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 online marketplace Gmarket (NASDAQ:GMKT) jumped 19% last Thursday when it was announced that eBay would buy out the South Korean e-commerce company.

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 35% 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.


CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

Price Change

Terex (NYSE:TEX)



E*Trade Financial (NASDAQ:ETFC)



U.S. Steel (NYSE:X)



Bank of America (NYSE:BAC)



Force Protection (NASDAQ:FRPT)



Source: Motley Fool CAPS. Price return March 20 through April 17.

Just keep building
Earlier this year, Terex shares hit a multiyear low as demand for equipment dropped off a cliff and concerns over the company's suffocating debt grew. But the company recently received concessions from bondholders that pretty much negate any threat of bankruptcy in the near term, and investors have been warming up to the stock again, given its relatively low valuation compared to historical levels.

Terex then made a bold move when it re-announced plans to purchase port equipment maker Fantuzzi, a deal that it had scuttled only months ago when it was wrangling with bigger issues. While the do-over deal is a little unsettling considering the market pressures that Terex is still under, bringing Fantuzzi into the fold will further diversify the equipment maker and bring increased international exposure in places like China.

Many investors are willing to give Terex the benefit of the doubt though, and 97% of the 1,405 CAPS members rating the company expect it to outperform the market.

Bank on this
Even though E*Trade still has billions in exposure to mortgages and other types of loans, shares have made a huge run in recent weeks as the company has shown positive trends in delinquency rates of some loans. Many CAPS members believe the company has good long-term upside potential, and are encouraged by the recent momentum.

While new accounts dropped recently, the net flow of money into accounts has been positive in recent months, with $1.2 billion in February alone, and trading volume also increased 9.8% for the month.

The recent respite in banking sector doom and gloom is playing a role. Some analysts believe the recent revelation that first-quarter results from financial stocks like Wells Fargo and Citigroup (NYSE:C) will disappoint much less than expected has some investors feeling a little more secure in E*Trade.                                       

But it's not all sunshine and pixie sticks. Despite the positive reaction to results from Citigroup and Bank of America, many investors believe that the net income levels reported don't reflect the true performance of the megabanks.

B of A in particular posted net income consisting of mostly one-time items and the benefits of asset-valuation methods. Aside from the too-good-to-be-true earnings, the credit quality on B of A's balance sheet is in decline and provisions for credit losses, net charge-offs, and nonperforming assets have all increased.

At this point, a less-than-convincing 86% of the 8,298 CAPS members rating B of A are bullish, while E*Trade has a stronger backing of 93% of the 2,382 members rating it.

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 and the payback is more than worth it.

The Motley Fool Stock Advisor service looks for companies with strong fundamentals poised to beat the market over the long haul. To see all the stocks that have helped Fool co-founders Tom and David Gardner beat the market by 38 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. Gmarket is a Rule Breakers selection. eBay is a Stock Advisor and Inside Value recommendation. The Fool owns shares of Terex. The Fool's disclosure policy has the momentum of a freight train, but can stop on a dime.