Martin Zweig is a growth investor with a serious conservative streak. A renowned money manager, newsletter writer and frequent guest on the PBS television series "Wall Street Week," Zweig knows that money lost is money that's hard to recoup. Accordingly, he searches for stocks that meet a long host of earnings criteria. Quarterly earnings, for example, should be positive and growing faster than they were (a) a year ago, (b) in the preceding three quarters, and (c) over the preceding three years. Annual earnings should be up for at least the past five years. And sales should be growing as fast as or faster than earnings, since cost-cutting and other non-revenue-producing measures alone can't support earnings growth forever.

Finally, Zweig suggests that companies have a price-to-earnings ratio of at least 5—to weed out weak companies—but no more than three times the current market p/e or 43, whichever is lower. His strategy makes sense for investors who like the potential of growth companies but aren't willing to pay premium prices for them.

More on Zweig's stock-picking approach

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