No one has perfect foresight, but let's be honest: The market is full of people who, as Oscar Wilde would say, know "the price of everything and the value of nothing." Far too often -- over the past year especially -- investors have been pitched sensational stock recommendations, only to be left high and dry as shares crumble.

To hunt down top-recommended stocks that have been rewarding investors accordingly, I summoned our Motley Fool CAPS community to point out a few four- or five-star stocks that have gone gangbusters in recent months.

These are not formal buy recommendations, but these three-month bloomers still caught my attention:

Company

13-Week Price Change

Recent Share Price

2009 EPS Estimates

CAPS Rating  (out of 5)

Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX)

54.8%

$38.57

$1.78

****

Vale (NYSE:RIO)

21.7%

$16.33

$1.74

*****

Hansen Natural (NASDAQ:HANS)

38.8%

$35.07

$2.11

****

Northgate Minerals (NYSE:NXG)

72.7%

$1.41

$0.11

*****

Silver Wheaton (NYSE:SLW)

83.5%

$6.67

$0.23

*****

United Health (NYSE:UNH)

29.2%

$28.80

$3.00

*****

Yamana Gold (NYSE:AUY)

76.3%

$8.64

$0.43

****

Data from Motley Fool CAPS and Yahoo! Finance, as of Feb. 5.

You can rerun the CAPS screen I used.

Attack of the commodities
My bubble radar started going off when I saw Super Bowl commercials touting the limitless potential of gold. It all seemed eerily reminiscent of the 1999 Super Bowl ads peddling the invincibility of Internet stocks. You know something's getting out of control when ads sprout up assuring average Joes that there's an easy path to limitless wealth. Does real estate flipping ring a bell?

Still, the precious-metals bulls make a compelling case: The U.S. dollar is being exploited like never before, and the only thing currently keeping its value in check is a panic-induced flight to safety. As stimulus and bailout measures grow by the day and the Federal Reserve balloons its balance sheet, dollar weakness will eventually send gold and other commodities through the roof. Or so the thought goes.

Foolish colleague Christopher Barker (TMFSinchiruna), a metals expert, recommended Yamana Gold last fall. Since recommending the stock in late October, shares have more than doubled. In mid-January, Chris gave us an update: "[Yamana] released updated operational guidance this week and served a timely reminder that this company's portfolio of producing gold mines could translate into a lot of black ink. Yamana expects a 40% increase in gold production in 2009 to as much as 1.4 million gold-equivalent ounces (GEOs)."

CAPS member kabierwatz is also bullish on its prospects: "Mid-cap gold producer that is undervalued more than most other mining companies. Gold will reach $1,000, and all gold mining companies will rise with it."

Although not as chipper as others, biotech4ever is still confident in another metals play, Barrick Gold. Just recently, the CAPS All-star laid out what I think is a balanced approach to the metals play:

Whatever you do don't expect gold to rise above $1,000 for quite a while. There is too much deflationary pressure right now and all currencies are getting hit, which is why the dollar is still stronger than the Euro. Once the economy recovers, then watch out as gold will skyrocket and the dollar will tank like you've never seen. Just go slow, put a little in gold now and then, [and] don't put all your money down in one chunk.

That last point is an incredibly important one to make. True, Ben Bernanke and friends are plowing money into the economy as quickly as they can, but the amount of wealth destruction over the past 18 months induces banks, businesses, and consumers to hoard that money. For the time being, doing that cultivates deflation, not inflation. In the long run, the thought goes, the quality of Uncle Sam's balance sheet will erode international confidence in the dollar and provide the fuel that commodities such as gold need to really get moving. Time will tell how this story plays out.

You take it from here                                  
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Fool contributor Morgan Housel doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. UnitedHealth Group is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection and a Stock Advisor pick, and the Fool owns shares. The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.