A stock's price follows its earnings, which in turn follow its sales. A company needs only to take care of its business for investors to profit in the long run.

With that in mind, examining companies whose revenues and profits are rising -- and which inspire analysts' confidence in continued future growth -- should give us a fertile field in which to discover solid candidates for long-term outperformance.

The roaring 20s
Below are a handful of companies that have enjoyed 20% or more annual growth in sales and earnings over the past three years, and for which analysts forecast total growth of 20% or more over the next two years. We'll then pair up those predictions with the community stock research at Motley Fool CAPS, to see which companies CAPS' 130,000-plus members believe have the best chances of beating the market over the long haul.

Company

3-Yr EPS Growth %

3-Yr Rev Growth%

Est. 2-Yr EPS Growth

Est. 2-Yr Rev Growth

CAPS Rating

E-House (NYSE:EJ)

29%

59%

78%

65%

****

EZCORP (NASDAQ:EZPW)

39%

22%

49%

50%

****

Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD)

32%

35%

39%

40%

****

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NASDAQ:GMCR)

52%

57%

145%

106%

**

Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX)

24%

23%

57%

42%

**

Source: CapitalIQ, a division of Standard & Poor's; Motley Fool CAPS.

Just because an analyst predicts that a company will feature fantastic growth opportunities doesn't mean those predictions will become reality. But their picks do offer an excellent starting place for your own research into extreme buying opportunities.

Tippling at the speakeasy
Shares of coffee homebrew master Green Mountain Coffee Roasters have more than doubled in the three months since I panned its pricey machines and single-serving packets as a tepid cup of recessionary brew. Green Mountain reported that earnings doubled, as sales of the machines jumped 148% and the serving packs rose 62%.

While the takeout coffee wars between Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) and McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) continue at a caffeinated boil, Green Mountain simmers along, inking a deal with Wal-Mart to sell its printers-and-ink model of coffeemaking in 3,000 stores. Green Mountain has managed to generate 25 consecutive quarters of double-digit sales growth.

Although the burned hand supposedly learns best, I remain unconvinced in the coffee roaster, despite its exceptional performance. According to the International Coffee Association, the composite price of coffee is up 10% so far this month, while Colombian Arabicas are up 14%. A mix of bad weather and a government program to change the country's production system has caused Colombian coffee prices to soar to levels not seen in more than a decade. The ICO also predicts consumption will fall by 1% to 1.5% this year, as production drops to 125 million bags, down from 127.8 million bags last year.

Even with multiple distribution channels, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters has to contend with consumers' tight budgets. It prices special-edition coffeemaker models north of $129, and more run-of-the-coffee-mill single-serve machines at $80. At those prices, I doubt this Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation will continue to spur coffee-craving shoppers' spending sprees. At $14, a Green Mountain 24-pack "breakfast blend" works out to less than $0.60 a cup. Compared to Starbucks, or even the swill at a local 7-11 store, that's a bargain. But a two-pound can of Folger's costs five or six bucks at the same Wal-Mart that will be selling the Keurig machine, and yields 270 cups, giving me that same cup of coffee for around $0.02.

Yes, the java purists and aficionados will say there's a world of difference in taste, and I'm bound to agree: The cheap stuff tastes better! Considering the amount of coffee I drink each day, those savings add up. I believe coffee consumers will start calculating that value for themselves.

If nothing else, I'm not alone in my belief that luxury spending will fall in times of want. Top-rated CAPS All-Star glennwhiteside admits he was blindsided by all the happy news as well:

I sure can pick em! Back in December when the world was still coming to an end it seemed obvious that people would scale back on luxuries like gourmet coffee. Who knew that happy days would be here again and on top of that GMCR gets a deal to sell this Keurig thing-which I never even heard of until it was too late-at WalMart. Bah. On the sour grapes side, I will add that their coffee is mediocre and the K-cups generate a lot of stupid trash.

No Great Depression
It pays to start your own research on these stocks on Motley Fool CAPS. Read a company's financial reports, scrutinize key data and charts, and examine the comments your fellow investors have made, all from a stock's CAPS page. Why not head over to the completely free CAPS service, and let us hear what you've got to say about these or any other stocks that you think deserve a spot on our dance card?

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Netflix and Starbucks are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Starbucks and Wal-Mart Stores are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. The Fool owns shares of Starbucks. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey owns shares of EZCORP and 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.