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

There are also 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; that's why we check in with the Motley Fool CAPS community to see which costly stocks the investor-intelligence database has given the best odds of succeeding.

Below are a handful of these high-priced highfliers, and we'll see if CAPS members think they can maintain their lofty status.


3-Digit Price

CAPS Rating

Return on Capital, TTM

AutoZone (NYSE:AZO)




MasterCard (NYSE:MA)







Rio Tinto (NYSE:RTP)




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

Any way you look at, it appears to be expensive. At 35 times trailing earnings, it's a bit pricey, and trading for 18 times next year's profits makes even Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE) seem cheap by comparison.

No fly-by-night operation, has always come at a premium. Even during the depths of the recession, when many people weren't traveling, the online agent was sporting similarly lofty multiples. A good part of its ability to continue generating copious amounts of cash, though, involved having the good sense to make smart moves early on -- eliminating booking fees, for example. That forced Expedia and Orbitz to play catch-up when they could least afford it.

The company has a way of confounding the experts, but that doesn't mean investors are any less skeptical about its ability to maintain these price levels. markodegr8 thinks it "simply cannot continue growing at a high enough pace to match its current trading price."

Rock solid?
Iron ore miner Rio Tinto might be sitting in the driver's seat. China has been experiencing sustained growth with a government stimulus package, so its steelmakers will need Rio Tinto's output to keep up production. China increased its production for July 12% year over year, according to the World Steel Association -- twice the increase in June.

Yet China and Rio Tinto have butted heads recently. Because negotiations were dragging on, Rio Tinto didn't make a deal with Aluminum Corp. of China (NYSE:ACH) and turned instead to BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) for a cash infusion. Price-cut negotiations also put them at loggerheads, and Rio Tinto recently withdrew from those talks as well. Tensions grew again last month, when four Rio Tinto employees were arrested and charged with corporate espionage.

roadwarrior777 believes that Chinese recalcitrance in these situations will ultimately benefit Rio Tinto, but stockfreak1 disagrees: "I'm going against the grain on this one, but I've always found when a government or big company is MAD at you, you're not going to do too well."

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 stocks, no matter their price? Join Fool co-founders David and Tom Gardner at Motley Fool Stock Advisor as they search for stocks with the potential to double, triple, and even quadruple in value over time.

Join Stock Advisor free for 30 days and get immediate access to all of David and Tom's proprietary research. There is no obligation to subscribe. Already a subscriber? Log in at the top of this page. is a Stock Advisor selection. Berkshire Hathaway is a Stock Advisorrecommendation and an Inside Value pick. The Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services today, free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway but does not have a financial position in any of the other stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.