap kicked into gear last month, enriching investors who bought and stayed in.

Hence this column. As much money as investors can make from fast-movers like Cognos (NASDAQ:COGN) and Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation II-VI (NASDAQ:IIVI) , both of which hit new 52-week highs last week, the turtle often beats the hare. Here's a look at Friday's finest terrapins, courtesy of The Wall Street Journal:


Closing Price

CAPS Rating (Out of 5)

% Change

52-Week Range

Progressive (NYSE:PGR)





Avon Products





Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT)





Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS)





BlackRock (NYSE:BLK)





Sources: The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo! Finance, Motley Fool CAPS.

Shares of our top gainer, insurer Progressive, were up for reasons not yet reported. So be it. We Fools prefer buy-to-hold stock stories anyway. Are any of our large-cap leaders worth owning over the next three to five years?

Not really -- if you believe the 73,000-plus professional and amateur stock pickers in our Motley Fool CAPS community. Don't read too much into that, though. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), like Progressive, has been a two-star stock for much of its life in CAPS -- and it's been a seven-bagger. 

Progressive can't claim anywhere near the same record. But it could be a budding value. CAPS industry tracker NetscribeInsurance explains:

[Progressive's] combined ratio of 86.7% in 2006 has been a decent improvement of 1.4% from 2005, and estimated 96% due to decreasing loss expense ratio. This has enabled it to earn a solid return on capital ... Hence the firm is taking the pricing gloves off to gain market share.

For investor jpmgator06, the thesis for Progressive is based on valuation:

A great, stable business. Along with GEICO, they are the two low cost providers in auto insurance ... Market share will only increase over time. P/E [below]10 and selling at 30% less than [its five-year] P/E average.

I'll add that, as much as I enjoy owning a stake in GEICO via Berkshire Hathaway, I think Progressive's marketing, like its pricing, is comparable -- and occasionally better. I'd be tempted to buy on weakness.

What about you? What would you do? Let us know by signing up for CAPS today. It's 100% free to participate.

See you back here tomorrow for more of the best of the biggest.

Cap off your day with related CAPS Foolishness:

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers, who is ranked 13,044 out of more than 73,000 participants in CAPS, owned shares of Berkshire Hathaway at the time of publication. Find Tim's portfolio here and his latest blog commentary here. Microsoft, Berkshire Hathaway, and Discover are Inside Value picks. Berkshire Hathaway is also a Stock Advisor recommendation. The Motley Fool holds stock in Berkshire Hathaway. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy doesn't need to be large in order to be in charge, but it is.