There are many ways to identify stocks worthy of further research.

Some investors scour the new 52-week lows list looking for value buys; other investors use the new 52-week highs list to identify momentum stocks or growth stocks with further to run.

Another angle for finding stock opportunities is to utilise broker recommendations and consensus forecasts, particularly earnings upgrades and high conviction buys.

According to broking house recommendations data compiled by stockbroker Bell Potter, the following five stocks are all rated a “strong buy” by at least one broker.

While that certainly doesn’t guarantee a positive investment performance, it could make them at least worthy of a closer look…

  1. APN Outdoor Group Ltd (ASX: APO) has provided significant outperformance to shareholders since its listing on the ASX in 2014 with gains of around 160%. The impetus for those gains has been a structural shift in the advertising market towards outdoor billboard advertisements coupled with the value-enhancing upgrades from a shift to digital signage. These two drivers for APN appear to have further to run.
  2. Freelancer Ltd (ASX: FLN) is a leading website-based marketplace for the employment of freelancers. After an initially successful high profile float, Freelancer’s share price tumbled, but has since climbed its way back and the group now boasts a market capitalisation of over $700 million. With a “winner takes most” dynamic in online classifieds markets, Freelancer would appear to have plenty of upside if it is ultimately successful in its endeavours.
  3. Japara Healthcare Ltd (ASX: JHC) is benefitting from the tailwind of an aging population which is increasing the demand for residential aged care facilities such as the ones operated by Japara. Given the long-term positive dynamics, Japara’s growth potential looks good.
  4. Medical Developments International Ltd’s (ASX: MVP) share price has rallied around 190% in the past 12 months. With a lead product which is expanding its sales into international markets, Medical Developments’ positive growth outlook looks set to continue.
  5. South32 Ltd (ASX: S32) has taken shareholders on a roller-coaster ride ever since the company was demerged from its parent BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP). Since touching an all-time low of 87 cents earlier this year the stock has rebounded to currently trade around the $1.55 level. With some tepid signs that the worst of the commodity rout is now behind us, investors are turning their attention to the possibility that we are in the early stages of a recovery.

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Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.