High-Priced Stocks Worth Every Penny

Penny stocks are one way to double your money, though they're fraught with risk. But there are equally shiny opportunities trading at the other end of the price spectrum. I call 'em "three-digit stocks," yet if they're anything like Warren Buffett's investing vehicle, 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 following high-priced stocks earn the greatest confidence from our investor-intelligence database.

Stock

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

3-Digit Price

Return on Capital, TTM

Enstar Group (Nasdaq: ESGR  )

*****

$100.54

0.7%

Praxair (NYSE: PX  )

****

$101.06

11.6%

Terra Nitrogen (NYSE: TNH  )

****

$119.68

77.6%

Sources: 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 launch pad for your own research and analysis.

Highfalutin' honeys
We're not even halfway through the year yet, and already the property and casualty insurance industry has had to come to grips with a period of seemingly unprecedented catastrophic loss.

Christchurch is New Zealand's second-largest city and has been the epicenter of three major earthquakes in less than a year: last September, this past February, and most recently just this month. And of course, Japan was struck by a quake and tsunami that still have the country reeling from the impact to its nuclear industry.

Floods and storms have ravaged Australia, the Mississippi and Missouri rivers are overrunning their banks, and a wave of killer tornados swept through the heartland last month. And weather watchers predict that this could be a year of exceptional activity for hurricanes. With many insurers and reinsurers already wobbly from the hits taken thus far, it may mean the industry might undergo consolidation or raise capital.

Enstar Group entered into a new three-year $250 million revolving credit facility, and Transatlantic and Allied World Assurance recently agreed to a $3.2 billion merger. Some analysts speculate that smaller companies with less than $3 billion in capital, such as Montpelier Re (NYSE: MRH  ) or Enstar, could be ripe for the picking, or may seek to scale up themselves. Having more capital or greater diversity of risk will allow them to weather the storm of losses.

Industry conditions might prove fruitful for Enstar, which specializes in acquiring insurance and reinsurance companies that have stopped writing new policies but still hold significant cash and outstanding liabilities.

Nearly 100 CAPS All-Stars have rated Enstar, and every one of them believes it will outperform the broad market averages. Tell us on the Enstar Group CAPS page whether you think the risk is too great for its success.

Going with the flow
In the production of petroleum products, it's typically the oil companies themselves that garner the most attention. Some service providers such as Halliburton and Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB  ) are prominent players, but a lot of the ancillary business -- such as the proppants Carbo Ceramics makes to assist in hydraulic fracturing -- are often overlooked as potential investments.

I'd probably put the use of industrial gases such as those provided by Praxair and Airgas (NYSE: ARG  ) in that latter category, too. Refiners rely on hydrogen, for example, to process oil and produce ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuels. Praxair recently signed an agreement with Valero (NYSE: VLO  ) to expand hydrogen-supply operations in Louisiana, and Valero also signed up Air Liquide for long-term supply agreements for Texas.

The continued expansion and dependency on fossil fuels ensures that Praxair, Airgas, and Air Products & Chemicals will have a continuous flow of business. Nearly 99% of CAPS All-Stars see Praxair beating the market averages, almost mirroring the unanimous opinion of Wall Street's analysts.

Add the stock to the Fool's free portfolio tracker, and then head over to the Praxair CAPS page and let us know whether you agree that this industrial gas provider is more than just hot air.

Triple-digit titans
Stocks sporting super-high dividend yields are tempting to investors, though those high yields may suggest some underlying issues with the company. With fertilizer specialst Terra Nitrogen's yield north of 16% based on its most recent quarterly distribution, it's comforting to know that its dividend appears safe. As CAPS member TMFTheDoctor points out, it operates as a master limited partnership and pays out almost all of its income, and with a global growth thesis that remains intact, it is poised to do well for investors: "TNH doesn't particularly stand out from its peers in any glaring way -- it's hard to when you're basically selling the same commodities as everyone else -- but it will benefit from the broader thesis and the high dividend makes it very attractive."

See whether Terra Nitrogen can continue planting the seed of superior returns -- shares are up 25 so far this year -- by adding the stock to your watchlist.

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.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey has no financial position in any of the stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Schlumberger. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Enstar Group and Montpelier Re. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't 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.


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  • Report this Comment On June 20, 2011, at 5:28 PM, surfgeezer wrote:

    TNH included this in their earnings announcement-"Announced distributions for the first quarter of 2011 exceed distributions in the previous and year-ago quarters due to higher net earnings allocable to common units and a one-time working capital benefit associated with implementing the previously announced new operating agreement with CF Industries"

    so the high divvy jump is mostly one time, from their previously announced selling of TNH assett's to the new owners CF.

    The previous earnings report had stated they expect future divvys to be limited because of the high IDR's neccesary to pay for aquisition, obviously fertilizer's jump helped quite a bit. Just saying I rolled out of TNH and into UAN because of the last earnings report saying they were going to limit distributions, wish I had stuck for second report, but UAN's coke power cost is lower than the Nat Gas TNH uses for the exact same product.

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