"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

Debt-to-Equity Ratio

Precision Castparts (NYSE:PCP)





ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM)





Diamond Offshore Drilling (NYSE:DO)





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 good starting points for further research. And on that note, let's take a closer look at these companies.

A better way to invest in flight?
If you asked Warren Buffett about investing in air travel, I'm pretty sure that he'd direct you to the "airoholics anonymous" hotline. Whenever you start messing around with airlines like Delta (NYSE:DAL) or even Southwest (NYSE:LUV), you're fighting against the inevitable -- huge costs associated with buying and maintaining airplanes.

So what can you do if you're bullish on the future of flight but don't want to get caught up with the headaches of an airline? One option is to check out a company like Precision Castparts, which makes finely tuned metal components that are sold to the folks who make airplane engines. In short, Precision Castparts is one of the beneficiaries of the huge capital investments that typically make airlines a lackluster investment choice.

With a very clean balance sheet and a healthy return on capital, it's no wonder CAPS members have made this stock a five-star pick.

The greatest company?
My fellow Fool Joe Magyer has called Exxon "the greatest company in the history of the world." Is this hyperbole? Could be, but there are plenty of reasons to jump at Exxon.

Joe named a good number when he penned that article linked to above, but from a simple numbers perspective, the company has consistently produced stellar returns on equity and capital, grown its business considerably, and done it all while maintaining a healthy balance sheet. And while alternative energy has been making noise lately, it's hard to expect that the business of selling oil and gasoline will fade out anytime soon.

CAPS members have given Exxon only a four-star rating, which goes against the "greatest company" thesis, but with nearly 6,300 outperform ratings, this is definitely a stock you don't want to dismiss.

Drilling for a winner
The staying power of oil is also good news for Diamond Offshore.

Diamond, which is majority-owned by Loews (NYSE:L), competes in the offshore drilling industry against powerhouses like Transocean (NYSE:RIG). Regardless of how much oil is left around the world, one thing is for sure -- black gold is getting harder to come by. What that means is that oil and gas companies are increasingly looking to the ocean depths for tougher-to-access, but largely untapped, oil fields.

The CAPS community seems to think that the future looks bright for Diamond stock. Of 1,828 ratings, 1,796 have come in on the bullish side. CAPS member rlvanegdom gave Diamond Offshore an outperform rating back in August, pointing to the stock's valuation:

I believe DO [Diamond Offshore] is the most undervalued stock that I currently follow. Using an estimate of earnings of $10.22 per share and a 5 year growth rate of 25% I come up with a P/E ratio of 8.5 and a PEG ratio of .3. This is a cheap stock.

Getting down to business
Now the CAPS community wants you. Do you think these stocks make sense? Head over to CAPS and join the 140,000 members already sharing their thoughts on thousands of stocks.

Further CAPS Foolishness:

Precision Castparts is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this article. 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.