Some stocks simply have such great potential that "everyone" knows they're a good buy today. Yeah, right.

If we knew in advance that Apple would return more than 2,500% over the past decade, we'd have mortgaged our house on it -- and yours, too! It's easy to see, after the fact, which companies have been winning investments. But we need to know beforehand which stocks will grow hundreds or thousands of percent in value over the years. That's where the Motley Fool CAPS investor-intelligence community comes in.

The more than 100,000 professional and novice investors in CAPS rarely agree on a stock's prospects. Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation FormFactor (Nasdaq: FORM), for example, is a well-respected, top-rated stock, and only 13 of the nearly 1,000 CAPS players to rate it think it will underperform the market. So when you come across a stock like that that nearly everyone thinks will outperform, you've got something special. Here are a handful of those "obvious" investments.

Company

Bulls

All-Star Bulls

Price

Colfax (NYSE: CFX)

83

31

$24.05

TransMontaigne Partners (NYSE: TLP)

64

29

$30.22

Indosat (NYSE: IIT)

49

29

$32.64

Digital Ally (Nasdaq: DGLY)

39

10

$10.82

Highland Distressed Opportunities (NYSE: HCD)

35

14

$7.41

Sources: Motley Fool CAPS and Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's.

As always, none of the companies on this list should be considered formal recommendations -- just starting points for further research. We've simply used CAPS to narrow down your workload.

Now that's a gas!
Selling pumps and valves isn't the sexiest industry -- in fact it's downright boring -- and it's hard to imagine an IPO of a company that manufactures those things beating out the Next Big Thing du jour, but Colfax did just that last week when it debuted on the markets and saw its shares close the day 17% higher. In contrast, Real Goods Solar found itself trading 12% lower from its IPO the same day.

Dreary industries are where you can find the much-sought Peter Lynch "10-baggers." Flowserve (NYSE: FLS), which serves the same market as Colfax, has increased nearly eight times in value over the past five years, returning more than 50% annually. With profits like that, there seems to be enough room for several winning investments in the sector.

It's that out-of-the-way opportunity that attracts investors like CAPS player JosephStalin, who sees it as a play on the build-out of global infrastructure:

This company consistently beats earnings and has international exposure -- great play on the global infrastructure boom. Perhaps the best thing about this stock is that it isn't in a sexy industry like Apple or Google. ...

Having operated out of the public glare in an otherwise obscure industry, Colfax now has investors such as CAPS' donktastic seeing its juicy returns as a time to feast:

Colfax supplies the marine, engineering, oil, and gas industries with a few different kind of pumps and fluid handling systems. I like how they're diversified globally with distributors in 79 countries. Total revenue and gross profit have consistently gone up since 2005. Operating income was way up in 2007 from 2006. Seems like a solid company.

Let's hear from you
How about your take on these or other "obvious" winning investments? Is this a chance to dig deep with your portfolio to expand to 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.

FormFactor is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey owns shares of FormFactor 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.