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 see what the 10 best stocks of the past decade were. But for my part, I'm more interested in the tools that can not only help me find new stock ideas, but also have the resources necessary to evaluate tomorrow's greatest companies.

There is a tool that offers a variety of resources to help with finding tomorrow's leaders: Motley Fool CAPS.

We'll enlist CAPS to screen for top energy stocks and get the story behind them. 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 20%.
  • A price-to-earnings ratio of less than 25.
  • A return on equity of at least 20%.

Then we'll tap the collective intelligence of our 110,000-plus CAPS investors to see whether these companies present real opportunities -- or whether the numbers fail to tell the true story.

Opinions with the numbers
Here's a sampling from the list of stocks our screen pulled up today.


Revenue Growth Rate, Past 3 Years

Return on Equity (Trailing 12 Months)

CAPS Rating (Out of 5)

Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB)




Petroleo Brasileiro (NYSE:PBR)








Transocean (NYSE:RIG)




ENSCO International (NYSE:ESV)




Data and star rankings from CAPS. All data as of July 25.

Like most companies in the energy sector, oilfield-services company Schlumberger is riding the energy wave to fatter profits. The company recently released second-quarter results showing a 13% year-over-year increase in net income, generated from $6.75 billion in revenue. And with oil and gas producers looking for raw materials in harder-to-work places, it makes sense that service companies such as Schlumberger stand to benefit. CAPS members overwhelmingly agree, with 97% of the 2,251 rating the company believing Schlumberger will outperform the market.       

Petroleo Brasileiro
Brazil's Petrobras already has a strong asset portfolio, and its massive offshore discovery last year in the Tupi oil field will have the company processing an additional 5 billion to 8 billion barrels of light-gravity oil for years to come. But that doesn't even begin to speak to the potential that may be sit in the Carioca and Sugar Loaf oil discovery. With reserves growing dramatically, many investors see the company poised to pop and run higher. As a result, more than 98% of the 2,770 CAPS members have voted for Petrobras to outperform the S&P going forward.

XTO Energy
Oil prices have been easing lately, but natural gas-focused producer XTO Energy isn't slowing down, with plans to double its 2007 reserves and production by the end of 2011. In a strategy that focuses on acquiring and developing existing opportunities rather than risking its capital on exploration, XTO for this year has $10.6 billion in acquisition commitments, which are expected to generate $2.4 billion in cash flow for 2009. CAPS investors largely hold a positive outlook on the stock as well -- 1,747 of the 1,784 members rating XTO expect it to outperform the market.

A longtime drilling-services favorite, Transocean has kept its stock marching higher, thanks to rising profits and solid backlog. Most recently, its backlog jumped by about $3 billion, including four new contracts from Petrobras. Resource scouting by other explorers such as Chevron (NYSE:CVX) has been keeping deepwater rig availability tight and should keep Transocean and other competing drillers, such as Atwood Oceanics (NYSE:ATW), busy for years to come. In CAPS, Transocean has 4,044 of 4,137 CAPS members rating the company bullish.

ENSCO International
Another offshore driller, ENSCO, posted solid quarterly results last Wednesday. Its fleet of high-quality jackup rigs, which operate in shallow water, are proving to be a solid cash generator. The company is looking to gain more share in the Gulf of Mexico and is moving in to capture demand in the deepwater as well. Many CAPS members see a unique position and great value in ENSCO -- 98% of the 813 members rating the company expect it to outperform the market.

Let 110,000 investors be the judge
The collective wisdom of a huge pool of investors can help give context to a page of numbers developed through a stock screen. But even with an entire community of qualified opinions acting as the judge, individual investors are still the jury and should perform their own due diligence.

Want to run your favorite parameters through the Motley Fool CAPS screener? It's totally free, including the extensive investor knowledge base of ratings, commentary, and blogs.

Oil and exploration could still have a few years of high growth left before them. To see a group of companies with the same growth prospects, try out Rule Breakers, on us, for 30 days.

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