Get a table at Skyline Chili -- it's time for a backyard investing feast in the City of Seven Hills!

There are many good reasons for researching investment opportunities in a certain geographic area. Today, it's Cincinnati, Ohio (or USA -- more on that later), the city of flying pigs (a.k.a. Porkopolis) where anything could happen. Yes, even great business.

If you happen to live in Blue Ash or Walnut Hills, you already have a few advantages when it comes to evaluating the local market -- access to local news sources and the word on the street, and a high probability of being a customer or employee of these companies. And if you're not a local resident, you might still want to know whether the weather matches the business climate -- a hot area could be chock-full of undiscovered treasures on their way to greatness.

Without further ado, here are the largest companies headquartered in Cincinnati:


Market Cap (millions)

CAPS Rating

Bull Ratio

Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG)




Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB)




Federated Department Stores (NYSE:FD)




Kroger (NYSE:KR)




Data finagled from Motley Fool CAPS and current as of April 13, 2007.

Hills like white elephants
There's no doubt who's the heavyweight in Cincy. Procter & Gamble has come a long way from the little soap-and-candles operation it started life as nearly two centuries ago. Today, the consumer goods giant employs 138,000 people worldwide, sporting around $73 billion in annual revenues at 52% gross margins.

In honor of National Poetry Month, CAPS player mleshem waxes poetic about the company in a decidedly Nordic voice:

Good shelter in the coming storm
Steady it stays for years.

Fifth Third is nearly as old as P&G, but the banking concern has far fewer fans than the cross-town behemoth. Matt8265 employs postmodern free verse to convey his opinion:

I have had dealings with this bank, and can tell you that they're nasty people IMHO.
Will never use them again. Nasty.

BUT their stock is undervalued and will go up 6-8 points quickly.

Sell at $46-$47.

Did I say nasty?

Federated operates the Macy's and Bloomingdale's department-store chain, but not with much aplomb, according to our CAPSers. "Bad management," "ugly stores," and macroeconomic worries about upscale consumer spending are some of the troubles that echo around this stock in CAPS. And the company isn't even a hundred years old! For shame.

Kroger brings us back to respectability. "Right store. Right price." There's some consumer-oriented poetry for you. And the 130-year-old grocery chain inspires similarly terse verse in two-headed CAPS player sandytravis:

Nothing flashy.
Consistent market approach.

The young and the restless
Looking at just the biggest names in the Blue Chip City, you'd think that Cincinnati is nothing but old, old money and firmly established brands. But that wouldn't be entirely correct.

Several national business reviews have found Cincy to be among the best cities in the country for small businesses, an opinion backed by the fact that fewer startups end up bankrupt here than anywhere else. Forbes and Fortune both call this a top place to work and to live, and even the insurance industry recognizes the low risk of doing business in the Queen City.

The backdrop of long-established business leaders doesn't hurt. The Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce is pushing the idea of "Cincinnati, USA," highlighting the fact that the metropolitan area's spread across three states (Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana), with a variety of taxation and business climates to fit any business plan. There are also seven federal research centers in the area, with a magnet effect on scientific talent.

Some younger corporations calling the 'Nati home include Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick and Lasik surgery specialist LCA-Vision (NASDAQ:LCAV) and package-hauling airline ABX Air (NASDAQ:ABXA). Those five-star CAPS stocks are barely 20 years old. And there are other global brands besides P&G, even among the small caps -- I grew up eating Chiquita (NYSE:CQB) bananas, and I'm Swedish.

Foolish finale
Six out of 29 Cincinnati companies that sport a CAPS rating fly the five-star flag. There are two Foolish newsletter picks in town, both in the health-care sector. With the city's long and rich history, the presence of several major banking and insurance businesses should come as no surprise, though city leadership is working to create a Midwestern technology hub akin to what Austin is today, and what both North Carolina and Michigan want to be.

It looks like these efforts are stemming the tide of people moving out, as population has nosed up a bit after decades of steady decline. It seems logical that the local business climate should follow suit.

Do you agree? Disagree? Feel free to weigh in on the Porkopolis market -- or on any stocks at all, really -- by joining Motley Fool CAPS and blasting away with your ratings and commentary pitches. And if Cincy isn't your 'hood, maybe we'll come round where you live the next time.

Make seven picks on CAPS by April 24 and we'll send you a free copy of The Motley Fool Five-Star Report. Inside you'll discover how to use CAPS as a research tool, and you'll receive a recommended five-star CAPS pick poised to beat the market for the next decade or more -- one that you can easily translate into profits for your real-world portfolio. Click here to get started now!

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. He's been a Bengals fan since they drafted Peter Warrick out of FSU, but he's now considering a new jersey. Yes, he's a foul-weather fan. You can check out Anders' holdings if you like, or follow him around the world on these Foolish local-business treks. Foolish disclosure is always red-hot, even in chilly National Poetry Month.