With soaring gas and commodity prices, it seems almost counterintuitive that investments in companies involved with natural gas are not the best stocks to be in today. But I've found investments from another sector that are beating the pants off natural-gas stocks -- and I know where you can find out more about them.

Would the real hot stocks please come forward?
The 5,500 stocks that more than 110,000 Motley Fool CAPS community members have rated include descriptive "tags" that group them with other companies sharing similar qualities -- a country of origin, a sector, or an end product, for example. Clicking the Natural Gas tag pulls up a list of 55 stocks that have gained 16.6% in the past year.

But CAPS tags can lead you to stocks that have outpaced even the near-term returns from the Natural Gas group: Industrial Metals & Minerals. This group is comprised of 58 companies that have outperformed the returns of the broader market and Natural Gas group with a 36.3% average gain in the past year.

Each group has its share of winners and losers, of course, but CAPS can be a great resource for zeroing in on potential opportunities in each area.

From macro to micro
You can sort tag groups by their CAPS ratings, from one to a maximum five stars, and then see which players -- from Wall Street to Main Street -- are bullish or bearish on a company, and why.

For instance, here are a few of the stocks in the Natural Gas group:

Company

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

1-Year Performance

Unit Corp. (NYSE:UNT)

*****

22.7%

Anadarko

*****

15.7%

XTO Energy (NYSE:XTO)

*****

9%

Williams Companies

****

0.6%

Source: Motley Fool CAPS, as of July 31.

Now, based on the interest in the CAPS community, here's a sampling of Industrial Metals & Minerals stocks that investors may want to consider.

Company

CAPS Rating

1-Year Performance

Cameco (NYSE:CCJ)

*****

(11.4%)

Teck Cominco (NYSE:TCK)

*****

6.2%

Arch Coal (NYSE:ACI)

****

89.5%

Aurizon Mines (AMEX:AZK)

****

22.7%

Source: Motley Fool CAPS, as of July 31.

Cameco
As the world’s top uranium miner, Cameco does just about everything with uranium. And though Cameco had a huge profit surge with big increases in reported earnings for its first quarter, the firm has had plenty of woes to overcome this past year. Still, some argue that its massive reserves and long-term supply contracts make Cameco the nuclear option for investors. And to diversify across the uranium chain even further, Cameco recently teamed up with General Electric (NYSE:GE) and Hitachi in an enrichment joint venture. The company's breadth and depth in the nuclear niche has nearly 98% of the 1,165 CAPS members rating Cameco expecting it to outperform the market.

Teck Cominco
Through acquisitions, diversified miner Teck Cominco has been making big moves into copper production lately to put it on a more competitive level with other copper producers. But it’s trumped all the others with its latest move, the announcement of a $14.1 billion bid to acquire Fording Canadian Coal Trust, its operating partner in the Elk Valley coal project. Optimism about coal sent shares of Teck up on the news, and almost 99% of the 615 CAPS members rating Teck Cominco think it will outperform the market.

Arch Coal
Speaking of coal, Arch Coal’s management gave a bullish outlook on future coal prices and its ability to capitalize on them, pleasing investors with its first-quarter results. It then followed with a 200% increase in earnings in the second quarter, citing strong global demand that continues to push profits. The company also raised its outlook for the rest of the year. Overall, 95% of the 1,007 CAPS members rating Arch Coal see it beating the market going forward.

Aurizon Mines
Often-overlooked Canadian gold miner Aurizon Mines is currently focused on its Casa Berardi project in Quebec, which is expected to produce 160,000-170,000 ounces of gold this year. While the company’s first quarter showed a loss of $0.03 per share, it also produced a 30% increase in cash flow from operating activities and 14% higher gold production, year over year. While a few CAPS members see high risks in Aurizon, a good majority -- 96% of the 500 rating the company -- remain bullish.

Before you buy ...
Of course, what's happened in the past is no indicator of where investors should be putting their capital now. But the underlying reasons behind dramatic run-ups in stocks or groups of stocks can clarify trends that may significantly affect investments. Just make sure to do your own due diligence rather than simply following crowds or individual recommendations.

The Motley Fool Stock Advisor service scours the market for great companies with great prospects. Unit is a Stock Advisor pick. To see what stocks Tom and David Gardner are recommending today, take a free 30-day trial.

When it comes to running long distances, Fool contributor Dave Mock lags more than he leads. He owns no shares of companies mentioned here. Dave is the author of The Qualcomm Equation. The Fool's disclosure policy beats all other disclosure policies, year in and year out.