High-Priced Stocks Worth Every Penny

Penny stocks are one way to double your money, though it's fraught with risk, but there are equally shiny opportunities trading at the other end of the price spectrum, too. I call 'em "three-digit stocks," yet if they're anything like Berkshire Hathaway, they can trade in the four-, five-, and six-digit range, too.

penny stock might not be a good buy simply because it's cheap, and a three-digit stock shouldn't scare you away just because it carries a hefty price tag. Handsome is as handsome does. Let's check in with the Motley Fool CAPS community to see which of the high-priced stocks below earn the greatest confidence from our investor-intelligence database:

Company

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

3-Digit Price

Return on Capital, TTM

Alleghany (NYSE: Y  )

****

$299.29

8.9%

Siemens (NYSE: SI  )

****

$112.25

7.7%

Whiting Petroleum (NYSE: WLL  )

****

$107.05

9.8%

Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's; Motley Fool CAPS.

But just because these stocks are purring is no reason to jump into them blindly. Catching a tiger by the tail -- or a knife falling from on high -- can end up leaving you scratched and bleeding. That's why we recommend you use this list as a launchpad for your own research and analysis.

Highfalutin' honeys
With insurers generating substantial portions of their profits from their investments, their earnings can suffer if the premiums paid to them and used to feed the investment portfolios take a hit. Alleghany, which is often touted as being every bit as conservative in its approach as is Berkshire, was forced to tout its year-to-date performance in its recent earnings release because underwriting profits from reinsurance and property and casualty fell.

Alleghany also suffered from higher catastrophe losses at its reinsurance arm. Yet when you do look at the past nine months, the insurance company the situation is much better since P&C losses were much lower. Alleghany's not alone, though, on feeling the effects of short-term trends. Although Standard & Poor's just revised its outlook up on XL Group (NYSE: XL  ) because of stronger capitalization and financial flexibility, the ratings agency also acknowledged XL has higher potential for realized investment losses than does its peers.

With 93% of CAPS members rating Alleghany to outperform the broad market averages, they seem confident its conservative operations will serve it well going forward. You can add it to your watchlist and have all the Foolish news and analysis compiled for you in a single place for review.

Not so rough
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's decision to approve the Cape Wind power project in the Nantucket Sound off Massachusetts' coast earlier this year was just the first step in getting many more wind farms approved. He's going to be meeting with the governors of 11 coastal states to see where more can be erected. He could start issuing leases as early as next year.

The immediate beneficiary is Siemens, which is providing the 130 turbines to be used in the project, as well as NRG Bluewater Wind, a subsidiary of NRG Energy  (NYSE: NRG  ) , that wants to erect deepwater wind farms all along the East Coast.

CAPS member turtle286 thinks this country's transportation and monetary policy will be what drives Siemens ahead in the future:

With the push for more rail building here in the states they will have more business as we don't tend to build "fast" trains in this country, that accompanied with the Fed pushing the dollar down pick any foreign corporate entity and you'll do alright. I think of them as GE without the capital side and run with German efficiency.

You can let us know in the comments section below, or on the Siemens CAPS page, if you think this company will go off the rails.

Triple-digit titans
Any oil spill these days after the BP disaster in the Gulf is going to attract attention, even in out-of-the-way locales like North Dakota, as Whiting Petroleum found out after a spill at one of its wells drew notice. Yet it was able to contain the spill and shut down the well within two days, with little environmental damage resulting.

Whiting operates wells in North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Texas, with the largest projects located in the Bakken and Three Forks formations in North Dakota. While investors have become familiar with the various shale formations over the past few years, including the Bakken, Marcellus, and Haynesville plays, up and coming formations include Eagle Ford in Texas and Niobrara in Colorado and Wyoming.

Whiting has more than 62,000 net acres in the Niobrara in Colorado and 32,000 in Wyoming. It expects to add to its acreage and start drilling during the first six months of next year. Both Noble Energy (NYSE: NE  ) and Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE: APC  ) are developing Niobrara programs, too.

Wall Street is unanimous in its opinion that Whiting will outperform the market, no small feat considering it has 17 analysts following it. And the CAPS community is bullish as well, but you can add Whiting to the Fool's free portfolio tracker, and add your opinion on Whiting Petroleum CAPS page, too.

Count to 10
These three-digit stocks might be on their way to even higher valuations. That's why it pays to start your own research in Motley Fool CAPS. Read a company's financial reports, scrutinize key data and charts, and examine the comments your fellow investors have made, all from a stock's CAPS page.

Berkshire Hathaway is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Berkshire Hathaway is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. The Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and Noble. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. 

Fool contributor Rich Duprey does not have a financial position in any of the stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings here. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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  • Report this Comment On November 24, 2010, at 5:29 PM, PebbledShore wrote:

    Enough with the confusion between Noble Corp. (NE) and Noble Energy, Inc. (NBL)!

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