Stock analysts are just about as likely to be right with their forecasts as economists, meteorologists, and fortune tellers are. Actually, while the weatherman might not be right any more often, at least he has a scientific basis for his predictions. Everyone else is about as accurate as monkeys throwing darts or flipping coins.

Before the advent of Regulation FD, analysts were far more optimistic in their opinions. Today, they tend to think companies will underperform more than they do. State Street Global Advisors says that's because companies are "more explicit" in their guidance, hoping to minimize share-price volatility.

A guide to the future
If that's the case, then let's use the information companies provide to our advantage. When they announce earnings, they also often update guidance for the coming quarter and year. While these reports aren't 100% accurate, a company is presumed to know its business better than anyone. We can reasonably expect that its estimates would be better than most at predicting what the future will bring.

With the help of the Motley Fool CAPS investor-intelligence database, we can tap the collective thinking of more than 105,000 professional and novice investors on which stocks they think are best. We'll look at those companies that have guided higher and pair that information with stocks that CAPS believes have the best chance to outperform the market.

Here are five companies that have recently guided higher, coupled with what CAPS investors think:



Analyst Est./Previous Guidance

Updated Guidance

CAPS Rating (out of 5)






Central European Distribution (NASDAQ:CEDC)





Donaldson Company (NYSE:DCI)





Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST)










Sources:; Motley Fool CAPS.

These are companies showing signs of growing their business, and they're followed by both analysts and the CAPS community. But this isn't a list of stocks to buy; instead, it's a list of suggestions for further research. In that vein, let's take a closer look at one of them.

Its name derives from a term for "water," but at 80 proof, the clear alcoholic drink we call vodka has a kick like no water you've ever tasted. That has been part of its appeal throughout the ages -- the Poles began distilling vodka as far back as the Middle Ages, and the Russians claim to have been drinking it before gunpowder was invented in China -- and that’s why it's possibly one of the most popular distilled beverages sold today.

If nothing else, Central European Distribution knows vodka. It produces more than 9 million cases of vodka annually for Poland, and with more than 700 different brands of alcohol in its portfolio, it is the leading national distributor in the country by value. The value of CEDC's shares has wafted higher, too. Despite the distributor's support for the future with its updated guidance, this upward trend has some investors, like CAPS All-Star unvrsldeflation, seeing cause for concern:

I love this stock. It has performed exceedingly well over the last year. To all good things, though, the end must come. As the dollar strengthens investors are going to be increasingly worried about their euro exposure. It may take a while and the euro may have to unwind before it happens, but stocks like this one that have been havens from the effect of the dollar's fall won't be havens from the effect of its rise.

With control over a third of the vodka trade in Poland, Central European Distribution is bumping up against regulations which prohibit it from owning more than 40% of the market. International expansion could help, though at 27 times forward earnings, it's trading at a 60% premium to competitors like Brown-Forman (NYSE:BF-B) and Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ).

Guide on!
We want to know: What's your opinion on CEDC? Your input can help guide other investors to stocks with bright prospects for growth. Head on over to Motley Fool CAPS and let your voice lead the way.