In January, the consensus of more than 27,000 investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS voted South African oil and gas company Sasol as the best stock for new money. And then in February, Helix Energy Solutions (NYSE:HLX) took the honor. Since those articles ran, the stocks are up 13% and 22%, respectively.

At first, I thought the market-beating returns might just be a coincidence, but after a few months of data, I've noticed a discernable trend: CAPS investors are picking some darn good stocks.

The top 10 CAPS stocks in January, for example, are up more than 9% on average, besting the market's 3% return -- the February group is up 8% versus the market's 1%. Maybe there's something more to these ratings than meets the eye.  

So which stocks do CAPS investors like in April? Here are the current top 10:

Company

Market Cap

Unit Corp (NYSE:UNT)

$2,556

Mueller Water

$1,667

W&T Offshore (NYSE:WTI)

$2,303

Ultra Clean Holdings

$411

Leucadia National (NYSE:LUK)

$6,655

Superior Energy (NYSE:SPN)

$3,034

Huaneng Power

$12,330

Satyam Computer (NYSE:SAY)

$7,513

inVentiv Health (NASDAQ:VTIV)

$1,165

Carpenter Tech

$3,200

Dollar figures in millions. Data provided by Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's.

As always, none of the companies on this list should be considered formal recommendations, but rather starting points for further research.

The power of community
It's worth noting that Unit Corp, a Tulsa-based oil and gas driller, has been either No. 1 or No. 2 on the CAPS investors' list every month since January and is up 24% over the period.

While searching for new stock ideas to recommend to Motley Fool Stock Advisor subscribers, Fool co-founder Tom Gardner independently stumbled across Unit Corp and was impressed by, among other things, its "attractive valuation based on earnings capacity and value of reserves in the ground." His pick, which was made on Feb. 16, is currently up 15%.

As Tom recently told us at Fool HQ, when he learned that CAPS investors had also pegged Unit Corp as a promising stock, it reaffirmed his conviction of the power of a strong investing community.

Do you want to hear what CAPS investors are saying about your stocks? You can find out by joining the CAPS community, which is 100% free. Just click here to get started.

Make seven picks on CAPS by April 24, and we'll send you a free copy of The Motley Fool Five-Star Report. Inside, you'll discover how to use CAPS as a research tool, and you will receive a recommended five-star CAPS pick poised to beat the market for the next decade or more -- one that you can easily translate into profits for your real-world portfolio. Click here to get started now!

Todd Wenning is currently ranked 185 of 27,066 rated investors in CAPS, but does not own shares of any company mentioned. Sasol is a Motley Fool Global Gains pick. inVentiv Health is a Hidden Gems choice. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.