For every stock out there screaming "buy me," others simply give us a nudge and a nod. While all the attention might be focused on their five-star peers, we can sift through Motley Fool CAPS to find four-star stocks giving us the "high sign" they're approaching greatness.
These opportunities – including familiar names and beaten-down companies -- rank higher than most of the other 5,400 starred companies, and it pays to investigate their potential. For consideration today I've got this trio of stocks on their way to fame.
As the 170,000-plus CAPS members have chosen these companies as less obvious sources for tomorrow's great buys, let's see why they might merit your attention.
Growing toward greatness?
An investment in Brazilian paper products company Fibria Celulose isn't as much an investment in Brazil as you might think. Brazil's economy remains a powerhouse, but inflation fears lurk in the background. And rather than stand on the brakes as China did, which caused reverberations throughout its economy, Brazil has been taking measured steps to avoid derailing growth.
Still, Fibria realized only 22% of its 2010 revenues from the domestic economy, the rest coming from exports. China, for example, represented about 14% of total pulp sales volume and 16% of pulp exports last year. Europe was the primary destination for its exports, accounting for 40% of sales volume, followed by North America at 28%. In comparison, more than three-quarters of International Paper's (NYSE: IP ) revenues are derived here at home, and the corresponding figure is a whopping 91% for Temple-Inland (for which IP has made a bid).
The company owns a ton of land in Brazil and makes pulp out of eucalyptus trees, these trees grow faster in Brazil than anywhere else in the world (avg of 7 years compared to decades in North America for example)... so they "crush" competition.
Food for thought
Earlier this year, as inventories of nitrogen and phosphates stood at five-year lows, fertilizer producers had already pushed through price increases or were planning to. The cycle of rising costs are leading to higher commodity prices, but Mosaic (NYSE: MOS ) , PotashCorp (NYSE: POT ) , and Intrepid Potash have all realized significant growth in their business and their stock price. Shares of Mosaic and Intrepid are up 45% year over year, while Potash is more than 60% higher.
Yet when sizing them up side by side on value, Intrepid seems to come out on the high side. It trades at 37 times trailing earnings and 16 times forward estimates, where PotashCorp goes for 23 times and 13.5 times, respectively. Beaten-down Chinese fertilizer maker Yongye International (Nasdaq: YONG ) looks even less expensive when compared with its estimated growth prospects.
The CAPS community thinks the global growth thesis remains intact and that Intrepid is poised to do well for investors. More than 96% of those rating the potash producer believe it will outperform the broad market averages, but you can follow along by adding the stock to the Fool's free portfolio tracker.
Not feeling the pain
Pain and immuno-inflammatory disease drug developer Zalicus remains in the good graces of investors despite being subject to the vagaries of Food and Drug Administration approvals. Midstage clinical trials of Synavive for rheumatoid arthritis are poised to begin in the second quarter, and analysts are expecting royalties from Exalgo, which it markets with Covidien, to hit $36 million in two years' time.
Zalicus did suffer a setback when it reported weaker-than-expected quarterly results because Covidien has a rebate program that sapped some of the sales strength.
CAPS member wiaggie says the drug developer not only has a top-notch management team, but with a strong pipeline to support Exalgo, it is a worthy investment:
Well run organization with a revenue-producing drug already in the marketplace and several new ones showing promise in the near future. Unlike many R&D firms, they also have cash-on-hand. Undervalued based on sheer assets, without even mentioning future earning potential.
A great opportunity for you
Investor sentiment suggests these four-star investments still seem to be on their way to five-star greatness, but it pays to start your own research on these stocks on Motley Fool CAPS. 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 us hear what you have to say about the great and almost great companies that interest you.