If I asked you to cook up the ideal company, what would you say? No, no, I'm not asking you to tick off your favorite members of the Fortune 500 or some up-and-comer small cap that you've just found. I want you to think about the ingredients you'd give a company if you could dream it right into existence.

Would it be in a particular industry? Would it be services- or product-based? Would it have fat profit margins or would it make its money by doing a huge volume?

We could spend all day going over the details of this magnifique stock market dish, but I would guess that there is at least one ingredient that we'd all add liberally to our creation -- growth. All those other details are great, but how interesting can a business be if it's stagnating and lacks avenues for expansion?

Turning back to reality, I have dug up a handful of companies that actually exist and are expected to post significant growth in the years to come. These companies may not all be the picture of perfection, but I've also consulted the 140,000 members of the Motley Fool's CAPS community to get an idea of which are our best bets.


Long-Term Growth

Price-to-Earnings Ratio

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)





Juniper Networks (NASDAQ:JNPR)




Noble Corp. (NYSE:NE)




Kohl's (NYSE:KSS)












Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC)




Source: Capital IQ (a division of Standard & Poor's), Yahoo! Finance, and CAPS.

While these aren't meant to be formal recommendations, they could be a great place to kick off further research. In fact, let's dig in a bit further on Noble.

Fueling the growth
In a presentation earlier this month, Noble's management team delivered a sobering thought. A chart depicting the enormous amount of oil that U.S. citizens consume noted that it's "difficult to believe that the U.S. populace will adjust its lifestyle downward to match the rest of the world ... Much easier to believe that the rest of the world will continue to move theirs upward." It continued to say that it's likewise "difficult to see how renewables will be able to contribute meaningfully in the near-term."

That's hardly the prognosis that environmentalists want to hear, but it's an assertion that's difficult to argue with. If oil is playing in the big leagues of energy, renewables are largely still taking their swings in the tee-ball league. And a drastic cut in U.S. oil consumption seems about as likely as Kanye West being named most courteous performer of the year.

For Noble, though, this is all good news. Increasing demand for oil drives major oil companies to tap drilling specialists like Noble to help them get to the black gold. And as the easy-to-access sources of oil on land become increasingly sparse, offshore drillers like Noble will find even more business coming their way.

Of course, it's important to remember that Noble has no control over where oil prices will be, so the company has to deal with wildly swinging prices that can severely impact demand for its services. Management, however, has been smart about this and has grown the company in a controlled way that has kept it nimble and in good financial shape. This puts it in a good position to both survive downturns and capture new opportunities during good times.

Perfection or poser?
While I would shy away from calling any stock perfect, Noble gets as close to perfect as CAPS ratings will allow. The stock has received nearly 2,000 outperform ratings versus just 23 underperforms, giving it five stars.

CAPS All-Star ratliah0 recently gave Noble a thumbs-up and sang the company's praises:

Noble is a steady, proven offshore company whose stock should rise substantially as energy supplies continue to tighten and offshore drilling demand rises. Noble operates a fleet of 62 offshore rigs that drill for oil and natural gas globally and most of its customers have exceptionally deep pockets; about 60% of its customer base is national oil companies. Also, Noble's management team is top notch, delivering some of the best returns on capital and operating margins while also keeping the company in excellent shape fiscally. This stock would be a welcome addition to the foundation of any portfolio; minimal risk, excellent market and industry outlook, combined with substantial growth potential.

I've already given Noble's stock a thumbs-up in my CAPS portfolio, so now I want to know what you think. Share your thoughts in the comments section below or, better still, head over to CAPS and share your opinion with the entire community.

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Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool. The Fool's disclosure policy thinks that keeping it real is almost as important as keeping showered.