"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 and many other examples have shown us, too much complexity can often end in calamity.

In an effort to track down 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%, a return on equity above 10%, and a high rating from the CAPS community.


CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

Price-to-Earnings Ratio

Return on Equity


Agrium (NYSE:AGU)





National Oilwell Varco (NYSE:NOV)










Source: 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. While the three companies above aren't meant to be formal recommendations, they are a good starting point for further research. And on that note, let's take a closer look at them.

Feeding our food
The popularity and rising price of crop nutrients such as potash and nitrogen led to heady times for major players such as PotashCorp (NYSE:POT) and Mosaic (NYSE:MOS). The somewhat smaller Agrium has been hot on their heels.

Canada's Agrium operates through three primary divisions: retail, wholesale, and advanced technologies. The company's wholesale unit is responsible for its potash and phosphate rock mines and its nitrogen facilities, and sells its products around the world. Its retail segment markets and sells an array of crop nutrients, seeds, and crop protection products primarily in North America. The company's advanced technology segment works on specialty products such as controlled-release nutrients and pest control products.

The perfect five-star rating and 1,661 outperform ratings that Agrium has collected from CAPS members suggest that the community is pretty bullish on the prospects for a recovery in the company's stock.

No alternative yet
For good reason, researchers and manufacturers around the world have been working hard to find a way to make alternative energy technologies like solar and wind power competitive with traditional fuels like coal and oil.

But as the demand for Transocean's (NYSE:RIG) services and the excitement over BP's (NYSE:BP) big new oil find suggest, oil still reigns as king of the energy world. As long as that's the case, there will continue to be demand for the drilling rigs and related products that National Oilwell Varco sells.

Not surprisingly, the demand for NOV's wares fluctuates with drilling activity, which in turn swings along with the price of oil. The drastic drop in oil prices between last summer and early this year was hardly good news for NOV, but oil has come back significantly since then. And the run may not be over, as economic recovery, growing demand from China, and dwindling worldwide supplies may yet cause the crunch that investors were talking about last summer.

Remember what I said about oil as the global economy recovers and China continues to suck up natural resources? Well, the same goes for metals like iron, nickel, and copper. Fortunately for Vale investors, the company is a major player in these and a handful of other metals.

Vale's stock currently sports a perfect five-star rating on CAPS, with nearly 6,300 outperform ratings. CAPS member DanteSparda recently became a Vale bull, writing:

In the same boat with [ArcelorMittal] and the like and a solid buy. Raw material demand will come back as the global markets recover and VALE will be there to benefit. Besides, what can't you do with iron? Why you can build ships, cars, make steel for construction.... or,hell, just buy an iron bar and hit people over the head. The possibilities are limitless.

Getting down to business
Not to condone hitting anyone over the head with an iron bar or otherwise, the CAPS community wants you. Do you think these stocks make sense? Or is the community off base in its faith? Head over to CAPS and join the 140,000-plus members already sharing their thoughts on thousands of stocks.

Don't stop here! Be sure to check out:

National Oilwell Varco and Marvel are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. Walt Disney is a selection of Motley Fool Stock Advisor and Motley Fool Inside Value

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 that he is 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.