True penny stocks are a minefield, but small-cap copper beauties can be one way to easily double your money.

There are also those companies whose shares trade at the other end of the price spectrum. I call 'em three-digit stocks, though if they're anything like Berkshire Hathaway, they can trade in the four-, five-, and six-digit range, too.

While a penny stock might not be a good buy simply because it's cheap, a three-digit stock shouldn't scare you away just because it carries a hefty price tag. Handsome is as handsome does, so we check in with the Motley Fool CAPS community to see which ones the investor-intelligence database sees as having the best chance of succeeding.

Below are a handful of these high-priced highfliers, and we'll take a look to see whether investors think they can maintain their lofty valuations.


3-Digit Price

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

Return on Capital (TTM)

Alcon (NYSE:ACL)




BlackRock (NYSE:BLK)




Oil Services HOLDRs (NYSE:OIH)




PetroChina (NYSE:PTR)




Wesco Financial




Source: CAPS and Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's. TTM = trailing 12 months.

Highfalutin honeys
Despite its daily fluctuations, oil is hovering around $70 a barrel and no one is seriously expecting it to get much cheaper. Indeed, oil is actually expected to climb higher, particularly because of the demands of emerging markets.

Oil-service companies might be uniquely positioned to benefit from the trend since they are a picks-and-shovels type of investment, and that could lead some investors to consider Oil Services HOLDRs, a basket of niche companies in the industry. Structured as a trust, HOLDRs are similar to ETFs in that they let investors buy into a slice of the market in a number of specific sectors, from biotech to regional banks. Where ETFs typically match up with an underlying index, HOLDRs, on the other hand, purchase the common stock of the individual companies.

There is some risk involved in that the Oil Services HOLDR holdings are very concentrated, with only 16 stocks in the basket and more than half of its assets in just five stocks. Fully a quarter of its assets are placed in Transocean (NYSE:RIG) and Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB). Yet that's really no more concentrated than the industry ETF, which is supposed to give you instant diversification. The iShares Dow Jones US Oil Equipment ETF might have more stocks in its portfolio, but nearly half of its assets are also in its top five holdings, and Schlumberger accounts for more than 20% of that. OIH, though, stands a good chance of becoming even more concentrated, as it is a static, unmanaged trust, as opposed to an ETF, which can expand its holdings depending upon its underlying index.

Also be prepared to shell out more than $11,000 for your initial purchase, since you're required to buy in round lots of 100 shares. More than 90% of CAPS members rating the HOLDR think it will outperform the market in the months ahead, with a slightly higher percentage of All-Stars agreeing. Year-to-date, OIH has climbed by more than 56%, enough to make it one of the top 100 performing ETFs out of a universe of more than 800 such vehicles.

There remain other risks despite those positive signals. Revenues at oil-service companies have dropped in recent months on lower volumes and competitive pricing. Schlumberger saw revenues fall by 13%, and it doesn't expect sufficient demand to return until next year. Baker Hughes (NYSE:BHI), another HOLDR component, saw revenues plunge by 22% last quarter, and it expects that the price concessions it was forced to make will drive profitability lower in the back half of the year.

Investors wanting to continue forward in this corner of the market might just be better off taking some of the top stocks in the industry.

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.

Want help finding your own three-digit darlings? Join Fool co-founders David and Tom Gardner at Motley Fool Stock Advisor, as they search the market for stocks enjoying not only a triple-digit price tag but also the potential to double, triple, and even quadruple in value over time.

Click here to join Stock Advisor free for 30 days, and get immediate access to all of David and Tom's proprietary research. There's no obligation to subscribe. Already a subscriber? Log in at the top of this page.

Alcon is a Motley Fool Global Gains recommendation. The Motley Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, which is a recommendation of both Inside Value and Stock Advisor. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway but has no financial position in any of the other stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.