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 small-cap companies, then get the story behind some of its more highly rated stocks. CAPS' nifty screener will help us find stocks with:

  • A market cap between $100 million and $1 billion.
  • A three year revenue growth rate of at least 30%.
  • 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.

Company

Revenue Growth Rate,
Past 3 Years

P/E Ratio

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

China Natural Gas (Nasdaq: CHNG)

46.4%

6.6

*****

Genco Shipping & Trading (NYSE: GNK)

33.2%

3.4

*****

Advanced Battery Technologies (Nasdaq: ABAT)

37.2%

8.0

***

Data and star rankings from CAPS as of Aug. 13.

China Natural Gas
In addition to adding more residential natural gas pipeline customers, China Natural Gas has been adding new compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations to its network and recently opened its liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility in Shaanxi province. The company reported an uptick in second-quarter natural gas sales that helped translate into an 18% increase in its bottom line, and many CAPS members like the growth possibilities in the Chinese market. 

U.S.-based Clean Energy Fuels' (Nasdaq: CLNE) CEO calls the opportunity in China "enormous." The company recently agreed to purchase compressor maker IMW Industries, which is supplying equipment to new stations there. 

The vast majority of the CAPS members rating China Natural Gas agree; more than 97% of the 1,595 CAPS participants who've rated the company expect it to outperform the broader market. 

Genco Shipping & Trading
Following double-digit second-quarter revenue increases at dry bulk peers Eagle Bulk Shipping (Nasdaq: EGLE) and Excel Maritime Carriers (NYSE: EXM), Genco Shipping reported 12% revenue growth for the quarter, helped by strong time charter coverage. In a bid to boost future earnings, Genco is hoping to score big with its strategy of aggressively adding to its fleet, since vessel prices are far cheaper today than in previous years. While the growing fleet has increased its expenses and lowered its bottom line, many CAPS members see a value opportunity in Genco's shares, even though an oversupply of vessels in the dry bulk industry remains a concern for some investors. Overall, 96% of the 1,086 CAPS members rating Genco Shipping & Trading are bullish.

Advanced Battery Technologies
CAPS members have been warming up to Advanced Battery lately. The company has expanded its products and looks to gain from a growing electric-vehicle market. Following up on a solid first quarter, the company recently reported a strong second quarter. Its electric vehicle business acquisition last year helped boost second-quarter sales by 65.8%. It also managed to grow earnings more than fourfold, while battery-making peer A123 Systems (Nasdaq: AONE) suffered lower shipments and a quarterly loss. In contrast, Advanced Battery remains bullish in its outlook; it's upgrading its capacity to meet strong demand. When comparing bulls to bears, 88% of the 864 CAPS members rating Advanced Battery Technologies believe it will be a market-beating investment.

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 63 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. The Fool's disclosure policyscreens the good, the bad and the ugly.