Investors are always hunting for the next big stock -- the dream stock whose price increases several times over when the market finally discovers it. It's easy to look back and discover the 10 best stocks of the past decade. But I'm more interested in the tools that can help me evaluate tomorrow's greatest companies.

Motley Fool CAPS offers a variety of resources to aid Fools in finding tomorrow's leaders. Our 165,000-member community is full of investors helping each other beat the market.

We'll enlist CAPS to screen for energy-related firms and then get the story behind some of its more highly rated stocks. CAPS' nifty screener will help us find stocks with:

  • A market cap of at least $100 million.
  • A three-year revenue growth rate of at least 15%.
  • A price-to-earnings ratio of less than 25.

Then we'll tap the collective intelligence of our CAPS members to see whether these companies present real opportunities -- or whether the numbers fail to tell the true story.

Opinions with the numbers
Below is a sample of stocks our screen returned.


Revenue Growth Rate, Past 3 Years

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Atwood Oceanics (NYSE: ATW)



Atlas Pipeline Partners (NYSE: APL)



Southwestern Energy (NYSE: SWN)



Source: Motley Fool CAPS as of Aug. 2.

Atwood Oceanics
Shares of many offshore drillers including Atwood Oceanics have faced significant pressure following the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Many have also been hit with Wall Street analyst downgrades, but CAPS members still give Atwood a top five-star rating and like its international exposure, with many believing a bargain opportunity has opened up. Atwood reported an uptick in both fiscal second-quarter earnings and revenue, and the company has rigs in multiple countries including one doing work for Chevron (NYSE: CVX) in Australia with another under construction to replace it next year. With the growth of drilling expected to continue around the world, many members hold a bullish long-term outlook with a near-unanimous 99% of the 2,325 CAPS members rating Atwood Oceanics expecting it to outperform the broader market.   

Atlas Pipeline Partners
Atlas Pipeline Partners swung to a profit in the first quarter and followed it up with a solid second-quarter performance as well. The company sees big growth potential in the Marcellus Shale through its Laurel Mountain joint venture with The Williams Companies (NYSE: WMB). Laurel Mountain has gas-gathering agreements with Atlas Energy, which reported strong second-quarter results in the region and raised its 2011 outlook. Many investors were also pleased to hear about Atlas Pipeline's move to sell its Elk City system assets to Enbridge Energy Partners (NYSE: EEP), which will help it grow further in the Marcellus, deleverage its balance sheet, and reinstate distributions. Many CAPS members have a bullish outlook for Atlas Pipeline Partners and the pipeline industry as a whole, with 93% of the 536 CAPS members rating Atlas Pipeline Partners seeing it as a market-beating investment.     

Southwestern Energy
Similar to low-cost peer Range Resources (NYSE: RRC), Southwestern Energy continues to profitably navigate through a low gas price environment. Both companies have been increasing their production numbers, and some CAPS members are excited about the possibility of rising gas prices boosting earnings in the future. Southwestern grew production by 41% in the first quarter and added to both its top and bottom lines. And the prospect for increasing production and cash flow has earned Southwestern a boosted long-term credit rating from Standard & Poor's. In CAPS, close to 96% of the 849 members rating Southwestern Energy are bullish.     

Let 165,000 members be the jury
The collective wisdom of a huge pool of investors can help give context to a page of numbers from a stock screen. But individual investors are still the best judges of what to do with their own money. Fools should always perform their own due diligence.

Happily, it's easy to chime in with your own opinion. If you agree that these companies present dream opportunities -- or see more of a nightmare instead -- simply scroll down and add your thoughts in the comments box.

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 58 points on average, take a free 30-day trial.

Fool contributor Dave Mock dreams of stocks and sugarplum fairies, but not together. He owns no shares of companies mentioned here. Atwood Oceanics is a Stock Advisor recommendation. Chevron is an Income Investor selection. The Fool's disclosure policy screens the good, the bad, and the ugly.