Right now, many of my fellow analysts from the Rule Breakers stock-picking team are meeting with the movers and shakers of Silicon Valley. They're rolling up their sleeves, asking key executives all of the hard questions, and reporting back to the growing community of Rule Breakers newsletter subscribers. They're visiting some of the more dynamic publicly traded companies. They're also knocking on the doors of the rapidly growing, privately held upstarts that will undoubtedly spark the next wave of successful IPOs out of the Valley.

I'm telling you what they're doing to illustrate what they are not doing. They aren't pitying themselves over the roughly 40% plunge in the major market indices over the past year. They aren't curling up into a fetal position because the country's financial system is in disarray or the newsletter service's scorecard is getting smacked around.

They are doing the right thing, in using their minds at a time when the rest of the market is losing its mind.

Move in for the big moment
Now is the time, my friend.

Time to buy? Are you nuts? How am I supposed to know that? I can't tell you whether the market is going to plunge another 10%, 20%, or even 30%. No one can. However, I can tell you that if you spend these next few hours, days, and weeks researching the companies that will bounce back the strongest when the market does turn around -- and it will -- you won't just beat the market. You will obliterate the market.

Now is the time -- to think.

The easiest way to beat the market
Investors tend to throw out the baby with the bathwater or. A bad earnings report or a sector wrinkle can send the entire market for a dip, even though many of the roughed-up stocks are perfectly fine.

While struggling companies continue to dominate news coverage as commentators debate their solvency, you don't want to look for stocks that are just staying intact during the downfall. You want to find companies that are improving during the deluge.

How can you do that? Simply collect the names of companies on which analysts are jacking up forward earnings estimates, at a time when the general market is being talked down.

You probably didn't expect a whole lot of optimism out there in a nervous market, but there is some out there. In fact, here are seven stocks that find market watchers raising their profit targets for next year:

Fiscal 2009 EPS Estimate

90 Days Ago





Sherwin-Williams (NYSE:SHW)



Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG)



Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ:BWLD)



Buckle (NYSE:BKE)



Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI)






Source: Yahoo! Finance.

That's an eclectic -- if not entirely unexpected -- collection, is it not? Baidu and NetEase are picking up steam in China, a stock market that has taken even harder blows than our own. Poke around many of the other sectors, and you won't find too many paint, medical-equipment, restaurant, retailer, and radio stocks with improving fundamentals.

This list should be an eye-opener: Even in this cascading stream of a market, there are salmon fighting the rush to head upstream and slip past the hungry bears. That's why I'm looking. It's why my friends are knocking. And it's why you should be joining us, if not as members, then at least as believers that now is the best time ever to bone up on market research.

Opportunity is knocking. You don't have to swing the door open right away. In fact, you probably shouldn't. Take the time to look through the peephole. Relish the joy of knowing what others don't. Be on the lookout for companies with improving fundamentals, and add them to the list.

If you'd like to use our research as a starting point, you can read our dispatches from our Silicon Valley interviews. Just click here, enter your email address, and let us know where to send them.

Longtime Fool contributor and Rule Breakers analyst Rick Munarriz owns no shares in any of the stocks in this article -- yet! NetEase, Intuitive Surgical, and Baidu are Motley Fool Rule Breakers selections. Buffalo Wild Wings is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems selection. Sherwin-Williams is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. The Fool owns shares of Buffalo Wild Wings and has a disclosure policy.