Some stocks simply have such absolute potential that "everyone" knows they are a good buy today. Yeah. We wish.

If we knew ahead of time that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) would return more than 4,300% over the past 10 years we'd have mortgaged the house. If we had the inside scoop that Hansen Natural was a 27,000% winner over the past decade, we'd have mortgaged your house too!

In fact, if investing were easy, we'd all be millionaires. After the fact it's clear to see which companies have been the winning investments. What we need is a way to foresee which companies will become the next Microsoft or Wal-Mart, growing tens of thousands of percent in value over the years. But there hasn't been a way.

Until now, that is.

More than 72,000 professional and novice investors have rated stocks on Motley Fool CAPS, and we can check their opinions on which stocks will beat the market and which will lose to it. While it's often a tug-of-war between the bulls and the bears, we've identified dozens of stocks that members of CAPS have unanimously chosen will outperform the market.

That's no small feat. Thousands upon thousands of companies have been rated, and convincing arguments can, and are, made on both sides. For example, Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation Wrigley (NYSE:WWY) is a top-rated stock -- nearly 400 CAPS investors have rated the company. While some 379 of them think the stock will beat the market, there are a dozen-and-a-half CAPS investors who don't.

So when you come across a stock that everyone thinks is going to outperform, you've got something special, and we as investors would like to hear about it.

Here are a handful of those "obvious" investments.



CAPS Rating

Atlas Energy Resources (NYSE:ATN)



Elbit Systems (NASDAQ:ESLT)



Respironics (NASDAQ:RESP)



Peerless Manufacturing (NASDAQ:PMFG)



L.S. Starrett (NYSE:SCX)



As always, none of the companies on this list should be considered formal recommendations but rather starting points for further research. What we've done is narrowed your workload by focusing on the companies CAPS investors are universally expecting to beat the market.

Don't snooze on Respironics
Sleep apnea is a medical condition that causes you to stop breathing while you sleep, and leads to a range of health problems from hypertension to elbow-in-the-ribs syndrome from your bed partner because you snore loudly when you suddenly wake up. As I suffer from apnea myself, I'm somewhat conversant with its symptoms. (I can show you the bruises.)

Respironics makes medical devices like CPAP and BiPAP machines that help sufferers (on both sides of the bed) get a nightful of sleep. A CPAP machine gently forces air into the airways of the apnea patient, sustaining positive air pressure and, thus, breathing passages open. No more snoring, no more stopped breathing -- and a healthier, well-rested patient. Respironics faces tough competition from ResMed, but the portable device market is a growing one as apnea is believed to afflict more than 12 million people.

A small coterie of CAPS players so far have endorsed Respironics, some, like fenti, from personal experience:

Blissfully slept with their quality product for 10 [years] with no problems. Good cash reserves. Should do well with aging demographics and rampant obesity. Sure cure for snoring.

Others aren't as sold. For instance, georgialax, who still rated the company an outperform, noted last year that ResMed was late to the game with portable devices.

Respironics has come out with small portable cpap and bipap machines, something Resmed hasn't done yet. They also leverage their business with other equipment such as oxygen and nebulizer machines. The market may go down but when someone needs oxygen or breathing medication they have to buy.

Let's hear from you
How about your take on these or other "obvious" winning investments? Should we sleep on it, or go find the next "buy now" stock?  To add your two cents, sign up to join the Motley Fool CAPS community, which is 100% free.

Wrigley's is a recommendation of Motley Fool Income Investor. Wal-Mart and Microsoft are recommendations of Motley Fool Inside Value. Grab 30 days of stock picks free of charge to any of the Fool's investment services by clicking here.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey owns shares of Wal-Mart but does not have a financial position in any of the other stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings here. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.