Financial websites have given investors more tools than ever to screen the markets for stock ideas. But those screens provide just the raw numbers -- not the stories behind them. What might look like the start of a trend could be a one-time blip. Let's enlist Motley Fool CAPS to color in the outlines these numbers create.

To find the cream of the crop of mid-cap growth stocks, we'll screen for stocks with:

  • Market cap between $1 billion and $5 billion.
  • A price-to-earnings-to-growth (PEG) ratio of less than 1.0.
  • Free cash flow of at least $100 million.
  • Estimated annual earnings growth of at least 20% for the next five years.

Then we'll tap the collective intelligence of our 89,000-plus CAPS investors to see whether these companies present real opportunities -- or whether they're priced low for a reason.

Opinions with the numbers
Here's a sampling from the list of stocks our screen pulled up today.

Company

PEG

Trailing
FCF*

CAPS Rank
(Out of 5)

Frontier Oil (NYSE: FTO)

0.27

$137.8

*****

Chicago Bridge & Iron (NYSE: CBI)

0.57

$358.1

*****

Hansen Natural (Nasdaq: HANS)

0.75

$131.3

****

JDS Uniphase (Nasdaq: JDSU)

0.78

$102.5

***

Priceline.com (Nasdaq: PCLN)

0.88

$140.1

**

Data from Yahoo! Finance. Star ratings from CAPS. All data as of March 20, 2007.
*In millions.

Still fizzing
You'd think that a stock that has soared several thousand percent over the past several years wouldn't be cheap. But beverage maker Hansen Natural's popularity hasn't kept it from being misunderstood by the market occasionally. Although soda put Hansen's on the map several years ago, the beverage maker wowed the market once again and kept rapid growth alive with the success of its Monster brand in the energy drink market.

Some market pessimism remains, though, because Hansen could be doing better. For example, rising commodity prices in juices and dairy products are taking larger bites out of margins. Investors also continue to quibble over how sustainable the rapidly changing energy drink market will be. But as it has continued to plow ahead with new products and line extensions, Hansen has yielded net income that more than doubled in its most recent quarter.

Even though analysts expect the company to grow at a 23% rate over the long term, Hansen's forward earnings multiple of less than 18 remains attractive.

And although some CAPS investors are weary of the intense competition in various beverage segments from giants Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) and PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP), a solid majority are still bullish on Hansen: 1,226 of the 1,337 CAPS investors rating the company give it a thumbs-up.

Expensive oil for cheap
Our top-rated mid-cap growth stock this week also happens to sport the lowest PEG -- Frontier Oil, which trades at an amazing 0.27 price-to-growth ratio. But this low number turns out to be an anomaly -- another reason to not simply take numbers from a screen as gospel.

True, shares of Frontier Oil are trading at a much more reasonable valuation, now that the stock has fallen more than 25% in the past month. But even though the stock trades at what many consider an amazingly cheap price-to-earnings ratio of 6, Reuters shows a single analyst estimating Frontier Oil's long-term growth to be 9% -- quite a different number from what we see at Yahoo! Finance, where that 0.27 PEG ratio comes from.

Some cracks are appearing in the great performance Frontier has delivered over the past several years, and a refinery accident took a big bite out of recent earnings. With refining spreads dropping lately, analysts see lower profits for the company, which placed its forward earnings multiple at 8 -- more in line with the expected growth.

Still, some CAPS investors see Frontier as one of the "best in class" refiners and believe it can realize higher growth rates. Enough of our CAPS investors are bullish on Frontier to give it a five-star rating, with 96% of 807 raters believing it will beat the S&P in the future.

Let 89,000 investors be the judge
The collective wisdom of a huge pool of investors can quickly add color to a whitewashed page of numbers. But even with an entire community of qualified opinions acting as the judge, individual investors are still the jury and should perform their own research.

Want to see your favorite screen results run through the wringer in the CAPS community? It's free to tap the knowledge base and give your opinion in Motley Fool CAPS.

The Motley Fool Inside Value service loves seeing investors dump quality companies well below their intrinsic value. To see just what companies the analyst team recommends snapping up on the cheap today, take a free 30-day trial.

Fool contributor Dave Mock does his best to color within the lines, but he reserves his right to artistic expression. He owns shares of Coca-Cola. He is the author of The Qualcomm Equation. Coca-Cola is an Inside Value pick. Priceline.com is a Stock Advisor pick. The Fool's disclosure policy doesn't see color or the wart on your nose.