Many investors trying to capitalize on a growing economy have turned  India into a favorite emerging market play. But I've found investments from another sector that are beating the pants off Indian stocks -- and I know where you can find out more about them.

Would the real hot stocks please come forward?
The 5,400 stocks that our Motley Fool CAPS community members have rated include descriptive "tags" that group them with other companies sharing similar qualities -- a country of origin, a sector, or an end product, for example. Clicking the India tag pulls up a list of 25 stocks that collectively have risen 3.5% in the past year.

But CAPS tags can also lead you to stocks that have outpaced the returns from the India group, such as ones from the Netherlands. These 18 companies have averaged a more impressive 12.1% return in the past year.

Each group has its share of winners and losers. But CAPS, which includes more than 85,000 investors, can be a great resource for zeroing in on potential opportunities in each area.

From macro to micro
You can sort tag groups by their CAPS ratings, from one to a maximum five stars, and then see which players -- from Wall Street to Main Street -- are bullish or bearish on a company, and why.

For instance, here are a few of the stocks in the India group:

Company

CAPS Rating

1-Year Performance

Sterlite Industries (NYSE: SLT)

*****

46.2%

Sify Technologies (Nasdaq: SIFY)

*****

(42.4%)

ICICI Bank (NYSE: IBN)

*****

41.9%

Satyam Computer Services (NYSE: SAY)

*****

24.5%

Sources: Google Finance and Motley Fool CAPS, as of Feb. 28.

Now, here's a sampling of Netherlands stocks that investors may want to consider -- judging by interest in the CAPS community.

Company

CAPS Rating

1-Year Performance

Chicago Bridge & Iron (NYSE: CBI)

*****

64.4%

Royal Dutch Shell

****

9.5%

ING Group (NYSE: ING)

****

(15.8%)

Philips Electronics (NYSE: PHG)

****

10.7%

Sources: Google Finance and Motley Fool CAPS, as of Feb. 28.

Profit in infrastructure
While the building boom in residential housing may be long gone, Chicago Bridge & Iron (CBI) is in the sweet spot of a still-strong binge in global infrastructure. The engineering and construction services company has been awarded projects to build facilities of all sorts, and the company's backlog has been filling up at a record pace. Demand for construction of energy facilities has been particularly strong of late, so the company could report $5.9 billion to $6.2 billion in revenue for 2008.

Chicago Bridge & Iron is a cash machine, churning out $446.4 million from operations in 2007. It used a large chunk of cash it had on hand -- $820.9 million, to be exact -- to fund the acquisition of Lummus, which added $1.2 billion in backlog to the company and added to earnings in 2007.

A recent drop in Chicago Bridge & Iron shares has many investors cheering because they consider this fundamentally strong infrastructure player to be on sale now. While a forward earnings multiple of 20.4 certainly doesn't make the company look like a screaming buy, it looks better next to even higher multiples afforded several of its peers. If Chicago Bridge & Iron can largely avoid damaging cost overruns on projects this year and hit its most pessimistic profit target, investors could see earnings growth north of 40%. Indeed, 99% of the 303 CAPS All-Stars who rate the company think it will go just that way and that the company will beat the S&P.

Before you buy ...
Of course, investors shouldn't look in the rearview mirror to see where they should be investing now. But the underlying reasons behind dramatic run-ups in stocks or groups of stocks can clarify macroeconomic trends that may significantly affect investments. Just make sure to do your own due diligence rather than following crowds or individual recommendations.

The Motley Fool Global Gains service scours the world for companies, like recommendation Sterlite Industries, showing tremendous potential in booming markets. See what other stocks are helping the service beat the market by 17 points on average with a free 30-day trial.

Fool contributor Dave Mock says he lags more than he leads when it comes to running long distances. He owns no shares of companies mentioned here. Dave is the author of The Qualcomm Equation. Satyam is a Stock Advisor recommendation. The Fool's disclosure policy beats all other disclosure policies, year in and year out.