Volatile markets seem to be the norm these days, as stocks gyrate through ups and downs on a daily basis. But sometimes buyout news and other short-term forces can send individual stocks soaring by 10%, 25%, even 50% -- even on the market's worst days.        

For example, shares of software company Novell (Nasdaq: NOVL) surged 28% when hedge fund Elliott Associates offered to buy the remainder of the company it didn't already own for a healthy premium.      

But beyond less-predictable events like that one are stocks with fundamentally compelling reasons behind a big move. The trick lies in finding 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. Here's an example of how we can use the collective wisdom of more than 150,000 CAPS members to filter out the noise and find companies with strong potential.

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. Then we can use the insight of the CAPS investment community to add some context to these market movers.

Company

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

4-Week
Price Change

Bucyrus (Nasdaq: BUCY)

*****

30%

RAIT Financial Trust (NYSE: RAS)

****

78.2%

United States Steel

****

31.5%

Conseco

***

32.5%

TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO)

**

98.9%

Source: Motley Fool CAPS. Price return from Feb. 5 through March 5.

Bucyrus
Many CAPS members still hold a strong long-term outlook for mining equipment maker Bucyrus, even after seeing the stock jump more than 450% in the past 52 weeks. While main competitor Joy Global (Nasdaq: JOYG) recently provided a bright outlook for commodities, Bucyrus pulled in a solid quarter of earnings growth and has been seeing increasing demand for parts and services as well. Investors also like the growth opportunities the recent acquisition of the mining-equipment business of Terex offers -- by beefing up its product line with additional mining equipment, Bucyrus is expecting to double its market of potential customers. When comparing bulls to bears in CAPS, 97% of the 1,098 members rating Bucyrus see it outperforming the broader market.

TiVo
After receiving its favorable court ruling last week, shares of TiVo exploded more than 60% higher while shares of counterparty Dish Network shed a mere 5%. It was the latest outcome for TiVo's ongoing battle to defend its patents, which also includes going after AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon for similar infringement. The digital video recorder maker plans to try to wring out even more money from Dish and sister company Echostar than the approximately $300 million it had already been awarded, and some investors like the added leverage that the ruling gives TiVo in other court cases.

As more options are becoming available for consumers to use the Internet to deliver media to their TVs, TiVo hopes to take command of the living room with the release of its new Premiere box at Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) and Amazon.com. Some CAPS members believe more licensing deals will help improve TiVo's inconsistent profits, but the stock still sits at a two-star rating with only about 77% of the 1,006 CAPS members rating TiVo voting for it to beat the market.

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 5,400 stocks that our 150,000-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 54 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. Best Buy is an Inside Value recommendation. Amazon and Best Buy are Stock Advisor choices. The Fool owns shares of Best Buy and Terex. The Fool's disclosure policy has the momentum of a freight train, but it can stop on a dime.