"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 recent financial crisis has shown us, too much complexity can often end in calamity.

In an effort to track down some of the 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 are earning 10% or more on their equity, have insiders that own a piece of the company, aren't over-levered, and have a high rating from the CAPS community.


CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

Return on Equity

Insider Ownership

Debt-to-Equity Ratio






Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB)





Charles Schwab (NASDAQ:SCHW)





Source: CAPS.

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.

VCA Antech
If you're not familiar with VCA Antech's stock, it may be because it's relatively small with a market cap of just over $2 billion. But if you are the owner of one of the estimated 215 million companion animals in the U.S., it's very possible that you've used the services of this Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick.

The company runs a network of animal hospitals and diagnostic labs around the country and estimates that it's serving a $21 billion market for animal-health services. Not too shabby, particularly considering that pet owners seem to only be getting more aware of the need for comprehensive health-care for their four-legged friends.

VCA isn't without significant competition. In addition to many independent animal hospitals, larger players like PetSmart (NASDAQ:PETM) offer veterinary services. But the company posted top-line growth of 135% in the five-year period from 2003 to 2008, and delivered a solid return on its equity over the past year despite the economic challenges. In other words, VCA certainly seems to be holding its own.

Fighting to keep as much money flowing to the bottom line as possible, oil and gas companies are always looking for ways to be as efficient and effective as possible. And when it comes to areas like well construction, maintenance, and data collection, big boys like BP (NYSE:BP) and Chevron (NYSE:CVX) turn to Schlumberger.

However, even an industry leader can fall on tough times when its customers start sucking wind, and the uncertain economy and low oil prices in 2009 caused Schlumberger's bottom line to take a dip. Looking ahead to 2010, though, the global economy is looking at least somewhat healthier and oil has broken back over $80 per barrel.

Of course, it's often hard to find this kind of quality at a bargain price. Schlumberger's stock is trading at nearly 25 times expected 2010 earnings, a price that may be a little rich even for a top-flight company like this.

Charles Schwab
Charles Schwab's stock may not have taken quite the beating that foe E*TRADE (NASDAQ:ETFC) did during the crash, but it's been battered nonetheless. However, Schwab has a solid balance sheet, a bunch of cash, and a well-known and trusted brand, all of which CAPS members think will help the company's stock charge ahead of the rest of the market.

Currently, 773 CAPS members think Schwab's stock is an outperformer, compared to 51 who think it will lag the rest of the market. All-Star Superball joined the Schwab fan club in mid-December and had this to say:

This one is currently down based on lower trading in the market overall, which affects Schwab's profits in the short term. Mid to long term, however, this stock should be a good pick. Get it now while the price is good.

Getting down to business
Now 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 145,000 members already sharing their thoughts on thousands of stocks.

Concerned a stock in your portfolio doesn't make sense? Check out my three signs of a terrible investment.

VCA Antech is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. PetSmart and Charles Schwab are Stock Advisor picks. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days

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.