Investors are always hunting for the next big stock -- the dream stock whose price increases several times over when the market finally discovers it. It's easy to look back and discover the 10 best stocks of the past decade. But I'm more interested in the tools that can help me evaluate tomorrow's greatest companies.

Motley Fool CAPS offers a variety of resources to aid Fools in finding tomorrow's leaders. Our 135,000-member community is full of investors helping one another beat the market.

We'll enlist CAPS to screen for financial companies, then get the story behind some of its more highly rated stocks. CAPS' nifty screener will help us find stocks with:

  • A market cap of at least $100 million
  • A three-year revenue growth rate of at least 15%
  • A price-to-earnings ratio of less than 25

Then we'll tap the collective intelligence of our CAPS members to see whether these companies present real opportunities -- or whether the numbers fail to tell the true story.

Opinions with the numbers
Below is a sample of stocks our screen returned. You can run this screen yourself -- remember, though, that your results may differ from ours as the market changes.

Company

Revenue Growth Rate, Past 3 Years

CAPS Rating (out of five)

NYSE Euronext (NYSE:NYX)

61.4%

*****

Nasdaq OMX Group (NASDAQ:NDAQ)

43.6%

****

Banco Santander (NYSE:STD)

18.6%

****

Data and star rankings from CAPS as of July 31.

NYSE Euronext and Nasdaq OMX Group
Many CAPS members are bullish on the outlook for NYSE Euronext, the world's largest owner of stock exchanges. It's making moves to increase its derivatives business in the U.S. and Europe, a market that's attracting competitors such as IntercontinentalExchange (NYSE:ICE) and CME Group (NASDAQ:CME). Recently, the company ended a contract with London-based LCH.Clearnet in order to bring more derivatives clearing in-house. Although the move cost the company more than $400 million in termination charges, NYSE Euronext will now be able to generate more revenue through its Liffe derivatives business and introduce contracts more quickly, with an expected $100 million added to annual revenue. Currently, derivatives account for about 25% of its revenue and have been showing increasing volume in Europe.

Companies like Nasdaq OMX Group and NYSE Euronext enjoy a dominant position in their market that is protected by a strong moat from new entrants because it's difficult and costly to start a new exchange from scratch. With the company earning revenue every time someone makes a stock or option trade on its exchange, even downturns marked with heavy trading are good for Nasdaq OMX Group. Still, many CAPS members expect the exchange to benefit even more when an economic recovery arrives, and many believe the recurring revenue makes it a great stock to own. Like NYSE Euronext, Nasdaq OMX Group is also focusing on the expansion of its clearing business into the rest of Europe. The company hopes to take advantage of an increase in demand and the re-regulation of the financial sector.

Today, nearly 97% of the 2,558 CAPS members rating NYSE Euronext and a similar percentage of the 639 members rating Nasdaq OMX Group expect the stocks to outperform the market.

Banco Santander
Spain's largest bank by assets, Banco Santander, is part of the slim ranks of financial institutions holding up well during the recession and recently reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings. Profits came in 4% lower than last year partially because of increased loan loss provisions but, like Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) and US Bancorp (NYSE:USB), the bank reported stronger net interest income, which rose 26% as it beefed up lending in places like Brazil and the U.K. Banco Santander has one of the higher-quality loan books of regional competitors, and many CAPS members like its exposure to emerging economies. With an attractive dividend yield of 4.10%, nearly 96% of the 471 CAPS members rating Banco Santander expect it to outpace the S&P.

Let 135,000 members be the jury
The collective wisdom of a huge pool of investors can help give context to a page of numbers from a stock screen -- but individual investors are still the best judges. Fools should always perform their own due diligence.

Run your favorite factors through the Motley Fool CAPS screener. It's totally free, and we think you'll like the results.

The Motley Fool Inside Value team looks for beaten-down stocks that are selling at bargain prices well below their intrinsic value. To see the full list of companies recommended today, take a free 30-day trial.

Fool contributor Dave Mock dreams of stocks and sugarplum fairies, but not together. He owns no shares of companies mentioned here. NYSE Euronext is a Rule Breakers pick. Nasdaq OMX Group is an Inside Value recommendation. The Fool's disclosure policy screens the good, the bad, and the ugly.