Investors are always hunting for the next big stock -- the dream stock whose price increases several times over when the market finally discovers it. It's easy to look back and discover the 10 best stocks of the past decade. But I'm more interested in the tools that can help me evaluate tomorrow's greatest companies.

Motley Fool CAPS offers a variety of resources to aid Fools in finding tomorrow's leaders. Our 160,000-member community is full of investors helping each other beat the market.

We'll enlist CAPS to screen for companies that pay significant dividends, then get the story behind some of its more highly rated stocks. CAPS' nifty screener will help us find stocks with:

  • A market cap of at least $1 billion
  • A long term debt-to-equity ratio of less than 0.5
  • A dividend yield of at least 4%
  • A price-to-earnings ratio of less than 25

Then we'll tap the collective intelligence of our CAPS members to see whether these companies present real opportunities -- or whether the numbers fail to tell the true story.

Opinions with the numbers
Below is a sample of stocks our screen returned.

Company

Dividend Yield

LT Debt-to-Equity Ratio

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS-A)

5.5%

0.23

*****

Statoil (NYSE: STO)

4.2%

0.48

*****

Chimera Investment (NYSE: CIM)

17.4%

0.19

****

Data and star rankings from CAPS as of April 16.

Royal Dutch Shell
Shell has been shifting some of its long-term strategies that it expects will help it emerge from the downturn a stronger company. It's looking to cut back some of its refining capacity by selling several businesses and invest more money into its more profitable and promising projects. Its massive Perdido project, which counts Chevron (NYSE: CVX) as part owner, is just one of the opportunities that show great promise in the Gulf of Mexico. And the planned Arrow Energy acquisition with partner PetroChina (NYSE: PTR) will give it a greater exposure to natural gas. As the company works to put itself in a more diversified position to capture current trends in energy, many CAPS members like the potential, as about 97% of the 254 CAPS members rating Royal Dutch Shell expect it to beat the S&P going forward.

Statoil
Rising oil prices have helped Statoil and peers like Total generate improved earnings in the fourth quarter, and Statoil recently said it's in a good financial position to deliver profitable growth beginning this year. Statoil is among a number of foreign companies that are taking advantage of North American shale plays, and the company recently picked up a stake in multiple leases from ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) in the Chukchi Sea, a potentially resource-rich area off the coast of Alaska. Obama's plan to open up more domestic offshore drilling also has many CAPS members optimistic about potential earnings growth, giving more reason to take a bullish long-term stance on the company. Comparing bulls to bears, nearly 98% of the 937 CAPS members rating Statoil believe it will be market-beating investment.

Chimera Investment
Investing in mortgages is considered by many to be a risky place to invest these days, but some CAPS members see a solid opportunity in real estate investment trust Chimera Investment. Similar to peer MFA Financial (NYSE: MFA) -- who sports its own juicy dividend of more than 13% -- Chimera is a mortgage real-estate investment trust that primarily invests in mortgage-backed securities, and both companies are active buying beaten-down securities on the cheap. Chimera recently reported improving fourth-quarter earnings and also raised more money to take advantage of more opportunities it sees in the mortgage-backed securities market. And its current dividend yield of more than 17% has helped spark a good deal of interest among investors as 94% of the 356 of CAPS members rating Chimera Investment expect it to outperform the market.

Let 160,000 members be the jury
The collective wisdom of a huge pool of investors can help give context to a page of numbers from a stock screen. But individual investors are still the best judges of what to do with their own money. Fools should always perform their own due diligence.

Happily, it's easy to chime in with your own opinion. If you agree that these companies present dream opportunities -- or see more of a nightmare instead -- simply scroll down and add your thoughts in the comments box.

The Motley Fool Stock Advisor service looks for companies with strong management poised to beat the market over the long haul. To see all the stocks that have helped Tom and David Gardner beat the market by 60 points on average, take a free 30-day trial.

Fool contributor Dave Mock dreams of stocks and sugarplum fairies, but not together. He owns no shares of companies mentioned here. Statoil and Total are Income Investor recommendations. The Fool's disclosure policy screens the good, the bad, and the ugly.