Investors are always hunting for the next big stock -- the dream stock whose price increases several times over when the market finally discovers it. It's easy to look back and discover the 10 best stocks of the past decade. But I'm more interested in the tools that can help me evaluate tomorrow's greatest companies.

Motley Fool CAPS offers a variety of resources to aid Fools in finding tomorrow's leaders. Our 140,000-member community is full of investors helping each other beat the market.

We'll enlist CAPS to screen for contrarian stocks, then get the story behind some of its more highly rated companies. CAPS' nifty screener will help us find stocks with:

  • A market cap of at least $500 million.
  • A long-term debt-to-equity ratio of less than 0.5.
  • A share price at least 35% below its 12-month high.
  • A three-year revenue growth rate of at least 15%.
  • A price-to-earnings ratio of less than 25.

Then we'll tap the collective intelligence of our CAPS members to see whether these companies present real opportunities -- or whether the numbers fail to tell the true story.

Opinions with the numbers
Below is a sample of stocks our screen returned. You can run this screen yourself -- remember, though, that your results may differ from ours as the market changes.

Company

Revenue Growth Rate,
Past 3 Years

% Below
12-Month High

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

ViroPharma (NASDAQ:VPHM)

15.7%

35.7%

*****

Suntech Power (NYSE:STP)

57%

36.4%

****

American Dairy (NYSE:ADY)

73.6%

37.1%

***

Data and star rankings from CAPS as of Oct. 23.

ViroPharma
ViroPharma's gastrointestinal infection treatment Vancocin, which the company picked up the rights to from Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) in 2004, is now more vulnerable to generic competition after the FDA voted in August to allow would-be contenders like Mylan (NASDAQ:MYL) to bypass costly human trials before gaining approval. One Oppenheimer analyst thinks that impact is already priced into shares, though, and believes its hereditary angioedema treatment Cinryze may pull in better-than-expected revenue this year and become a strong growth driver for the company. A strong following of CAPS members agree as 97% of the 1,305 members rating ViroPharma see a good future for the company and expect the stock to outperform the broader market.

Suntech Power
Despite a weak outlook from U.S.-based peer SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWRA) and a delayed introduction of a feed-in tariff in China that could pose setbacks for companies like Suntech and Canadian Solar (NASDAQ:CSIQ), many investors like Suntech's potential. While many CAPS members like the opportunity for growth in China in the years ahead -- even with the industry facing oversupply issues -- Suntech forecasts that the U.S. solar utility market will gain traction next year and reach 1.2 gigawatts by 2011. Suntech expects to sell 50% of its panels to the utility-scale market by then, and says its new Reliathon system will cut up to 10% off the total cost and offer increasing revenue potential. Today, nearly 97% of the 4,435 CAPS members rating Suntech Power are bullish.  

American Dairy
Investors summarily punished Chinese-based American Dairy back in July after the company issued a tremendous growth outlook that still failed to meet Wall Street expectations. The company reported an 85% increase in milk powder volume last quarter and still sees solid growth ahead as it expects the infant formula market in China to potentially reach $12 billion by 2014. And since it generates all of its revenue in China, the company is starting to think the "American" part of its name doesn't fit (go figure) and is contemplating changing its name to something more recognizable at home. With a big market opportunity still left to tap, close to 94% of the 484 CAPS members rating American Dairy expect it to beat the S&P.

Let 140,000 members be the jury
The collective wisdom of a huge pool of investors can help give context to a page of numbers from a stock screen. But individual investors are still the best judges of what to do with their own money. Fools should always perform their own due diligence.

Happily, it's easy to chime in with your own opinion. If you agree that these companies present dream opportunities -- or see more of a nightmare instead -- simply scroll down and add your thoughts in the comments box.

Always looking ahead, the Motley Fool Rule Breakers service has already recommended dozens of companies set to change the world -- and profit from it. To see what other rule-breaking stocks David Gardner is picking today, take a free 30-day trial.

Fool contributor Dave Mock dreams of stocks and sugarplum fairies, but not together. He owns no shares of companies mentioned here. Suntech Power Holdings is a Rule Breakers recommendation. The Fool's disclosure policy screens the good, the bad and the ugly.