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 Michael Price of MFP Investors, who earned his reputation as sharp -- and sharp-tongued -- value investor at the firm of Max Heine.

Fund: MFP Investors
No. of Stocks Owned: 123
Top 5 Holdings: West Coast Bancorp, Citigroup, ConocoPhillips, Symetra Financial, GulfMark Offshore
Top Sectors: Financials, Industrials, Consumer Services

Like a number of the investing legends we've looked at, Price's portfolio has a more diversified composition, but his last quarterly report showed he added 24 new positions so we'll take a closer look at some of them to see what CAPS members have to say.

Stock

Avg. Price

Current Price

% Chg

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP)

$62.70

$63.86

1.8%

*****

Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A)

$113,488

$108,650

(4.3%)

****

Smith International (NYSE: SII)

$35.91

$39.40

9.7%

****

Source: GuruFocus and CAPS.

Price is what you pay
Even if China's economy is cooling off, it still represents a largely untapped market for growth. Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) said last year it was going to invest $2 billion in the country over a three-year period and PepsiCo just said it was going to do the same, putting an additional $2.5 billion into as many as 12 new manufacturing plants and an R&D facility, as well as potato and oat farms. I'm sure not many people realize Pepsi is already one of the largest spud farmers in China.

China (and India) posted double-digit volume growth for the beverage and snack maker as segment revenue increased 18% generating a 12% jump in core operating profits. Capitalizing on that strength is a smart move.

CAPS member llgrout views Pepsi as a proxy for the economy while benefiting from its far flung international exposure.

If you look at pepsico's chart, it is right in line with the market. Why? Simple, when the economy is doing well people have more money and time for non essentials such as junk food, and other luxury products which pepsico sells. They are also feeling better about themselves, so they are more likely to open up the wallet for stuff they truly don't need. A bet on pepsico is a bet that the economy will recover just fine. They also market internationally just fine. In the middle east, it is pepsi, not coke that is all over the place. In Europe it is both. In addition, I have drank enough diet pepsi myself to keep the local bottler in business.

A quick fixer upper
It's always interesting to see how value investors view the same stock. Where Michael Price was adding Kraft (NYSE: KFT) shares to his portfolio, Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway was selling down his stake, not least because he was unhappy with its "dumb" deal to acquire Cadbury. Procter & Gamble was another large sale for Buffett.

Price disagrees strongly with Buffett's view of the Kraft-Cadbury deal, saying it's going to make money on the merger.

CAPS All-Star kurtdabear thinks Buffett's going to be wrong on a few things, as the market won't be favoring Berskhire's business: "The next few years will not be kind to insurance companies, regardless of who's running them."

Set phasers to stun!
As the BP oil spill widens, oil industry service providers like Smith International are likely to see their shares depressed as the ramifications of the disaster are worked out. Still 95% of the 517 CAPS members rating Smith see it outperforming the market averages. You can spill electronic ink on the Smith International CAPS page to tell us how you think the Gulf disaster will impact its future.

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.

Berkshire Hathaway and Coca-Cola are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Berkshire Hathaway is a Stock Advisor selection. Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Procter & Gamble are Income Investor selections. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Pepsi. The Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Coca-Cola, and Procter & Gamble.

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.