5 Top Growth Stocks

What's the most important link between Wal-Mart and Microsoft? You could say billionaires. Six of the 10 richest Americans as named by Forbes derive their fortunes from these two stalwarts. But a better answer might be competitive advantage.

Think about it. Windows, which is installed on 90% of the world's computers, provides a built-in sales channel for more Microsoft software while keeping competitors at arms' length. Meanwhile, Wal-Mart's ruthlessly efficient distribution network squeezes suppliers to produce profits on prices that give rivals fits.

How to spot a competitive advantage
Great growth firms always sport such large and identifiable competitive advantages. That's what fuels their expansion; competitors can't easily touch them, so they grow net income by 20% or more a year. Year after year after year after year.

Our goal at Motley Fool Rule Breakers is to identify the next Wal-Mart early in its development. David Gardner, who steers our stock-picking pirate ship, has become an expert at doing that, with a decade of better than 20% annual returns as leader of the real-money Rule Breaker portfolio.

That's why I think seeking growth is worth your time as an investor. And I'm here to help. Today, and each Tuesday from here on, we'll use one of David's key criteria -- 20% or better earnings growth over the next five years -- to pick five stocks that may be worth further study in your quest for 10-bagger returns.

Before we get to the list ...
Of course, hundreds of stocks out there feature very high expectations for earnings growth. How do we narrow our list to just five? Community intelligence. We're going to draw from the picks of the 11,000-plus players who today are rating companies in Motley Fool CAPS.

What is CAPS? It's a unique system whereby each investor rates at least seven stocks versus the S&P 500 as either an "outperform" or an "underperform." Community sentiment is then calculated to produce star ratings for each stock -- five stars being the highest and one being the lowest. All-star stock pickers, whose choices have performed better than 80% of the community, more heavily influence the ratings. It's community intelligence at work in the quest for superior stock ideas.

What's really great about CAPS is that it dwarfs our own team approach at Rule Breakers. David leads us, sure. But it was Charly Travers who singled out biotech Vertex Pharmaceuticals, which has since tripled. And it was Rick Munarriz who picked vacation specialist Steiner Leisure (Nasdaq: STNR  ) , which has doubled. Imagine having your own team of experts at hand, and you'll get a feel for why CAPS is such a unique service.

The list
Now, with that preamble behind us, here are five five-star stocks expected to grow the bottom line by at least 20% annually over the next five years.

Company

No. of CAPS Ratings

Bullish CAPS Ratings

5-Year Growth Est.

Applix (Nasdaq: APLX  )

13

13

22.5%

Concur Tech. (Nasdaq: CNQR  )

14

13

22.5%

Nuance Comms. (Nasdaq: NUAN  )

1,396

1,357

21.0%

Radvision (Nasdaq: RVSN  )

28

28

20.0%

BE Aerospace (Nasdaq: BEAV  )

28

27

20.0%

Source: Motley Fool CAPS, Yahoo! Finance

Bear in mind that this isn't a list of recommendations. Instead, I offer these stocks as candidates for further research. Among the list, BE Aerospace intrigues me most because it's a provider of interior cabins for executive jets, which I know to be a massive growth market through my research into Embraer (NYSE: ERJ  ) .

But don't take my word for it. Do your own due diligence first, and then check in with thousands of other investors at CAPS. And, if you'd like, add your own commentary. You'll be helping your fellow Fools and testing your ideas at the same time. Get started now; the service is 100% free.

See you back here next week for five more top growth stocks. And a happy and Foolish Halloween to you in the meantime.

Vertex and Steiner Leisure are two of five Rule Breakers selections to have doubled in two years. Care to find out the names of the other three? Get 30 days of free access to the service.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers, ranked 1,443 out of 11,834 inMotley Fool CAPS, actually plans to dress as a Fool for Halloween. Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. Get the skinny on all of the stocks in Tim's portfolio by checking his Fool profile. Nuance is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick. Embraer is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy is your portfolio's competitive advantage.


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