Petrobras (NYSE:PBR) is among the top oil companies in the world, with reserves and production that stack up favorably against U.S. majors like Chevron (NYSE:CVX) and other global giants like Total. But investors have been particularly giddy about the company for the past couple of years, as it has hit on some very significant new oil fields, including Tupi, which likely holds 5 billion to 8 billion barrels of oil, and Carioca, which has been rumored to contain a massive 33 billion barrels or more.

The Tupi field is still being drilled with test wells, but if it pans out as expected, it will be a great addition to Petrobras' reserves. As for the Carioca field, if the rumors are true about its size -- which Petrobras has stayed pretty mum on -- it would likely qualify as one of the top five oil fields in the world. And as we know, a growing demand for energy around the world still has many people excited about oil.

More than 3,700 members of The Motley Fool's CAPS community (including yours truly) have weighed in with their thoughts on Petrobras, and an overwhelming 98% have given the stock an outperform rating.

While many of these CAPS members have scored by betting on Petrobras, some, like gcaderas, have hit grand slams with the stock. Currently one of the score leaders for Petrobras, gcaderas has scored 156 points by giving the stock a thumbs-up back in December.

gcaderas is one of CAPS' All-Stars -- players with a rating of 80 or greater -- and has managed a stock-picking accuracy of 56% while racking up more than 3,400 points. Petrobras isn't this player's only great call. Here's a look at a few of the other prescient picks:

Company

Date Picked

Call

Points

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

Ctrip.com (NASDAQ:CTRP)

10/6/06

Outperform

131

****

Mechel

1/8/09

Outperform

114

****

Freeport McMoRan (NYSE:FCX)

11/7/08

Outperform

107

****

Data from CAPS.

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

Company

Date Picked

Call

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

Costco (NASDAQ:COST)

7/16/09

Outperform

****

XTO Energy (NYSE:XTO)

7/16/09

Outperform

*****

Foster Wheeler

7/17/09

Outperform

*****

Data from CAPS.

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

The chic of cheap
Now that the financial industry has at least got its legs back under it -- even if things are far from rosy -- investors have been shouting "Marco!" into other areas of the economy, hoping to hear a reassuring "Polo!" back from Captain Recovery. Since the U.S. economy depends to a great extent on consumer spending, the retail sector has been a big focus.

By nearly all accounts, the going should continue to be tough for higher-end retailers as consumers guard their bankrolls like so many pit bulls protecting a hunk of steak. On the other end of the retail universe, though, the prospects could be brighter for folks like Costco and Wal-Mart Stores' (NYSE:WMT) Sam's Club.

Last month, my fellow Fool Rick Munarriz gave BJ's Wholesale Club the nod as one of "5 Stocks That Will Profit From a Nation of Savers," but noted his expectation that warehouse clubs in general should be beneficiaries of the trend.

Costco hasn't quite made it to five-star status on CAPS, but it does have more than 3,200 outperform ratings. CAPS member moun10addict noted that "During difficult economic times, consumers will be drawn to wholesalers like [Costco] in order to save money by buying in bulk."

Fellow Costco bull and CAPS All-Star frosty77 rang in last month, noting that customers scared away by Wal-Mart may seek out Costco's bargains:

Costco is developing a cult like following among its customers. It's Wal-Mart for people who don't want to shop at Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart's stigma and poor treatment of suppliers is something competitors will be able to increasingly leverage.

But here's the important question: What's your take on it? Will Costco's bulk deals rope in the customers during recessionary times? Get in the action by clicking over to CAPS. It's absolutely free and already has more than 135,000 stock pickers chipping in to find the best stocks out there.

Related Foolishness:

Ctrip is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems selection. Costco is a Stock Advisor recommendation. Costco and Wal-Mart are Inside Value selections. Petrobras and Total are Income Investor picks. The Fool owns shares of Costco and XTO Energy. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. An all-access, insider pass is yours for the clicking. 

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. He is keeping a close eye on some of these stocks through his CAPS portfolio. You can also connect with Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool. The Fool's disclosure policy wants to work like a dog -- specifically, Matt's dog, Lucy.