Even on the market's worst days, buyout news and other short-term forces can send individual stocks up by 10%, 25%, even 50%.               

For example, shares in Petro-Canada rose 22% when it was announced that Suncor Energy would acquire the company for $15.5 billion.

But beyond less-predictable events like that one are stocks with fundamentally compelling reasons for recent momentum. The trick is to find those stocks. That's where Motley Fool CAPS comes in.

The story behind the story
CAPS is no crowd of lemmings. Its best-performing members' opinions do more to shape each company's rating than the picks of their poorer-performing peers. Let's use the collective wisdom of more than 130,000 CAPS members to filter out the noise and find companies offering strong momentum.

We'll use CAPS' handy stock screening tool to quickly zero in on companies with a stock price increase of at least 30% in the past four weeks, a market cap of greater than $100 million, and a beta of less than 3. Below is a sample of stocks that our screen returned. If you'd like, run this screen yourself -- just keep in mind that results may change as the market does.

Company

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

4-Week
Price Change

Take-Two Interactive Software (NASDAQ:TTWO)

****

36.2%

American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:AEO)

****

31.6%

International Paper (NYSE:IP)

***

41.8%

The Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX)

**

59.1%

Dendreon (NASDAQ:DNDN)

**

44.9%

Source: Motley Fool CAPS. Price return from Feb. 27 through March 27.

Take-Two
The video game sector has been holding up better than the broader economy, with video game retailer GameStop (NYSE:GME) still turning over its wares at a rapid pace. Top game publisher Take-Two is still growing revenue as well, and tracking firm NPD Group reported that video game industry software sales grew 14% in February over last year. Even though Take-Two posted a wider loss than last year in its fiscal first quarter, the results topped analysts’ expectations. Sales from its blockbuster game Grand Theft Auto IV and others drove revenue up 6.8%, but its guidance is still cautious as it looks for another loss this quarter.

The company’s chairman called the quarter the low point for the fiscal year, but the company held the mark on its guidance, and some investors are looking for things to improve from here. New trends could start to work in Take Two's favor, as well -- as digitally delivered games become more popular, Take-Two and other game makers could benefit from higher margins from the inventory-free products. The outlook for Take-Two at this point shows that nearly 92% of the 938 CAPS members rating the company have confidence that it will outperform the market.

American Eagle Outfitters
Except for a few bright spots like Aeropostale's continued growth streak, many retailers continue to report negative comps as consumers limit spending in the face of a worsening economy. American Eagle and Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF) are two recent victims; American Eagle saw a drop in quarterly earnings, as its core customers spent less and looked for lower-priced clothing.

In an effort to get back to growth, the company has been making improvements to its women's clothing lines, which account for a large portion of its sales. It also aims to offer more planned promotions to draw in more value-conscious customers. Even with its current struggles, the company remains profitable, and many CAPS members like the operational freedom of zero long-term debt on American Eagle's balance sheet. More than 94% of the 2,681 members rating the company expect it to ride out the retail storm and outperform the S&P in the future.

And you?
What's your story? Whether you buy the tale of a stock that's soaring or souring, your own research is more important than collective opinions. But these collective opinions can make your due diligence a whole lot easier.

Add your take on these or any of the more than 5,300 stocks that our 130,000-plus members have covered in Motley Fool CAPS. It's totally free to be a part of the community, and the payback is more than worth it.

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 32 points on average, take a free 30-day trial.

Fool contributor Dave Mock has his own story, but there's no "happily ever after" at the end of it. He owns no shares of companies mentioned here. GameStop is a Stock Advisor pick. Take-Two Interactive Software is a Rule Breakers selection. The Fool owns shares of American Eagle Outfitters. The Fool's disclosure policy has the momentum of a freight train, but can stop on a dime.