Scraping together enough coin to win the annual luncheon auction with Warren Buffett is probably beyond the means of most investors. With the proceeds going to benefit charity, last year's winning bidder forked over $1.68 million for the privilege.

Feast or famine
So maybe we can't afford to break bread with the greats, but we can peek at their stock ideas through their SEC filings. What we'll do here is pore over the reports of some of the top investors and see which stocks they've chosen as their best investments. We'll then check in with Motley Fool CAPS members to see if they agree.

First, a few caveats ...

  • There's a delay from when the stocks were bought and when these investors file their paperwork so they might have sold out since.
  • And these legends may be hot investors now, but that can change in an instant. Bill Miller was a wunderkind for beating the market 15 years in a row -- then he went cold for three. He came back in 2009, but we don't know what 2010 will bring.

Contrary to popular opinion
So you should do your own due diligence, but in the meantime let's take a look at Prem Watsa at Fairfax Financial, who's been called the "Canadian Warren Buffett."

Fund: Fairfax Financial
No. of Stocks Owned: 37
Top 5 Holdings: Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC), Dell (Nasdaq: DELL), Johnson & Johnson, General Electric, US Bancorp (NYSE: USB)
Top Sectors: Financials, Information Technology, Health care

Like many of the investing legends we've looked at, Fairfax's portfolio is concentrated, so let's take a closer look at some of Watsa's top holdings and see what CAPS members have to say about them.

Price is what you pay
Perhaps it's not so surprising that an institution with "financial" in its name would be heavily weighted toward the financial industry. Its portfolio may be realizing significant benefits as bank earnings reports flow out this season showing reserves for bad loans were reduced. While Wells Fargo saw its provision for loan losses in the first quarter rise from the year ago period, they were down from the fourth quarter when management says the charge offs peaked.

Similarly, US Bancorp set aside less for bad loans even though it saw its charge offs rise sequentially because the residential housing market and its credit card business remain weak.

CAPS member finalglide says that with the worst of the recession behind the banks, he's looking for Wells Fargo in particular to rebound this year.

Most of the bad credit has already been written off. Surprisingly strong earnings as the economy bounces back will lead to very strong price appreciation within the next year.

Member barney408, though, says the factors that led US Bancorp to see higher charge offs haven't abated as much as the company thinks and will come back to haunt it down the road.

USB's retail and mortgage division is still heavily invested in toxic assets! The mortgage crisis is not even near to being over. They also have many in-house 2nd mortgages on the books that were done some years ago at 125% equity! They will take huge losses on these properties as foreclosures continue.

E*Trade Financial (Nasdaq: ETFC), which has been hanging by a thread these days, was able to narrow its losses on fewer loan-loss provisions and we're likely to see this be a common theme. What investors need to watch out for are those banks that are merely following the trend, but who actually see their rates rise due to portfolios filled with bad loans. Regions Financial (NYSE: RF), for example, had to boost its loan-loss provisions by 81% because its loans continue to perform poorly.

Information is power
With global PC shipments rising 20% in the first quarter, according to the market researchers at IDC and Gartner, the expectations is that Dell and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) will report substantially improved first quarter results. According to IDC, HP remained atop the heap with a 19.7% share of the market, and Dell improved its lot by garnering 13.3%, but the real wunderkind was Acer, which soared into second place with a 13.6% share as shipments soared more than 42%.

Being able to capitalize on opportunities is what led CAPS member DeclanPhillips to suggest Dell was an undervalued and underappreciated company.

Dell is a really well poised company ready to embrace, and profit off of, the changing technological environment of the world. In my opinion it is a safe choice to invest money in that will outperform the S&P 500, even if only by a small percentage. 

Value is what you get
Become an investing legend yourself by starting your own research on these stocks on 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.

Sign up today for the completely free service, and tell us whether these stocks are as good a value as these investing legends think they are.

Johnson & Johnson is a Motley Fool Income Investor pick and Motley Fool Options recommended buying calls on it.

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