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 Men's Wearhouse jumped nearly 19% last Thursday after its quarterly results handily blew past analyst expectations for profit.

But beyond less-predictable events like that one are stocks with fundamentally compelling reasons behind a big move. The trick is to find 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 165,000 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 15% 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^

VAALCO Energy (NYSE: EGY)

****

30.3%

Neurocrine Biosciences (Nasdaq: NBIX)

***

71.2%

US Airways (NYSE: LCC)

*

40.1%

Source: Motley Fool CAPS.
^From May 14 through June 11.

US Airways
While United Airlines (Nasdaq: UAUA) and Continental (NYSE: CAL) are hoping to create synergies with a merger, US Airways' CEO Doug Parker recently said his company is not looking for a partner, and that the stand-alone company will end up in the black this quarter.

US Airways reported a jump in traffic in May and also saw its revenue per available seat mile grow by an impressive 18%. The recent uptick in activity has earned the airline carrier an upgrade from JPMorgan Chase, but many CAPS members remain skeptical and still see challenges in the highly competitive space. Only 56% of the 774 members rating US Airways see it as a market-beating investment.

Neurocrine Biosciences
Shares of Neurocrine skyrocketed following positive results from the midstage clinical study of its endometriosis treatment, with investors excited about the huge potential market for such treatments. The company has several other clinical programs expected to deliver study results within the next year, including a collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) for treatment of mood disorders and irritable bowel syndrome.

Neurocrine recently strengthened its balance sheet with an offer to the equity markets that raised more cash, and even though there are plenty of risks in the development-stage company, many CAPS members are won over by the potential of its pipeline. Overall, 91% of the 334 CAPS members rating Neurocrine Biosciences expect it to outperform the broader market.

VAALCO Energy
While many energy firms face delays in the Gulf of Mexico because of the recent moratorium that could cripple the industry there, business is carrying on for VAALCO Energy since much of its property is off the coast of West Africa. Some analysts are also looking for foreign players like Brazil's Petrobras (NYSE: PBR) to benefit during this uncertain time by making use of additional rigs that sit idle in the Gulf.

The market was pleased with VAALCO's latest quarterly results, which saw rising revenue and a swing to a profit helped by higher crude prices over last year. The company has no debt on the balance sheet and looks to continue funding exploration with cash from operations and what it has on hand.

Its position leaves CAPS members widely bullish on the stock, with 97% of the 1,537 CAPS members who rated VAALCO Energy giving it a thumbs-up.

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 165,000-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 62 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. Petroleo Brasileiro is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. The Fool owns shares of GlaxoSmithKline. The Fool's disclosure policy has the momentum of a freight train, but can stop on a dime.