The first two months of this year were dominated by greater volatility and risk aversion, as choppy economic data, structural problems in Europe, and stimulus reduction in China threw the markets for a loop. The Washington wild card didn't help, either.

Although we've seen some of that turbulence taper off, there could be greater corrective moves on the horizon, likely to be driven by some of the same factors that caused issues for the market earlier this year: sovereign debt in Europe, the U.S. deficit, and financial regulatory reform, among others.

Environments like these present the greatest opportunities for investors who have built serious watch lists of stocks. Pullbacks create more attractive entry points. So if you research and build a list of stocks you want to own, all you'll need to do is wait until each stock reaches your preferred price to pounce. The volatility in this environment should provide you with opportunities to do exactly that.

To start assembling my very own stock wish list, I used the Fool's CAPS screener to find premium companies such as ExxonMobil, which has outperformed the S&P 500 by 9.8% per year on average for the past 10 years.

To screen for some of the market's best stocks, I used the following criteria:

  • A market cap greater than $10 billion, which suggests stability.
  • A current ratio of at least 1, to ensure sufficient liquidity to meet current liabilities.
  • A return on equity north of 15%, to demonstrate efficiency and profitability.
  • Four- and five-star ratings (out of five) from our 160,000-member CAPS community.     

Here are some of the companies I pulled from the results of my scan:

Company

Return on Equity
(Trailing 12 Months)

Market Cap
(in Billions)

Current Ratio

3/29/10 CAPS Rating

ABB (NYSE: ABB)

22.7%

$50.41

1.7

5

Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO)

27.5%

$126.48

1.3

4

Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE: CL)

77.7%

$42.20

1.1

4

H.J. Heinz (NYSE: HNZ)

46.8%

$14.47

1.6

4

Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT)

73.2%

$31.56

1.2

4

McDonald's (NYSE: MCD)

32.4%

$72.35

1.1

4

Medco Health Solutions

20.0%

$30.26

1.3

4

Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL)

21.1%

$128.19

3.0

4

Data from Motley Fool CAPS as of March 31.

The CAPS screener can suggest all kinds of promising companies, but running a screen should be only the first step in your stock research. Come and join our CAPS online investing community (it's totally free!) to delve further into these companies, and see whether they're right for your portfolio.

For related Foolishness:

Fool contributor Jennifer Schonberger owns shares of Oracle and Medco Health but of no other companies mentioned in this article. You can follow her on Twitter. Coca-Cola is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Medco Health Solutions is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. ABB is a Motley Fool Global Gains pick. H.J. Heinz and Coca-Cola are Motley Fool Income Investor choices. The Fool owns shares of Oracle and is writing puts on it. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.