I've got one word for you: plastics.

Just kidding -- plastics are sooo late '60s. What I meant to say is steel. That's right -- beautifully boring steel has been a big business over the past couple of years, as the global infrastructure boom has jacked up demand for the tough metal. Metals companies around the globe that are churning out steel or providing raw materials like iron have been doing quite well as a result, and not least among them is U.S. Steel (NYSE:X).

How good have things been? U.S. Steel's second-quarter net income was more than double the figure from the previous year. That's pretty darn good.

On CAPS, more than 1,000 members are following the ups and downs of U.S. Steel and weighing in on its future. None of them has read the stock better than Ayax2006. Ayax got bullish on the steel maker back in October of 2006 and kept his thumb up until June of this year -- less than 10% away from U.S. Steel's eventual high point. Ayax's timeliness earned him a cool 174 points.

Ayax is one of CAPS' All-Stars -- players with a rating of 80 or greater -- and he has managed a stock-picking accuracy of 64% on his calls while racking up an impressive 1,925 points. U.S. Steel hasn't been his only great call. Here's a look at a few of his other prescient picks:


Date Picked



CAPS Rating (Out of 5)

Cleveland Cliffs (NYSE:CLF)





Walter Industries (NYSE:WLT)





Petrobras (NYSE:PBR)





Data from CAPS. Points is the percentage points by which a call has outperformed the S&P 500 since the time of the call.

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


Date Picked


CAPS Rating

Interactive Brokers (NASDAQ:IBKR)




Silicon Motion Technology (NASDAQ:SIMO)




National City (NYSE:NCC)




Data from CAPS.

While not all of these picks may pan out, they could be a good place to start some further research. I decided to take a closer look at Silicon Motion Technology.

Is cheap always attractive?
Occasionally, I find myself in the cereal aisle of the supermarket, staring at a box of cereal that I'm not too keen on, even though I'm a huge cereal fan in general. So what do I do? Do I pass up the sale price, or do I take advantage of the bargain and buy a cereal that I don’t like that much?

I find myself in the same position when it comes to Silicon Motion. There's little doubt that this stock is on sale. Second-quarter results were disappointing, regarding both the 2% year-over-year revenue growth and the steep drop in profit, but once you back out non-cash and one-time expenses (other than share-based compensation), you're still looking at a trailing price-to-earnings ratio that's less than 10. And though I don't know that I believe the 20% five-year growth figure that Yahoo! Finance has listed, even a growth rate well south of that would still make the stock look very attractive on a PEG basis.

Silicon Motion also sports a very attractive balance sheet with a whole bunch of cash against almost no debt.

However, I'm not particularly stoked about the business that Silicon Motion is in. The company makes controller chips for stuff like flash-memory devices and MP3 players. This is a highly competitive industry that comes under heavy pricing pressure and has relatively low start-up costs for new entrants. The flash-memory makers that the company serves are also notoriously volatile, and that characteristic doesn't lend itself well to being able to produce dependable results.

But can a valuation like this stick? Well, Actions Semiconductor, a competitor of Silicon Motion on the media-player side, has been stuck with a low valuation for a while as results continue to disappoint investors.

Most CAPS members disagree with my assessment, though, in a belief that the low price of the stock will trump everything else. CAPS member motleysmart also went beyond the valuation and explained why he thinks the future is bright for the business:

The future of [Silicon Motion] lies in [solid state drives] and mobile TV, not in cheap conventional flash controllers for mobile storage. Mobile TV business is growing at a speed faster than doubling every [year]. Specifically, it grew 129% (more than doubling) over 2007 and is currently going at a sequential 31% growth which is close to annual 200%, i.e., tripling.

So what's your take on Silicon Motion? Is it just too cheap to pass up? Get in the action by headking over to CAPS. The service is absolutely free and already has more than 115,000 stock pickers chipping in to find the best stocks out there.

More CAPS Foolishness:

Petroleo Brasileiro is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer owns no shares of any of the companies mentioned. The Fool's disclosure policy made its own great call by tuning into the Olympic swim competitions -- go USA!