A stock price follows a company's 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 revenue and profits are rising -- and which inspire analysts' confidence in continued growth -- should give us some 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 some opinions from Motley Fool CAPS, a community of 135,000 members doing stock research, to get an idea of which companies might 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%

Estimated 2-Year Future EPS Growth

Estimated 2-Year Future Revenue Growth

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

American Dairy (NYSE:ADY)

49%

27%

531%

128%

**

Axsys Technologies (NASDAQ:AXYS)

22%

40%

32%

31%

*****

Baidu.com (NASDAQ:BIDU)

103%

139%

77%

87%

***

Ctrip.com (NASDAQ:CTRP)

39%

24%

29%

51%

****

Zhongpin (NASDAQ:HOGS)

87%

32%

58%

72%

*****

Source: Capital IQ (a division of Standard & Poor's) and Motley Fool CAPS.

Just because analysts predict 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.

Eating more pork
Pork represents the largest source of meat protein for the world's population, surpassing even chicken or beef. Given pork's global popularity, even the fears recently raised about the swine flu outbreak shouldn't have a lasting impact on the industry. China accounts for about half of the world's pork supply and consumption, but in 2007 it suffered from the ravages of "blue ear" disease, which swept through large portions of its pig population.

U.S. pork producers stepped in to fill the demand and their exports to China rose, but they shouldn't expect that trend to continue. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is anticipating that pork production will grow 6% this year in China and that it will be importing 17% less pork. One of China's leading hog farmers and processors, Zhongpin, looks like it's ready to capitalize on the situation, particularly because China closed its borders to U.S. hogs after the swine flu epidemic. That move made it difficult for U.S. producers such as Smithfield Foods (NYSE:SFD), whose largest customer by tonnage is China, to expand further in the country.

China's population is becoming wealthier, and people will spend much of that money on food. According to Zhongpin, about one-third of every new dollar of income created in China is spent on food -- much of it for meat. Total meat consumption is expected to grow 15% from 2008 to 2012. That's attracted the likes of AgFeed Industries (NASDAQ:FEED), which decided to start raising hogs there at the end of 2007.

Still, CAPS member mrindependent says Zhongpin will prosper as well:

What's not to like- China and high quality pork. As Chinese consumers get richer the demand for high quality, safe pork products will expand. Price is right at 11 [times] earnings.

The 200 stocks in CAPS with the China tag have risen by 15% over the past month, meaning it ranks among the top 50 sectors in the community.

Looking to the future
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 have to say about these or any other stocks?

Ctrip.com is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick, Baidu is a Rule Breakers recommendation, and Axsys Technologies is a Stock Advisor recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletters 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. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.