Successful investing requires you to think independently and stick to your convictions. That's hard enough with stocks that are generally popular -- after all, in the stock market, there's a seller for every buyer. But it gets even tougher with stocks that can't seem to find good press or bullish investors anywhere. Of course, defying popular opinion has led many contrarian investors to great returns.

In that spirit, I've headed to Motley Fool CAPS to dig up some unloved stocks that have delivered big gains to shareholders over the past month. Our community of investors has put each of these companies on the bottom two rungs of the CAPS rating scale:

Stock

30-Day Return

One-Year Return

CAPS Rating

Symantec (Nasdaq: SYMC)

22.0%

5.5%

**

SunOpta (Nasdaq: STKL)

20.2%

(48.4%)

*

H&R Block (NYSE: HRB)

17.7%

9.2%

*

Freddie Mac (NYSE: FRE)

13.7%

(57.5%)

*

XM Satellite Radio (Nasdaq: XMSR)

15.6%

14.3%

**

Motorola (NYSE: MOT)

10.5%

(44.0%)

**

Fifth Third Bancorp (Nasdaq: FITB)

8.7%

(45.6%)

*

Data from Motley Fool CAPS as of May 14.

Now, given CAPS' knack for accurately gauging winners and losers, I'm not recommending that you run out and buy these stocks. An index set up to short CAPS' least-liked stocks has outperformed more than 98% of all other CAPS players. That said, CAPS players have proved overly negative on some high-performing stocks. Are any of the stocks in the table above the same sort of undercover rockets?

Providing the pep
The stock of Symantec, the tech giant behind the Norton family of antivirus software, has spiked since the company announced results for its quarter ended in March. Though you have to wade through the maze of GAAP and non-GAAP numbers in the press release, it was apparent that the company had a pretty successful quarter. On a non-GAAP basis, revenue for the quarter was up 13% from the prior year, and profit margins expanded, allowing Symantec to post a 36% jump in net income. Non-GAAP earnings per share were up even more and managed to top analysts' expectations by $0.02.

This is the fourth straight quarter that Symantec has topped Wall Street's expectations, and investors seem to be taking notice. The stock took a mean dive back in early 2005, when the company announced its merger with Veritas, and it has been in the penalty box since. Could Mr. Market be re-evaluating his opinion of the company?

Combing CAPS
Though Symantec has 345 outperform ratings on CAPS versus 83 underperforms, that 4-to-1 ratio isn't nearly enough to put it among the most favored ideas in the community. Despite the fact that the Symantec bulls outnumber the bears, they have been far less vocal as to why they think the company has the right stuff. Most of the bulls have cited the continued importance of data security and Symantec's leadership in the industry.

The bears, meanwhile, have spoken out a bit more. Their concerns range from poor opinions of the consumer product to industry competition to inept management. Arctic00 put his thumbs down on the stock in early April and said:

Symantec continues to suffer from management missteps and lack of financial discipline. The promised synergies have never materialized, many projects flounder for years with inept leadership, and headcount is bloated. Sell and hope for dismemberment.

So what's your take? Is there good reason to get more bullish on Symantec right now or are its sunnier days numbered? Head over to CAPS and let the community of more than 100,000 Fools know what you think. While you're there, you can start your research on any of the other stocks listed above or any of the 5,600 stocks on CAPS.

More CAPS Foolishness:

Symantec is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer didn't see these particular moves coming, but he's rarely surprised at Mr. Market's general tomfoolery. He does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. The Fool's disclosure policy uses Microsoft's antivirus software, but only because it has a crush on Melinda Gates.