Investments that have been successful over the long term almost assuredly share at least one thing in common -- growth. You'll be able to find very few companies that have been unable to increase their earnings and yet still produce good returns for shareholders.

Think about it this way: Dividends aside, investors reap their gains when a company's stock price goes up. The stock price is typically driven by two levers -- earnings and the multiple that investors are willing to pay for those earnings. Since earnings multiples tend to fluctuate within a certain range, long-term investors should have a keen focus on the company's ability to increase earnings.

Does it seem too simple? Maybe keeping it simple is a good plan sometimes. After all, as Third Avenue's Marty Whitman has put it:

Based on my own personal experience -- both as an investor in recent years and an expert witness in years past -- rarely do more than three or four variables really count. Everything else is noise.

With that in mind, I've kept it simple and dug up five stocks that analysts expect will notch long-term earnings growth of 10% or better. I've also pulled up the CAPS rating for each stock to show what the 135,000-member Motley Fool's CAPS community thinks of the company's prospects.


Expected Long-Term
EPS Growth Rate

Forward P/E

CAPS rating
(out of 5)

Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ:BWLD)




Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM)




GameStop (NYSE:GME)




Noble Corp. (NYSE:NE)




Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC)




Sources: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's, Yahoo! Finance, and CAPS. EPS = earnings per share. P/E = price-to-earnings ratio.

Wall Street analysts aren't known for being supernatural in their forecasting skills, so not all of these estimates may pan out. However, this list may be a good place to dig in for further research. I'll get you started with some thoughts on a couple of these stocks.

Cool to the touch
I imagine that most of you already know Research In Motion as the maker of the BlackBerry smartphone, which has the business market on lockdown. If you've somehow missed the BlackBerry phenomenon, let's just say it was one of the first mobile devices to make the "smart" in smartphone seem like more than a clever name.

A host of competitors have caught wind of the massive opportunity in the smartphone market though, and today RIMM faces increasing competition from folks like Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Nokia, and Palm (NASDAQ:PALM). Heck, even Google is getting into the mix.

The growing war zone in the smartphone market has spooked enough CAPS members to help sink RIMM's stock to a lackluster two-star rating.

Bringing the heat
But what about high growth and a high rating from the CAPS community? For that we can turn to Noble Corp.

The world needs oil, and the ocean floor has got it. Lucky for us there are companies out there like Noble, which provide offshore drilling services for sites that are anywhere from slightly underwater to thousands of feet below the surface.

While oil prices have been more volatile than an intoxicated Eagles fan at the Meadowlands, CAPS members by and large have stuck to their faith in the long-term potential of oil and related companies.

But why Noble in particular? Let's take a look at what CAPS All-Star MattH42004 had to say earlier this year:

Noble has a lot of things going for it, including a very strong balance sheet. With over 500 million in cash and only 180 million in debt coming due over the next five years, Noble clearly has the financial ability to maneuver through the difficult times ahead. Their [fleet] utilization is still strong, and looking into the future, their deepwater rigs will be able to command a premium when oil prices return back to a normal range.

But what do you think?
Which of these stocks do you think has what it takes to post solid growth in this economy? Or have analysts been too optimistic? More than 135,000 members of the free CAPS community are sharing their opinions on thousands of stocks. Head over to CAPS and let the community know what you think of Research In Motion, Noble, or any of the other stocks listed above.

Related CAPS Foolishness:

Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Apple and GameStop are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Buffalo Wild Wings is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation. The Fool owns shares of Buffalo Wild Wings. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. We're educating, amusing, and enriching up a storm. 

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. You can check out the stocks he's keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS page or you can connect with him on Twitter @KoppTheFool. The Fool's disclosure policy likes to keep it simple -- make your disclosure properly and you don't get put in the dreaded triangle choke.