A stock's price follows its earnings, which in turn follow its sales. A company needs only to take care of its business for investors to profit in the long run.

With that in mind, examining companies whose revenues and profits are rising -- and which inspire analysts' confidence in continued future growth -- should give us a fertile field in which to discover solid candidates for long-term outperformance.

Below are a handful of companies that have enjoyed 15% or more annual growth in sales and earnings over the past three years, and for which analysts forecast total growth of 15% or more over the next two years. We'll then pair up those predictions with the community stock research at Motley Fool CAPS, to get an idea of which companies the 145,000-plus members think have the best chances of beating the market over the long haul.

Company

3-Year Past Revenue Annual Growth %

3-Year Past EPS Annual Growth%

Est. 2-Year Future EPS Growth

Est. 2-Year Future Revenue Growth

CAPS Rating

Atheros Communications (NASDAQ:ATHR)

22%

29%

35%

34%

****

Corinthian Colleges (NASDAQ:COCO)

16%

38%

50%

20%

**

Digital Realty Trust (NYSE:DLR)

35%

55%

45%

20%

*

DreamWorks Animation (NYSE:DWA)

26%

24%

31%

19%

****

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)

31%

27%

16%

16%

***

Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's; Motley Fool CAPS.

Just because an analyst predicts that a company will feature fantastic growth opportunities doesn't mean those predictions will become reality. But their preferred picks do offer an excellent starting place for your own research into extreme buying opportunities, so let's see why the operations of some of these companies may or may not be held in high esteem by investors considering they appear to be sales and profits machines.

Grinding down the competition
Just the thought that Google would pull out of China sent Baidu.com (NASDAQ:BIDU) shares soaring, but on cooler reflection, there might not be the big loss that was expected. While the opportunity there is admittedly huge, Google only realized 2% of its revenues from the Chinese market. A pullout, while headline-worthy, isn't the death knell it was portrayed as. Besides, investors like CAPS member dance2die think the lure of money will keep them from pulling out:

Google with not pull out of China; There is just too much money at stake. Google's "Do No Evil" will crumble before monetary potential in China. Google is smart enough to get around China's restrictions.

With the potential of Android-based phone offerings, as well as hacking a workaround to get a Google Voice app functioning on Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone, Google's new, lower stock price seems like a good entry point and worthy of the support that the nearly 13,000 members on the Google CAPS page have bestowed upon it.

Making a connection
Wireless networking equipment maker Atheros Communications is also building upon the excitement of the smartphone market, even if it did lose out on contracts for the iPhone and Nexus One. Revenues soared 89% last quarter as it reversed a year ago loss.

CAPS All-Star billsmith574 gives them credit for being able to turn a profit even in these economic conditions and finds the technical indicators pointing to a bigger run:

This company is taking off for the highest of highs. From a technical standpoint it has reached a new all time high and shows no upward resistance with the support is being lain currently at the price of 35.48 its former all time high. Getting this company for anything below that is a steal. The elder bull is an astounding 2.5 in a one year time period. The Williams %R represents an extreme oversold number of -17.45. The directional movement is spread to the positive side in an enormous margin of 32.27 and is still rising. From a fundamental standpoint this company is in the upper quartile of its industry for every important statistic. It is reinvesting profit margins of an unprecedented amount for the industry back into the business. With all this I believe this could be a 100% growth on the year and i believe that 30 to 40 percent of that may be happening in the next five weeks. BUY NOW YOU WON'T REGRET IT.

No Great Depression
It pays to start your own research on these stocks on Motley Fool CAPS. Read a company's financial reports, scrutinize key data and charts, and examine the comments your fellow investors have made -- all from a stock's CAPS page. Why not head over to the completely free CAPS service and let us hear what you've got to say about these, or any other stocks that you think we should fill up our dance card with.

Baidu and Google are Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendations. Apple and DreamWorks Animation SKG are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Atheros Communications is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick. The Fool owns shares of Atheros Communications. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services today, free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey does not have a financial position in any of the stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings here. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.