Sadly, there's no such thing as an ultimate buy signal when it comes to investing in stocks. Identifying companies with the wind at their backs takes time, patience, and a good dose of due diligence.

There is, however, an easy way to increase your odds of finding the stocks that will beat the market. At Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's investing community of more than 120,000 members, we've found that four- and five-star stocks, as a group, have outperformed the broader market -- to the tune of seven and 12 percentage points, respectively -- on an annualized basis from November 2006 to July 2008.

To fully capture the upside potential of those highly rated stocks, it makes sense to identify them just as soon as they are upgraded to four- and five-star status. Fortunately, our CAPS screener now makes it possible to do this. Below, for example, is a list of companies that have been upgraded to four-star status from three stars just yesterday. These stock ideas are only a starting point, of course. Be sure to join us on CAPS to dig in even further.

Company

All-Stars Saying Outperform

NBTY, Inc. (NYSE:NTY)

102 of 113

LMI Aerospace, Inc. (NASDAQ:LMIA)

102 of 106

CIGNA Corp (NYSE:CI)

241 of 265

Progress Energy, Inc. (NYSE:PGN)

178 of 203

K-Swiss, Inc. (NASDAQ:KSWS)

212 of 236

China Yuchai International Limited (NYSE:CYD)

230 of 245

VeriFone Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:PAY)

298 of 322

Data from Motley Fool CAPS, December 10, 2008

Come join us on CAPS, absolutely free, to learn more about these and countless other interesting stock ideas.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.