Penny stocks are one way to double your money, though it's fraught with risk, but there are equally shiny opportunities trading at the other end of the price spectrum, too. 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)

Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE: FCX) **** $118.35 29.5%
Lear (NYSE: LEA) **** $105.23 9.9%
Lubrizol (NYSE: LZ) *** $103.55 18.1%

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

But 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 end up leaving you scratched and bleeding. That's why we recommend you use this list as a launch pad for your own research and analysis.

Highfalutin' honeys
Is gold's bubble burst? After jumping 30% in 2010 and soaring more than 400% over the past decade, 2011 is off to an inauspicious start. The price of the yellow metal is down by about $50 an ounce so far this year as markets try to figure out if this amounts to profit-taking after a big run-up or a more fundamental issue.

Investors' appetite for miners is sagging with the price. Yamana Gold (NYSE: AUY), Barrick Gold (NYSE: ABX), and Newmont Mining are all off 5% or more over the past week. Freeport-McMoRan, however, is essentially flat and that may be because of its huge store of copper, which started off the year hitting new all-time highs.

CAPS member GuruJ expects Freeport to continue the growth it generated in 2010 because copper remains in short supply and has so many industrial uses. With the economy looking like it may finally be gaining its sea legs, copper and Freeport are sure to grow. "Copper is in short supply (8 months) & will run at a deficit. Not just a trade metal but an industrial metal."

You'll find a rich vein of opinion on the Freeport-McMoRan CAPS page.

King for a day?
Carmaker Ford (NYSE: F) continues its assault on the automotive world, reporting that sales surged 15% in 2010 as it stole market share from domestic and foreign rivals. General Motors also tried to spin that the government bailout it got was a good deal for taxpayers because its sales were up 21% last year and were 10% higher in December alone.

Yet strip out fleet sales to get a read on retail buyer preferences and you can see that consumers wanted little to do with "Government Motors." Its retail market share fell 1.8% while the handmaiden of taxpayer bailouts, Chrysler, lost 0.6%.

Regardless of who prevails -- as a free-market advocate I'm pulling for Ford -- auto parts supplier Lear is going to win if the auto market recovers strongly. Ford, GM, and BMW are its three largest customers globally. The shorts might think Lear has come too far, too fast, but 93% of the CAPS members rating it say those fears are overblown.

You can monitor how Lear performs by adding it to the Fool's free portfolio tracker, and then bolt on your opinion to the Lear CAPS page.

Triple-digit titans
The auto industry recovery is going to redound to specialty chemicals maker Lubrizol, which is the market leader in engine-oil additives, a niche that remains a slick opportunity for investors. Lubrizol has enjoyed surging sales and profits that rivals like NewMarket and Ashland (NYSE: ASH) have been unable to match, while Infineum and Oronite are actually customers, too.

With 93% of the CAPS members rating Lubrizol marking it to outperform, it appears they think the additives specialist will continue to be a smooth operator. Rev up the Lubrizol CAPS page with your own opinion of its growth prospects.

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 in 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.

General Motors is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Ford Motor is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. 

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