Like Joe the Plumber, China-based solar stocks burst onto the scene without warning and grabbed a lot of attention. But as with Sam (aka Joe) Wurzelbacher, investors soon realized that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to the rapidly growing number of U.S.-listed photovoltaic purveyors.

Now that the novelty has worn off, you can pick up stocks like LDK Solar (NYSE:LDK) and Suntech Power (NYSE:STP) at 70% or more off their peak prices. Is that because sales are falling through the floor? Hardly. In fact, LDK raised its third-quarter sales guidance earlier this month.

LDK's three-star rating on Motley Fool CAPS (out of five stars) reflects the fact that while the overall solar industry appears to have a bright future, investors are having a tough time getting too bullish on individual solar stocks. This hasn't stopped CAPS All-Star SoCoCreamery from being all over LDK though. Starting in November 2007 this investor has rated LDK an outperformer on three separate occasions (including one earlier this month) and has earned more than 125 points for the timely calls.

SoCoCreamery is one of CAPS' All-Stars -- players with a rating of 80 or greater -- and has managed a stock-picking accuracy of 65% on the calls while racking up more than 1,700 points. LDK hasn't been the only great call. Here's a look at a few of this member's other prescient picks:

Company

Date Picked

Call

Points

CAPS Rating
(5 max)

Lehman Brothers

9/11/08

Underperform

100

*

Fannie Mae (NYSE:FNM)

8/19/08

Underperform

80

**

Freddie Mac (NYSE:FRE)

8/19/08

Underperform

74

**

Data from CAPS. Points = how many percentage points the call is beating the S&P 500 by since the time of the call.

So what is this investor looking at these days? Here are a few more recent calls on CAPS:

Company

Date Picked

Call

CAPS Rating

Transocean (NYSE:RIG)

10/16/08

Outperform

*****

Halliburton (NYSE:HAL)

10/10/08

Outperform

****

Valero (NYSE:VLO)

10/10/08

Outperform

****

Data from CAPS.

While these picks may not all pan out, they could be a good place to start further research. I decided to take a closer at Transocean.

Looking for an energy bounce
If the past few years were one of the biggest oil parties on record, then over the past few months there have been some wicked hangovers kicking in. With oil running up to nearly $150 per barrel, the excitement fanned out to the entire sector, boosting shares for not only those actively producing oil, but those looking for it, surveying potential sites, drilling for it, and providing an endless array of products and services to support it.

Now that the price for oil can't seem to find its bottom with both hands, shares of companies like Halliburton, Transocean, and Valero have all been cut sharply. After all, if people aren't paying top dollar for oil, then companies aren't going to be clamoring to pay Transocean a king's ransom to drill for it in the depths of the ocean, right?

Possibly, but CAPS members aren't convinced, particularly when it comes to Transocean. The stock has been rated by more than 4,600 members, and 4,555 of them have called the stock an outperformer. Raincross50 recently put a thumb up on Transocean and wrote:

Although oil prices have been falling recently, there will be a strong push toward more offshore oil and natural gas drilling due to the current desire to reduce dependence on foreign oil. Opening up new offshore oil fields to new exploration should benefit this company for the next several years.

So what's your take on Transocean? Will it be able to continue its strong performance of the past few years, or is there weakness ahead? Get in the action by clicking over to the CAPS community. It's absolutely free and already has more than 120,000 stock pickers chipping in to find the best stocks out there.

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Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. The Fool's disclosure policy is drinking its coffee out of a pumpkin-shaped mug.