Some stocks simply have such great potential that "everyone" knows they're a good buy today. Yeah, right.

If we knew in advance that Sadia would return more than 1,400% since it began trading in 2001, we'd have mortgaged our house on it -- and yours, too! It's easy to see which companies have been winning investments after the fact, but we need to know beforehand which stocks will grow hundreds of percent in value over the years. That's where Motley Fool CAPS comes in.

The more than 86,000 professional and novice investors in CAPS rarely agree on a stock's prospects. Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation Jones Lang LaSalle is a well-respected, top-rated stock, but six of the 337 CAPS players to rate it still believe it will underperform the market. So when you come across a stock that everyone on CAPS thinks will outperform, you've got something special. Here are a handful of those "obvious" investments.



All-Star Bulls


Return on Capital, TTM

Regency Energy Partners LP (Nasdaq: RGNC)





Vanguard Europe Pacific ETF (AMEX: VEA)





Reaves Utility Income Fund (AMEX: UTG)





Cascal (NYSE: HOO)





Rexam (Nasdaq: REXMY)





Sources: Motley Fool CAPS and Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's. TTM = trailing 12 months; NA = not available.

As always, none of the companies on this list should be considered a formal recommendation -- just a starting point for further research. We've simply used CAPS to narrow down your workload.

Water, water everywhere
In Frank Herbert's sci-fi classic Dune, the inhabitants of the arid planet Arrakis value water above everything else, save the special spice melange. They wear suits that recycle their sweat, tears are seen as a great gift, and water is harvested from the bodies of their dead.

British utility Cascal hasn't gone that far yet to provide wastewater treatment facilities, but the newly public enterprise collects wastewater from its customers, treats it, and then returns it to the environment, as well as treating raw water collected from the ground and surface before supplying their customers. Cascal provides these services to homes and businesses in several countries around the world, including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Indonesia, China, and Chile.

In general around the world, non-governmental waste water treatment facilities are fairly rare, but there are a few public companies such as Southwest Water and California Water Service (NYSE: CWT) in the U.S., Veolia Environment (NYSE: VE) in Europe, and, now, Cascal.

Although Cascal only went public in January, it is starting to develop a following on CAPS by investors who see the potential for growth in an industry to provide clean water where access to it now is currently limited. That rationale helped top-rated CAPS All-Star tradermatt, with a player rating of 94.67, clean up with an outperform rating called at the beginning of February:

Cascal has a dominating market position in waste water treatment services for many of the world's emerging economies, where access to clean water will only become a larger issue as the year's go by. Their main competitors are state run organizations, but despite this fact, Cascal is netting some very large contracts (especially in China). Revenue has been constantly increasing, and their balance sheet looks decent. This is a long term, growth driven play for international utilities.

A handful of other players have briefly weighed in on Cascal, noting the importance of water and the obviousness of the investment. Although personal, wearable wastewater treatment plants might be way off in the future -- or perhaps they'll only reside in science-fiction novels -- providing access to clean water where it was previously seen only as a luxury may just be the next best thing.

Let's hear from you
How about your take on these or other "obvious" winning investments? Is this a chance to dig deep with your portfolio to mine the next "buy now" stock? If you want to add your two cents, sign up to join the Motley Fool CAPS community, which is 100% free.

California Water Service is a Motley Fool Income Investor selection. Everyone thinks you ought to try the 30 days of free stock picks available with the trial subscription now. Sadia and Jones Lang LaSalle are Hidden Gems picks.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey does not have a financial position in any of the stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings here. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.