"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 has 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

Accenture (NYSE:ACN)





PetroChina (NYSE:PTR)





Corning (NYSE:GLW)





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. And on that note, let's take a closer look at these companies.

Pursuing petroleum
Although ExxonMobil's (NYSE:XOM) market cap recently regained its title as world's largest, knocking PetroChina from the pedestal, that doesn't mean the Chinese company is anything but massive. But its size doesn't protect it from oil prices that have fallen around 50% from last summer, also whacking Exxon and other competitors like Chevron (NYSE:CVX).

As a commodity, it's pretty much impossible for any oil producer to fetch a higher price for its specific petro-brew. In PetroChina's home base of China, that's even more difficult since the Chinese government actively controls prices for gasoline and diesel fuel.

But that hardly means we should write off the company. There are still good reasons to be bullish about oil, and demand from the Chinese market isn't the least among them. And while PetroChina may not have control over oil prices, it can continue to increase production by finding new reserves and can keep an eye on production costs.

Can Accenture break its funk?
Accenture's recent results show that a hoped-for influx of money to consultants as companies tried to deal with the recession didn't quite happen. At the same time, a tough competitive field that includes the likes of IBM and Infosys (NASDAQ:INFY) could get even tougher as Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) and Xerox enter the field through recent acquisitions.

Though the recession may not have sent customers rushing into Accenture's arms, there's hope that recovery could be the much-needed elixir. If we are starting to enter a recovery phase, not only will businesses have more money for consulting services, but they'll be very interested in tapping folks like Accenture to ensure they're making the most of customers' increased appetites.

Add to this the fact that financial services firms that may soon have new regulations to figure out and comply with, and we may well have a scenario where Accenture could get back into growth mode.

With a trailing price-to-earnings ratio of 16, it's hard to say that the stock is cheap, but Accenture is the powerhouse in its industry, and if the bottom line starts to perk up, we could see that P/E start to drop.

Glassy-eyed over Corning
The recession has not been kind to Corning. This, of course, isn't all that surprising. When your primary products are fiber-optic cabling and LCD screens, you're relying pretty heavily on expansionary economic conditions. Though there were signs of life in the company's last earnings release, earnings per share over the past year are still down 70% from the prior year.

But there could be good news ahead. Most economists now seem to agree that we've ditched the recession and are solidly in recovery mode. While it seems hard to expect the ebullient pre-recession times to return, any recovery at all would provide some respite for Corning -- not to mention its shareholders.

CAPS members certainly seem to think that good times could be ahead for Corning. More than 3,200 members have rated the stock an outperformer against just 86 who think it will lag the broader market.

CAPS member bobbyabull chimed in with an outperform on Corning's stock back in June, saying:

I like the market for fiber-optic cable, flat screen tv's and glass for notebooks. This company has a bit of a moat. They are poised to make a lot of money overseas, and the dollar isn't likely to become terribly strong anytime soon. The current and future P/E's are fair (as is the PEG) and they even yield 1.30% at these levels. Corning has been around for over 100 years and is well managed - it should outperform.

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:

Accenture and Dell are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. 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. 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.