Finding a new stock isn't all that different from hitting a singles bar, going through a speed-dating outing, or logging into one of the many sites dedicated to online personals.

In the end, you're going to go through a lot of bad matches before you find the perfect fit.

Wouldn't it be great if finding your next winning investment could be as easy as dusting off some corny pickup lines?

It can be, if you know the answers you want to hear. Let's go over a few questions that you may want to ask before your next buy order.

1. What's your major?
The easiest icebreaker is to get a stock to divulge a little bit about itself. Now let's not be delusional. You're obviously not going to hear a public company actually talk back to you in the conventional sense. You're going to have to commit to the research to find the answers yourself.

The pickup brilliance of asking about a major is that it helps you visualize where that person will be in a few years -- even if you won't be there.

It's the same principle with stocks. Even if you don't plan  to "buy and hold" until the future fully plays itself out, you want a stock with the catalysts to move higher, affording you the attractive "Dear John" exit points.

Let's go over a few stocks where analysts see healthy earnings in 2010 and markedly better profits come 2011.


2010 EPS

2011 EPS


Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU)



55% (NYSE: CRM)




MercadoLibre (Nasdaq: MELI)




Travelzoo (Nasdaq: TZOO)




E-House (NYSE: EJ)



39% (Nasdaq: ACOM)




lululemon athletica (Nasdaq: LULU)




Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Some investors rely on trailing earnings or simply lean on this year's projected profitability. You can beat the masses by going out even further. In my opinion, all seven of these stocks are great buys -- even if some carry lofty valuations -- because they will be doing a whole lot better by the end of next year.

You like a stock? Don't go any further until you find out what it will be up to in a few years.

2. Will you still love me tomorrow?
The chances of this line working in the real world may be Nil City, but it's great for your next potential investment.

Every stock feels so right the moment you submit your buy order; it's in the following days, weeks, and months that you realize what you're dealing with. In a nutshell, I'm asking you to take an unbiased look at things that can go wrong.

One doesn't buy a major pharmaceuticals company -- regardless of the chunky dividend -- without considering its pipeline and drugs that will soon be going off-patent. Why should any other stock escape similar stock-specific scrutiny?

Going over the list in the table, is athletic apparel retailer lululemon athletica susceptible to discretionary income drying up? Of course. Baidu and E-House may be China's leading search engine and leading real estate agency, respectively, but there are risks with buying into the world's most populous nation these days. China is a notoriously restrictive government, and you never know when the screws will tighten on Internet usage and real estate ownership.

MercadoLibre, a Latin American operator of online marketplaces, is growing, but its concentration in Brazil and Argentina puts it in the line of fire of anything that may go wrong in either country. is the biggest name in climbing family trees, but it went public less than a year ago. We'll have to wait a few quarters before knowing if the company can consistently deliver under common-shareholder pressure.

I believe that the rewards more than offset the risks in all of these cases, but it's important to know the potential downsides of every trade.

3. What's a stock like you doing in a place like this?
Just as there's always a barfly who stands out in the seediest of watering holes, sometimes a stock seems too good to be true.

Going back to the table of fast-growing stocks, salesforce is growing a lot faster than larger enterprise software companies. Travelzoo is doing pretty well for a company that may be falsely portrayed as little more than a glorified mass emailer.

The catch here is that salesforce is growing quickly by providing a cloud-computing angle to corporate applications. Its Web-stored software is cost-effective and accessible everywhere that an Internet connection can be made.

Travelzoo has been able to grow its mailing list of Top 20 recipients to 17.8 million opt-in subscribers worldwide. Yes, the publisher of travel deals has several offices abroad these days.

These seven stocks aren't perfect, but they're exactly the kind of growth stocks that I seek out when I'm looking for something scintillating to add to my portfolio.

Keep your friends close and your portfolio closer
Three of the stocks on the list -- Baidu, MercadoLibre, and -- I know quite well because they are recommendations in the Motley Fool Rule Breakers newsletter service.

I'm part of David Gardner's analyst team with the service, trying to smoke out growth stocks early in their runs. You're certainly invited to join me and my fellow analysts to read our top stock picks and participate on discussion boards for members as we try to ask the right questions of the right companies.

It's a jungle out there, so don't go without a wingman.

Baidu, MercadoLibre, and are Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendations.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been married for so long that he forgot how to flirt -- or come up with better pickup lines for this column. He does own shares in E-House. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. Baidu, MercadoLibre, and are Rule Breakers picks. The Fool has a disclosure policy.