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 get an idea of which companies the 140,000-plus members think have the best chances of beating the market over the long haul.

Company

3-Year Past Revenue Annual Growth

3-Year Past EPS Annual Growth

Est. 2-Year Future EPS Growth

Est. 2-Year Future Revenue Growth

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Catalyst Health Solutions (NASDAQ:CHSI)

48%

32%

48%

32%

*****

Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD)

34%

32%

44%

43%

****

Hi-Tech Pharmacal (NASDAQ:HITK)

23%

28%

55%

34%

**

Tower Group (NASDAQ:TWGP)

38%

21%

26%

150%

*****

WebMD Health (NASDAQ:WBMD)

26%

118%

36%

26%

*

Sources: Capital IQ, 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 preferred picks do offer an excellent starting place for your own research into extreme buying opportunities, so let's see why the operations of some of these companies may or may not be held in high esteem by investors, since they appear to be sales and profit machines.

Tippling at the speakeasy
The poor nations of the world may hold developed countries hostage to the threat of anarchy unless we pay more than $1.4 billion for their swine flu vaccines. That's the thrust of a World Health Organization report that was surreptitiously leaked to the U.K.'s Observer. Despite estimates that 159 million at-risk Americans won't have enough of a vaccine supply in time to ward off the virus on our own shores, the U.S. has pledged to give 10% of our inventory away to underdeveloped countries. Not being able to raise the $1.4 billion necessary would create a humanitarian disaster, along with the destruction of many emerging-market economies.

Drugmakers like sanofi-aventis (NYSE:SNY) and Novartis (NYSE:NVS) say they're capable of developing 3 million swine flu vaccines, which the WHO estimates will not be enough to service the world's 6.8 billion inhabitants.

Still, as production keeps running at top speed, Gilead Sciences is undoubtedly standing to profit -- regardless of who ultimately receives the vaccine. It gets paid a royalty for the antiviral treatment Tamiflu (marketed by Roche), one of two drugs considered effective against the H1N1 virus. Like it or not, says CAPS member Wendykitty, the swine flu is coming and Gilead will be better for it: "When the flu season starts they will get royalties on Tamiflu. Think of H1N1 coming. Sad but true! This is a great company anyway."

Get a doctor, stat!
Generic drug maker Hi-Tech Pharmacal won't be raking in sales from the swine flu epidemic, but glaucoma, strep throat, and staph infections? Heck yeah! Quarterly profits roared ahead more than five times the amount earned a year ago as revenues jumped to $43 million on new drug introductions to combat those illnesses. Earnings came in at $8.7 million, or $0.73 per share, well ahead of last year's $1.5 million.

With Obamacare threatening to force health-care costs lower, CAPS member widespreadpanik expects Hi-Tech's generic drugs to play a prominent role:

Company is in a favorable industry (generic drugs) for the period the country is in, massive health care overhaul. System has to find ways to get less expensive. Just BLEW out earnings and I expect that earnings estimates are still too low going forward.

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 you think belong on our dance card?

Novartis AG is a Motley Fool Global Gains pick. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services today, free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey does not have a financial position in any of the stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings here. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.