Some stocks simply have such great potential that "everyone" knows they're a good buy today. Yeah, right.

If we had known in advance that Sadia (NYSE: SDA) would return more than 1,400% since it began trading in 2001, we'd have mortgaged our house on it -- and yours, too! It's easy to see which companies have been winning investments after the fact. We need to know beforehand which stocks will grow hundreds of percent in value over the years. That's where Motley Fool CAPS comes in.

The more than 85,000 professional and novice investors in CAPS rarely agree on a stock's prospects. Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation Walter Industries (NYSE: WLT) is a well-respected, top-rated stock, but 38 of the 959 CAPS players to rate it still believe it will underperform the market. So when you come across a stock that everyone on CAPS thinks will outperform, you've got something special. Here are a handful of those "obvious" investments.



All-Star Bulls


Return on Capital, TTM

Atlas Energy Resources (NYSE: ATN)





Textainer Group Holdings (NYSE: TGH)





MWI Veterinary Supply (Nasdaq: MWIV)





PSS World Medical (Nasdaq: PSSI)





Sources: Motley Fool CAPS and Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's. TTM = trailing 12 months.

As always, none of the companies on this list should be considered formal recommendations -- just starting points for further research. We've simply used CAPS to narrow down your workload.

Sit back and relax
As someone who drives past the Port Elizabeth terminal on the New Jersey Turnpike regularly, seeing the intermodal containers stacked one on top of the other as far as the eye can see makes me realize just how much cargo is shipped by ship, truck, and train across the country and across the world. Those long, rectangular boxes typically haul dry freight and allow it to be switched to different transport modes without having to touch the cargo stored inside.

Textainer Group is the world's largest lessor of those containers, with a fleet of more than 1.3 million. With a 30-year operating history, the container company went public last October and saw revenue rise 22% this past quarter. Earnings per share, however, declined by 28% as a result of the issuance of the new shares minted for the IPO. Even so, profits for the full year still increased by 20% to $67.7 million as economic growth in places like China generated worldwide demand.

It's that demand that has been attracting CAPS players to Textainer. For example, InvestorDeb, who ranks higher than 85% of all CAPS investors, found its high dividend yield and low market valuation made Textainer an "[e]xcellent play on global growth."

Similarly, CAPS player McBryde found the international flavor of the container company's growth potential also gave it a dollop of exposure to the U.S. markets:

The world market has become increasingly busy, especially with imports/exports that drive the shipping industry. This pick was an IPO pick for the rest of world markets with exposure to the good 'ol US of A. A good dividend and potential for growth put in on my A-list.

While the growth of international markets has indeed fueled Textainer's prosperity of late, allowing it to return to the refrigerated-container market that it had previously abandoned, the company also sounded a cautionary note recently. Textainer's management said that a number of countries, including China, were expecting lower economic growth this year. Moreover, with thousands of new containers coming onto the market, pressure on freight prices might be felt.

Yet since it competes against a number of smaller container companies, Textainer believes that such conditions also represent opportunities for it to grab market share -- or even make acquisitions of pressed competitors. Also, tighter capital markets may cause shipping companies to lease rather than buy their own containers, meaning Textainer could stand to reap another windfall in 2008.

Let's hear from you
How about your take on these or other "obvious" winning investments? Is this a chance to dig deep with your portfolio to mine the next "buy now" stock?  If you want to add your two cents, sign up to join the Motley Fool CAPS community, which is 100% free.