Whether it's the corporate lunchroom, your cubicle, or the local watering hole after work, there are regular places we gather to discuss news, sports, or -- if you're like us -- stocks. At Motley Fool CAPS, we gather around the virtual water cooler daily to rate stocks and delve into their merits as investments.

Our 120,000-strong CAPS community -- where members give the thumbs-up or thumbs-down to some 5,400 stocks -- has shown a propensity for making prescient market calls. Our data indicates that newly minted five-star stocks offer some of the best opportunities to investors, while the lowest-rated companies fared worst. Below we'll take a look at some of the top stocks in the CAPS universe that you're talking about the most and whether you think they will outperform or underperform the market.


CAPS Rating (5 Max)

No. of Recs

% Outperform

ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM)




Home Depot (NYSE:HD)








Pfizer (NYSE:PFE)




Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ:WFMI)




A tall drink of water
If the earnings report of Whole Foods Market is any indication, organic foods are a nice luxury to enjoy when you're living large, but when it gets down to crunch time and you're wondering whether your job is secure, you'll end up shopping at a discount grocer to save cash. CAPS member alicat2008 knows that grocery chains such as Kroger (NYSE:KR) may have an advantage in these markets but believes that the longer-term trend resides with Whole Foods.

I bought this with the full knowledge that it could be eaten by Kroger … but I still love [Whole Foods. I bought] just enough to say, "I love you still," but not enough to lose my hat ... most consumers are worried about the grocery bill already, but I have a child and buy organic. In the long run [Whole Foods] is gonna hang by a thread but it will hang on.

On the pharma front, relying upon international markets has been a beneficial strategy for Pfizer. Yet even as the domestic side has fallen down lately, it can't completely forsake this market to rivals such as Merck (NYSE:MRK). CAPS member viconquest figures that with the amount of money Pfizer spends on R&D, it will soon have another blockbuster drug on its hands.

Pfizer spends the most money developing cutting edge clinical drugs. Their pipeline has a promising cancer drug in the works and the cash to buy up research with potential from smaller companies. I trust Pfizer to come up with another [cash cow] within the next few years because, more than anyone else, they have the wealth, talent, and patience to ride through any economy.

And finally, at NVIDIA, we've seen inventories soar in comparison to last year and watched a once-dominant market share dissipate. It's facing the prospect of lower profit margins in the future if it wants to reduce the former and increase the latter. Regardless, scoylesays thinks that so long as consumers overcome their hesitancy, the chip maker will offer them an enticing selection of options.

NVIDIA has been beaten down recently by fear of a recession. Look at their numbers. It is clearly highly undervalued, down 75 percent in the last year, now is the perfect time to buy. [Its] recent 3rd quarter sales outpaced [Wall Street] analysts and with lots of cash on hand, looks a lot better than [competitors'] forecasts. The new 16 core processors NVIDIA is coming out with will entice [PC] shoppers this [Christmas] wanting to upgrade to high definition or play the latest games. The question is will consumers have the money to buy with the fear of a recession.

Gather 'round
Grab your pointy paper cup from the dispenser and join us at the Motley Fool CAPS water cooler, where your input can help guide other investors to stocks with bright prospects for growth. Read a company's financial reports, scrutinize key data and charts, and examine the comments your fellow investors have made -- all from a stock's CAPS page.

Sign up today for the completely free service, and let's us hear what you have to say about the great -- and almost great -- companies that interest you.

Pfizer is a Motley Fool Income Investor selection. Pfizer and Home Depot are  Inside Value recommendations. Whole Foods Market and NVIDIA are Stock Advisor picks. The Fool owns shares of Pfizer. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey owns shares of Kroger and Merck but has no financial position in any of the other stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.