Penny stocks are one way to double your money -- but they're fraught with risk. Thankfully, there are equally shiny opportunities trading at the other end of the price spectrum. I call 'em "three-digit stocks," yet if they're anything like Berkshire Hathaway, they can trade in the four-, five-, and six-digit range, too.

penny stock might not be a good buy simply because it's cheap, and a three-digit stock shouldn't scare you away just because it carries a hefty price tag. Handsome is as handsome does. Let's check in with the Motley Fool CAPS community to see which of the high-priced stocks below earn the greatest confidence from our investor-intelligence database:


CAPS Rating (out of 5)

3-Digit Price

Return on Capital, TTM

CNOOC (NYSE: CEO) **** $218.08 17.8%
Simon Property Group (NYSE: SPG) * $100.57 4.5%
Terra Nitrogen (NYSE: TNH) **** $116.76 41.8%

Source: CapitalIQ, a division of Standard & Poor's; Motley Fool CAPS. TTM = trailing 12 months.

Just because these stocks are purring is no reason to jump into them blindly. Catching a tiger by the tail -- or a knife falling from on high -- can leave you scratched and bleeding. That's why we recommend you use this list as a launching pad for your own research and analysis.

It's long been rumored that Chinese oil company CNOOC was interested in African oil interests. It recently outbid ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) for a piece of Ghana's Jubilee field, suggesting that China will go anywhere for oil.

And after Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK) sold out one-third of its Eagle Ford Shale play to the oil giant, it's reasonable to wonder whether China will buy all the world's oil. With oil prices in the mid-$80s, it's not surprising that CNOOC's third-quarter earnings were strong. The company increased total net production by nearly half, with almost 80% of that in oil.

Of the 1,260 CAPS members weighing in, 96% believe it will continue to turn in market-beating performances. Does that mean CNOOC is right for you? Add it to your My Watchlist page and have all the Foolish news and analysis about it compiled for you in one place.

Not so rough
The third-quarter earnings of real-estate investment trust Simon Property Group may be the clearest signal yet that the economy has finally turned the corner. While profits doubled from a year ago, occupancy rates at Simon's regional malls and premium outlets rose to 93.6%, while sales were 11% higher. The company has an interest in more than 300 properties, and average rent per square foot climbed nearly 1%.

Simon Property Group is one of the healthiest REITs around, and like Vornado, it's reaping the benefits. But that doesn't extend to all REITs, and vacancy rates elsewhere have hit historically high levels.

So the shakeout probably will be dramatic, and CAPS member StonedToTheBone is looking to capitalize on it.

Going against many all-stars here. This is America's largest mall operator, and its share price grew steadily and dependably from '01 to '07. Consumer discretionary markets were some of those hit hardest by the recession. Now, here we are again, watching as the share price has grown steadily -- and sharply considering it was below $30 -- since '09. Given that it's the largest U.S. company in its category, I have to think that eventually the share price will surpass its 2007 peak of just over $120. The key word being... eventually. I know there are plenty of negatives here. But I'm ready to hang on for the explosive ride this recovering economy shall create.

You can shop the opinions of other CAPS members on the Simon Property Group CAPS page and add your own views on whether it can anchor the recovery.

Triple-digit titans
Things have only gotten better for fertilizer stocks like Terra Nitrogen after BHP Billiton first bid for PotashCorp (NYSE: POT). Aside from the acquisition target's share price soaring well above the bid price, commodities have risen as well, lifting fertilizer prices with them.

That means the value proposition for Terra Nitrogen has increased, too. It has some top margins at its back and trades at only 15 times earnings, which is about half the level Potash and Mosaic (NYSE: MOS) go for. CAPS member smacfe thinks it has all the ingredients to become a target itself.

TNH [meets] all the requirements for a stock in a potentially rising inflationary environment. It is in the core materials business, it has a great dividend, and it could be [an] acquisition target.

You can put the fertilizer producer into's free portfolio tracker, My Watchlist, and add your opinion on the Terra Nitrogen CAPS page, too.

Count to 10
These three-digit stocks might be on their way to even higher valuations. That's why it pays to start your own research at 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.