There are plenty of strategies for picking stock winners, from finding low P/E stocks to seeking companies selling at a discount to their future cash flows. At the small-cap investment service Motley Fool Hidden Gems, even in this market, the analysts are able to stay ahead of the pack by finding undervalued stocks that Wall Street and investors have ignored.

But what if we could whittle down our list of prospects beforehand, to find those whose engines are just getting warmed up?

Using our investor intelligence database at Motley Fool CAPS, I screened for stocks that were marked up by investors before their share prices rose over the past three months. My screen returned 181 stocks when I ran it, no doubt reflecting the market's continued recovery, and included these recent winners:


CAPS Rating

CAPS Rating

Trailing 13-Week

Abraxas Petroleum




Coinstar (Nasdaq: CSTR)








Source: Motley Fool CAPS Screener; trailing performance from Jan. 29 to April 26. 

Coinstar, in fact, was previously picked as a stock ready to run just this past February. But while this screen might tell us which stocks we should have looked at three months ago, we'd rather find the stocks that we ought to be looking at today. I went back to the screener and looked for stocks that were just bumped up to three stars or better, sport valuations lower than the market's average, and haven't appreciated by more than 10% in the past month.

Of the 40 stocks the screen returned, here are three that are still attractively priced, but which investors think are ready to run today:


CAPS Rating 1/27/09

CAPS Rating 4/26/10

Trailing 4-Week Performance

PE Ratio

Pitney Bowes (NYSE: PBI)





SkyPeople Fruit Juice (NYSE: SPU)





W.R. Grace (NYSE: GRA)





Source: Motley Fool CAPS Screener; price return from April 1 to April 26.

You can run your own version of this screen over on CAPS; just remember that the data's dynamically updated in real time, so your results may vary. That said, let's examine why investors might think these companies will go on to beat the market.

Pitney Bowes
Known best for its postage meters, mail management specialist Pitney Bowes looks to benefit from an improving business climate. Perhaps the recovery does have some legs, as even office supply stores are announcing sales gains. Staples (Nasdaq: SPLS) reported positive same store retail sales in North America for the first time in 10 quarters.

CAPS member DividendFreak sees a global economy returning to normalcy, but as this member's screen name suggests, Pitney Bowes' "lush" payout is attractive.

Despite the general woes of snail mail, [Pitney Bowes] is the undisputed leader of equipment that helps streamline and control the costs of an evergrowing etail sector. With it's lush 6% dividend and niche as a critical supplier for business mailing support services I look for [Pitney Bowes] to a solid long term performer with the potential for short term outperformance as its increasing price brings the dividend yield down into the 2-4% range.

SkyPeople Fruit Juice
Selling juice in the world's largest consumer market as Chinese beverage maker SkyPeople Fruit Juice does, would normally have investors salivating at the chance to jump in, particularly as the lone analyst covering the company projects 30% annual earnings growth for a half-decade. Yet the Motley Fool Global Gains team thinks SkyPeople may offer a suboptimal opportunity, in part, because its management team has had a few too many stumbles already.

The CAPS community, though, is fully behind SkyPeople, with all of the members rating the juicer indicating it will outperform the market. therailsplitter likens it to the next Hansen Natural. Will you be the one to break the unanimous opinion on the SkyPeople Fruit Juice CAPS page, or do you agree it's juiced up enough to keep going?

W.R. Grace
Former asbestos products maker W.R. Grace has been operating under bankruptcy protection since 2001, when it could no longer fight the tide of asbestos-related lawsuits. Today Grace is a different company. It provides chemical products to the petroleum and construction industries, and it's looking to have its reorganization plan confirmed by the courts. It recorded a first quarter profit last week and would have seen a 5% increase in revenue but for an accounting charge due to a joint venture it has with Chevron (NYSE: CVX). The venture's results are no longer consolidated with Grace's reports.

Despite its colorful history, 80% of the CAPS members rating the specialty chemical company have marked it to outperform the broad market averages. Let us know on the W.R. Grace CAPS page whether it warrants a return to our good graces.

Three for free
Are these companies still a good value and ready to make their move? I'm heading over to CAPS to mark them to outperform the broader averages. If you agree join me there, or let us know in the comments section below whether you think these or any other stocks are starting to rev their engines.

Hansen Natural is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Staples is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. 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.