"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, or basing your investment thesis on Nobel-level math. In fact, as we've learned from the current financial crisis -- not to mention Long Term Capital Management and many other examples -- too much complexity can end in calamity.

In an effort to track down some of the companies that may fall into Buffett's "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%, a return on equity above 12%, and high ratings from the CAPS community.


CAPS rating (out of 5)

Price-to-Earnings Ratio

Return on Equity

Long-Term Debt-to-Equity Ratio

MEMC Electronic Materials (NYSE:WFR)





Pfizer (NYSE:PFE)





Disney (NYSE:DIS)





Source: CAPS.

These are just three of the results that the CAPS screener spit out; 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 for further research. On that note, let's take a closer look at each company.

Wafers in the sun
Not too long ago, solar cell manufacturers like Suntech Power (NYSE:STP) and Trina Solar seemed ravenous for polysilicon wafers; now their appetites have apparently vanished. That's bad news for a company like MEMC Electronic Materials, which produces those wafers.

Of course, the solar industry isn't the only sector scaling back on such purchases; so is the much larger semiconductor industry. Mix together the slumping demand from both industries, and you get a nice hot bowl of terrible.

But if that were the extent of MEMC's situation, it wouldn't be on this list. In fact, its future doesn't look anything like its dire present. Semiconductor manufacturing is a notoriously cyclical industry, and it'll undoubtedly refresh its hunger for wafers again at some point. And while the nascent solar industry may be a little less predictable, the global push for clean energy provides some comfort there.

And if MEMC has anything -- besides lots of polysilicon wafers -- it's got the resources to survive this downturn. At the end of the first quarter, the company had more than $1 billion in cash and marketable securities, versus a grand total of $30 million in debt.

The potentate of pills
Let's face it, we want to live longer and live better, simple as that. And once we own up to that, we can finger Pfizer as one of the companies that helps us do that. Along with Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) and Novartis (NYSE:NVS), it's one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, and it has the profits to prove it.

Pfizer is responsible for blockbuster drugs including Lipitor, Celebrex, and Viagra. The company is set to get even larger and more powerful with its acquisition of Wyeth (NYSE:WYE), which will bring over-the-counter drugs Advil and Robitussin and prescription drugs Effexor and Enbrel into Pfizer's fold.

Acquisitions aside, it's tough for a near-$100 billion company to post raging growth, but Pfizer investors benefit from the massive amount of cash the company rakes in, which it uses to pay out a healthy dividend and buy back shares.

That mouse is money!
Disney's first quarter was clearly a case of "bad, but not as bad as it could have been." Profit per share before restructuring charges came to $0.43, which topped what Wall Street had anticipated. And given the fact that we're in a recession and Disney hawks some highly discretionary products and services, the numbers were pretty good. Heck, it even managed to rake in $1.3 billion in free cash flow during the quarter.

Investors certainly seem to have recognized that this is not actually the end of the world for Disney, and the stock has charged back more than 65% since hitting its low back in March. And while those are some pretty spectacular gains, many CAPS members think the stock will also hold up well in the long term.

Here's what CAPS All-Star therailsplitter had to say about Disney late last month:

Sustainable competitive advantage due to:

Strong brand (ingrained in all Americans' heads since childhood)
Large barrier to entry in theme park business
Pixar has separated itself from the competition in terms of quality, creativity, and popularity by a safe margin
The fact that it'd be impossible to reproduce Disney
Many synergistic relationships with other businesses

Getting down to business
Do you think these stocks make sense? Or is the CAPS community off base in its faith? Head over to CAPS and join the 130,000 members already sharing their thoughts on thousands of stocks.

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