No one has perfect foresight, but let's be honest: The market is full of people who, as Oscar Wilde would say, know "the price of everything and the value of nothing." Far too often -- over the past year especially -- investors have been pitched sensational stock recommendations only to be left high and dry as shares crumble.  

To hunt down top-recommended stocks that have been rewarding investors accordingly, I summoned our Motley Fool CAPS community to point out a few four- or five-star stocks that have gone gangbusters in recent weeks. Data we've compiled shows that CAPS' top-rated stocks easily outperform the market.

While not formal buy recommendations, these four-week bloomers caught my attention:


4-Week Price Change

Recent Share Price

2009 EPS Estimates

CAPS Rating 
(5 max)

Northgate Minerals (AMEX:NXG)





Oshkosh (NYSE:OSK)





Macquarie Infrastructure (NYSE:MIC)





Synaptics (NASDAQ:SYNA)










Data from Motley Fool CAPS and Yahoo! Finance. Price change from Dec. 19 - Jan. 14 as generated when the author ran the screen. Recent price is Jan. 15 close.

You can rerun the CAPS screen I used by clicking here

Uncle Sam -- the last refuge
Consumers are wallowing. Global trade is plunging. China is slowing at a dangerous pace. Banks are holding on for dear life. Even the Russian oligarchs are starting to crumble. It's a mess.

But is every member of the economy really screeching to a halt? Absolutely not. In fact, the largest and deepest-pocketed player -- the U.S. government -- is spending money like there's no tomorrow.

For Oshkosh Truck, it's that government backstop that's catching our CAPS community's attention; some members view the company as somewhat of a safe haven. As CAPS player Luckyeagle pointed out last month:

In the short term Oshkosh is going to be awarded (and has already been awarded) several military contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Oshkosh is a specialty truck maker and there are few of these companies that can compete for this business. The military will need to replace many vehicles lost in Iraq and will also need new designs for the future. 

In the long term Oshkosh will continue to produce fire engines, cement trucks, garbage trucks and as the economy returns to normal the purchases of these machines will increase and Oshkosh will be able to rely on its basic business for the long term.

Sure enough, Oshkosh has been handed two big military contracts over the past few months. In October, the company announced a $1.2 billion three-year contract with the Army, and then earlier this month it announced a Defense Logistics Agency contract worth a potential $1.12 billion. Pretty sweet, eh? In an economy that can't stop pummeling investors with dismal news, having the relative stability of military and municipal contracts might be as close to recession-proof as it gets.

And let's not forget why Oshkosh shares have been on a tear lately: They were absolutely hammered in 2008, falling more than 75%. Sure, a lot of that plunge was warranted, as a crumbling construction market and soaring fuel prices overwhelmed Oshkosh and other mega-vehicle companies such as Terex (NYSE:TEX) and Thor Industries (NYSE:THO). But the negativity got way out of hand, sending Oshkosh's shares into the low single digits before they exploded in late November.

So is the party over after the recent surge? I certainly don't see it that way. Even after the big rally, shares trade at less than seven times 2009 earnings expectations and an incredible 4.6 times 2010 estimates. Yeah, the biggest gains might be behind us, but Oshkosh still looks attractive on valuation alone. Throw in a 3.3% dividend, and there's still hope for this stock.

You take it from here
Our CAPS community is digging in search of opportunities like Oshkosh and slews of others. There are more than 125,000 investors pitching in to help each other beat the market. Click here to give it a try right now; you don't want to miss our "Made Off" contest.

Further Foolishness:

On Jan. 12, 2009, Fool co-founder David Gardner, Jeff Fischer, and their Motley Fool Pro team will accept new subscribers to their real-money portfolio service. Motley Fool Pro is investing $1 million of the Fool's own money in long and short positions in a range of securities, including common stocks, put and call options, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). They also incorporate proprietary CAPS "community intelligence" data into their research. To learn more about Motley Fool Pro and to receive a private invitation to join, simply enter your email address in the box below.

Fool contributor Morgan Housel doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. Thor Industries is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems Pay Dirt pick. The Fool owns shares of Terex. The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.