Some stocks simply have such great potential that "everyone" knows they are a good buy today. Yeah, we wish.

If we knew beforehand that Adobe Systems would return nearly 800% over the past decade, not only would we have mortgaged the house on it -- we'd have mortgaged your house, too!

In fact, if investing were so easy, we'd all be millionaires. It's easy to see after the fact which companies have been the winning investments. We need a way to know beforehand which companies will grow tens of thousands of percent in value over the years. But there hasn't been one -- until now.

We can check the opinions of the more than 78,000 professional and novice investors in Motley Fool CAPS, tracking which stocks they think will beat or lag the market. 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 to 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 Stock Advisor recommendation Barr Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:BRL) is a well-respected, top-rated stock, rated by more than 760 CAPS investors. Yet while some 737 of them think the stock will beat the market, there are still 30 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 ought to take notice.

Here are a handful of those "obvious" investments.

Company

Bulls

All-Star Bulls

Price

Return on Capital, TTM*

Covance (NYSE:CVD)

143

61

$87.11

14%

O'Reilly Automotive (NASDAQ:ORLY)

111

21

$31.27

12.4%

Atlantic Tele-Network (NASDAQ:ATNI)

110

39

$33.47

14.4%

Everest Re Group (NYSE:RE)

69

29

$98.52

13.2%

Mitsui & Co. (NASDAQ:MITSY)

52

24

$406.13

3.8%

Sources: Motley Fool CAPS, Yahoo!, and Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's. Price reflects yesterday's close.
*Trailing 12 months.

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

Ringing up value
Picking and choosing markets that the large players ignore has allowed Atlantic Tele-Network to prosper. In the third quarter ended in September, the rural wireless carrier (which also serves Guyana and Bermuda) posted 14% revenue growth, along with a 24% increase in profits. Yet the decision to sell 59 cell sites in the Midwest while purchasing and leasing spectrum, even as it builds out a network that will handle at least 70 other rural sites, might just constrain operations for the immediate future.

CAPS investor TMFSpreadsheet likes the long-term posture of this niche player, even though various metrics seem a little rich. Over five years, CAPS coll seen as outperforming the market, though he thinks of it as a hold at current prices, as he wrote at the end of last August.

Average annual sales growth of 20% over last 4 years. Average annual EPS growth of 23% over last 4 years. The pretax profit has fallen in the past two years, so this is of some concern. The EPS/book value has risen in the past two years. The debt-to-equity ratio fell last year, after climbing the previous 3 years, so this is a change in the right direction. The current P/E is higher than its 5 year average, which is bad, and it is in fact higher than the highs reached in 4 of the past 5 years, so this is pretty bad. The current payout ratio according to Yahoo! is 21%, so this is good and low, so the dividend, currently yielding 1.7%, should be secure. I think this stock could hit $58.00 in five years, or about 75% above the current price of $32.98. Considering the relatively low forward price appreciation expected of the stock, plus its decent current yield, I think that this stock is a Hold at this point.

Let's hear from you
How about your take on these or other "obvious" winning investments? Is this the chance to dial up profits from the next "buy now" stock? If you want to add your two cents, sign up to join the Motley Fool CAPS community, which is 100% free.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey owns shares of Barr, but does not have a financial position in any of the other stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings here. Barr Pharmaceuticals is a recommendation of Motley Fool Stock Advisor. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.