"I like to go for cinches. I like to shoot fish in a barrel. But I like to do it after the water has run out."

-- Warren Buffett

History seems to show that good investing doesn't necessarily mean picking out complex situations and basing your investment thesis on Nobel-level math. In fact, as the current financial crisis has shown us -- not to mention the hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management and many other examples -- too much complexity can often end in calamity.

To track down some of the companies that may fall into that "fish in a barrel" category, I've turned to The Motley Fool's CAPS community. Using CAPS' stock screener, I looked for companies that have a price-to-earnings ratio below 15, a long term debt-to-equity ratio below 50%, and a return on equity above 12%, and are highly rated by the CAPS community.


CAPS Rating (out of five)

Price-to-Earnings Ratio

Return on Equity

Long-Term Debt-to-Equity Ratio

StatoilHydro (NYSE:STO)





Zimmer Holdings (NYSE:ZMH)





Merck (NYSE:MRK)





Source: Motley Fool CAPS.

These are just three of the results that the CAPS screener spit out, but you can run the same screen yourself to see the rest of the companies that made the cut. While the three companies above aren't meant to be formal recommendations, they are a good starting point to start some further research. And on that note, let's take a closer look at each company.

The not-so-obvious oil play
Who would think to look to Norway for a great oil and gas player? OK, so The Motley Fool Income Investor team did, but let's just say that it's not the most obvious hunting ground.

While StatoilHydro may be no ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) or BP (NYSE:BP) when it comes to size, the company definitely holds its own among the major oil and gas players worldwide. So if you're hot on the oil play in general, StatoilHydro should be on your list.

Plus, the company has some interesting angles that could make it particularly attractive if supply and demand issues force oil companies to get more creative about where their oil comes from. Specifically, through its work in the Norwegian Continental Shelf, the company has developed significant expertise in areas like working in deep water and in harsh environments, as well as dealing with heavy oil.

And while StatoilHydro's most recent quarter was nothing to write home about, my fellow Fool David Lee Smith also thinks this is an oil company to watch.

Remember the boomers?
Before the financial meltdown in 2007, there was a lot of talk about aging baby boomers in the U.S., for obvious reasons that were largely forgotten as investors dealt with recession-induced ulcers.

But if there's one thing we can count on in these uncertain times, it's the continued passing of time. And with that we should see increasing demand for products that cater to an aging population.

Zimmer, which is a market leader in knee and hip replacements, stands to be a primary beneficiary of the toll that age takes on the body. For investors, though, the trick is having the patience to wait out the leaner times the company is experiencing right now.

Reinvention through marriage
With a spate of megadeals -- including Merck picking up Schering-Plough (NYSE:SGP) and Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) swallowing Wyeth -- in the books, investors are waiting to see whether bigger will mean better in the wild world of pharma.

Fellow Fool Brian Orelli pointed out in July that, with the exception of Januvia (an anti-diabetic drug), the combined drug portfolio of Merck and Schering doesn't look all that impressive.

However, CAPS members seem to have taken a more positive view of Merck. More than 2,200 members of the community have rated the stock an outperformer, and it carries a four-star rating. WPThatcher joined the bullish chorus back in June:

This is an excellent business that has fallen on some hard times due to a dwindling pipeline. The SGP acquisition should help with that. . It has excellent margins and an astronomical 30% ROE. Single-digit forward P/E of about 8. It usually trades for twice that. There's a more than adequate 6% yield. Did I mention that they have $12 billion sitting on the balance sheet? There's been a lot of talk about health care reform as of late and that has attracted the attention of short sellers. Still, health care reform is a canard. Comprehensive health care reform has been threatened for as long as I can remember (I'm 32) and it never been passed. It's not going to happen anytime soon. I use it as an opportunity to buy the HMOs and pharmaceuticals on sale.

Getting down to business
Now the CAPS community wants you. That's right: Do you think these stocks make sense? Or is the community off base about these companies? Head over to CAPS and join the 135,000 members who are sharing their thoughts on thousands of stocks.

For more Foolishness:

Pfizer is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. StatoilHydro is an Income Investor pick. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer owns shares of BP but does not own shares of any of the other companies mentioned. You can check out the stocks he's keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS page or you can connect with him on Twitter as @KoppTheFool. The Fool's disclosure policy is chillaxin because it's too busy to chill and relax separately.