"The bigger they are, the harder they fall." This old saying sums up the worst nightmare of every homeowner, every gold buyer, and every investor in today's market. Dare ye buy at the top?

Every day, Nasdaq.com publishes a list of the market's top stocks -- the companies whose shares have just hit their highest intraday price of any time in the past 52 weeks. Every day, investors read this list and tremble -- some with greed (big mo', baby!), and others in pure, unmitigated, acrophobic terror (whatever you do, don't look down).

Over on Motley Fool CAPS, thousands of investors just like you are watching these same companies and voting their gut on whether they'll keep rising or stumble and fall. The ratings usually wax optimistic as stocks hit new highs -- because everyone loves a winner. But what do you make of it when some of the smartest investors out there are panning a hot stock?

You could heed them. You could ignore them. You could take the stock tickers and construct anagrams from 'em. For my money, though, the best course of action is to use the "52 Week High" list as just a starting point for further research. After all, stocks can go up for many reasons, and it's up to you to decide how worthy those reasons are. But thanks to Motley Fool CAPS, you don't have to make the decisions alone.

With that said, let's meet today's list of contenders, drawn from the latest "52 Week High" list at Nasdaq.com. What does our panel of more than 73,000 stock gurus have to say about them?

One Year Ago

Currently Fetching

CAPS Rating

Turkcell  (NYSE:TKC)




Sasol  (NYSE:SSL)




Mobile Telesystems  (NYSE:MBT)




Priceline.com  (NASDAQ:PCLN)




Gafisa S.A.  (NYSE:GFA)




* Gafisa shares began trading in the U.S. as American depositary shares on March 16, 2007, priced at $24.88 per ADS. Five stars = highest CAPS rating; one star = lowest. Companies are selected from the "NASDAQ 52 Week High" list published on Nasdaq.com on the Saturday following close of trading last week. Pricing provided by Yahoo! Finance.

Get ready for the fall: international edition
There's no denying it -- last week was a rough one for investors. On Friday, 360 listings on the NYSE -- more than one out of every eight securities trading on there -- hit their 52-week lows. But if the sky seems to be falling in NYC, there's still a whole wide world out there where stocks are doing well. In demonstration of which, today's list of stocks consists almost entirely of companies based outside the U.S.

Is that a tear I see, on Lady Liberty? Well let's cheer the old gal up, folks. Because we're not all bad (there's still one U.S. representative on today's list: Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation Priceline.com), and they're not all great.

According to CAPS, at least one of these foreign companies may not be all that its stratospheric stock suggests. Just 70% of the CAPS All-Star investors who piped up on the company expect Brazilian homebuilder Gafisa S.A. to outperform the S&P 500 going forward. (While that may sound like a lot, it's actually a bit on the low side for our usually optimistic stock pickers.)

Build-a-bear, anyone?
Why is that so? I'm afraid I don't know. While 19 investors have given Gafisa the thumbs-down on CAPS, not one of them has penned a pitch explaining why.

No matter. I think I can flesh out a bear thesis on this one: For years, the world's housing markets have tracked that of the U.S., heading straight up. Now that domestic homebuilders like Lennar (NYSE:LEN) and Centex (NYSE:CTX) are in the dumps, can the rest of the world be far behind? Sure, most of the CAPS players who've penned pitches on Gafisa think the opposite -- that you should own Gafisa precisely because its U.S. peers are in the dumps, as a sort of hedging strategy. But when I compare the metrics, I see an awful lot of risk in Gafisa.

Consider: In the U.S., Centex and Lennar both carry price-to-sales ratios near the industry average, about 0.25. Likewise with their price-to-book ratios, which approximate the average at 0.62. But Gafisa? This company trades for more than 10 times its annual sales, and more than six times its book value. If anything like what's hit the U.S. housing industry hits Brazil, I fear Gafisa's stock price will quickly join its place of business: south of the equator.

Time to chime in
See how simple it is to write a CAPS pitch. Why, to paraphrase the GEICO commercials, "It's so easy, a bear could do it."

And Gafisa bulls -- never fear, you can play, too. Come on over to Motley Fool CAPS, and explain to us why "this time, it's different."

Priceline is a pick of Motley Fool Stock Advisor, while Sasol and Turkcell are Global Gains recommendations. Take a free 30-day trial of any of the Fool's newsletters. 

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. You can find him on CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he's currently ranked No. 1,163. The Fool has a disclosure policy.