Few companies double their earnings in a single year. Those that achieve 100% growth rates for several years running have the potential to earn investors exceptional returns. But since everyone wants to own these stocks, they'll usually cost you an arm and two legs.

Luckily, there is an area in the stock market where the fastest growers are frequently overlooked --because they're too small to attract big Wall Street firms' attention. In anxious markets like these, a small cap on fire can make one outrageously cheap stock.

With that in mind, we used our CAPS screening tool to pick out some of the fastest-growing small companies. The following companies have averaged 100% annual earnings growth over the past three full fiscal years.

They also have:

  • Price-to-earnings ratios of less than 40.
  • Market capitalizations between $100 million and $2 billion.
  • Five-star ratings, the highest possible, from our Motley Fool CAPS community.

Company

Share Price

Sector

Market Cap

China North East Petroleum (NYSE:NEP)

$6.78

Basic Materials

$ 175 M

Female Health Company (NASDAQ:FHCO)

$4.70

Consumer Goods

$ 129 M

Orchids Paper Products Company (NYSE:TIS)

$20.03

Consumer Goods

$ 148 M

Star Bulk Carriers (NASDAQ:SBLK)

$2.86

Services

$ 175 M

Data from Motley Fool CAPS and Capital IQ as of Dec. 17.

Of course, screens are merely a first step in the stock-selection process. Just because a company has a history of doubling earnings doesn't necessarily mean it will continue its high-octane growth, or even that it will make a great investment. Picking the right stocks always requires due diligence.

Come and join us on Motley Fool CAPS to dig into these companies further. Let our 145,000-person-strong (and counting) CAPS community help you identify tomorrow's multibaggers. There's information and opinions on more than 5,300 stocks, and don't forget the screening tool to help you sort information. It's all free.

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