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 do further research, but in the meantime let's take a look at Richard Cunniff of Ruane Cunniff & Goldfarb, the money management firm founded by the late William Cunniff, a Benjamin Graham-style value investor.

Fund: Ruane Cuniff & Goldfarb
No. of Stocks Owned: 149
Top 5 Holdings: Berkshire Hathaway, Idexx Labs, TJX Companies, Fastenal, Mohawk Industries
Top Sectors: Consumer Discretionary, Financials

Like a number of the investing legends we've looked at, Cunniff's portfolio has a more diversified composition, but his last quarterly report showed he added 19 new positions so we'll take a closer look at some of them to see what CAPS members have to say.


Average Price

Current Price

% Chg

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)






AutoZone (NYSE: AZO)





Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT)





Source: GuruFocus and CAPS.

Price is what you pay
How cool would it have been to pick up shares of 3M under $68 a stub? Or Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) for under $40 each? Those were some of the wild prices numerous companies traded at for a brief period of time last week when program trading apparently kicked in and beat the dickens out of the market. While the exchanges run by NYSE Euronext (NYSE: NYX) and Nasdaq OMX Group are cancelling most of the trades as "erroneous," it underscores just how fragile the market really is.

It's like everyone is putting up a brave facade and cheering a recovering economy -- but at the first sign of weakness, the big boys start running for the exits. Little investors ought to be mindful of that the next round of earnings reports. 3M turned in a strong performance in the first quarter with profits jumping 79% on a 25% increase in revenues. Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT) turned in better than expected results too. Yet if earnings start going south, make sure you clear a path to the exit.

CAPS member WECpoker is still on the lookout for bargains in the market, but hybridinvestor sees the gathering clouds of worry on the horizon.

Near-term pan on large U.S. multi-nationals as they face headwinds of a strengthening dollar making overseas profits less valuable. Also using these pans to measure any sort of expected near-term pullback to also find entry points for my "source of funds" big cap trades I will do when they sell off enough.

A quick fixer-upper
emtking doesn't see the economic weakness lasting too long and is expecting unemployment to head lower, which will benefit Ford (NYSE: F) at the expense of AutoZone.

As the unemployment numbers start to go down, new car sales will continue to go up. This plays well for Ford(F), but plays poorly for Autozone(AZO), as they have an inverse relationship because of the demographics they cater too.

Set phasers to stun!
The need to be frugal is even catching up with the country's defense industry, which continues to receive warnings that the watchword of the day is "affordability." In that regard Lockheed Martin's "back to the future" contract for unmanned blimps to keep on the lookout for enemy combatants planting roadside bombs fits right in. I understand that siege towers and trebuchets are also on the drawing board.

Make no mistake, though, Lockheed's sophisticated weaponry will still be front and center, and All-Star CAPS member MarcD10 says human history ensures it will have a place defending us.

Governments need the technologies and tools LMT develops to keep themselves feeling and secure. Government contracts are large, dependable and long term. That equals sustainable cash flow. Plus the company is diversified and segment is such a way that their services will always been in demand and the technologies developed can be and are used in many everyday aspects of life.

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.

3M and Nasdaq OMX Group are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. NYSE Euronext is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Ford Motor is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Procter & Gamble is a Motley Fool Income Investor choice. Motley Fool Options has recommended a write covered calls position on Nasdaq OMX Group. The Fool owns shares of Procter & Gamble. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services today, free for 30 days.

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.