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Beating the market is tough but some investors carve out fortunes for themselves by putting their money to work in the right stocks. You don’t have to buy speculative shares or ‘the next big thing’ but by simply doing a little bit of research you can quickly sort trash from treasure.

Once you’ve discovered your research and investment strategy actually works (it can take a little while to get it right) history has shown that the longer you stick with it, the greater the rewards will be. So to help you on your way, take a look at these next five companies a little closer and see if they fit into your market-beating strategy.

1. Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS). In addition to a renowned dividend payment, investors may have overlooked where the telco’s true potential lies. Its growth. It has two divisions, namely Network Application Services (NAS) and International, which continue to show promising signs of building shareholder value. Although both grew revenues by just under 30% in the most recent half-year, they represent under 15% of group sales, leaving plenty of upside potential.

2. Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd (ASX: CCL). Currently, this stock should be at the top of watchlists. Its recent feature in the news as a result of its troubled SPC Ardmona operations should be treated as a setback rather than the business failing to compete. Its globally significant brand leaves the current price packed with value.

3. Senex Energy Ltd (ASX: SXY). Gas stocks are currently underneath the buy button of many bullish resource investors. Senex is a junior gas producer with operations in Australia’s Cooper Basin. It has an impeccable track record of drilling success and production is set to grow in coming years. With a market cap under $1 billion, coupled with increased production and rising energy costs, it won’t last long at current prices.

4. QBE Insurance Group Ltd (ASX: QBE). Until recently, I never seriously considered buying an insurance company. They’re fraught with unforseen risks and the share price is anything but linear. However, the time to buy general insurance stocks is when their customers have been hit hard by natural disasters, resulting in massive payouts. This results in share price sell-offs and puts the odds of receiving capital gains in your favour. QBE is currently in such a position.

5. NIB Holdings Limited (ASX: NHF). Another strong insurer is NIB. It’s in the business of providing health cover to Australians across the country. It maintains robust balance sheets and pays a sustainable but growing dividend. Even at current prices it could be considered.

Foolish takeaway

To beat the market from the word “go” is difficult and your strategy will take years to refine. However, you can start building your winning portfolio today and with a little research you could find the above five companies are worthy of a place in your growing portfolio.

Motley Fool Contributor Owen Raszkiewicz owns shares in NIB Holdings. 

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