Penny stocks are one way to double your money, though they're fraught with risk. But 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 these high-priced stocks earn the greatest confidence from our investor-intelligence database:


CAPS Rating (out of 5)

3-Digit Price

Return on Capital, TTM

Novo Nordisk (NYSE: NVO)




Siemens (NYSE: SI)




Strayer (Nasdaq: STRA)




Sources: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's; Motley Fool CAPS.

But just because these stocks are purring, that's 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
Convicted huckster Wade Cook, a former taxicab driver-turned-investment guru, coined the term "meter drop" to describe how investors could make large amounts of money by racking up small "fares" over a long period of time. Now he was selling short-term trading strategies that Fools don't cotton to, but it's still a valid concept that has taken many forms over the years: razor-and-blade business models, printers and ink, and so on.

Diabetes management comes pretty close to that idea. Pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk, for example, offers the NovoLog, a pen device preloaded with 300 units of insulin analog. When the pen is empty, you throw it away and use another one. It's proved to be a quite profitable business for Nordisk, as its diabetes care segment grew revenues 13% last quarter, driven by a jump in modern insulin of 11% and surging sales for Victoza, a once-daily type 2 diabetes treatment that soared 191% from last year.

Of course, while a daily regimen is good for Nordisk's profits, it's hell on the patients. That's why Eli Lilly's (NYSE: LLY) developed the once-weekly treatment Bydureon, and why XOMA (Nasdaq: XOMA) was looking for a once-a-month alternative (unfortunately for patients, it failed).

Earlier this year, CAPS member reallydealy pointed to the strength of Novo Nordisk's diabetes care to underscore the long-term value inherent in an investment in the pharmaceutical: "Steady income from insulin drug. Competition is not gaining any traction and diabetes is on the rise worldwide."

Tell us on the Novo Nordisk CAPS page whether you're willing to hitch a ride with the pharma giant.

Going with the flow
Although Siemens' alternative-energy segment seems to get the most attention, perhaps because of the proliferation of wind farms it's constructing -- such as the one it will be helping Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) build in Kansas -- its automation-systems business is growing faster, with trailing revenues up 22% compared with 12% for energy (and 14% for health care). But with world economies still taking faltering steps toward recovery, its industrial business could face the greatest volatility, as it relies in turn upon the auto, manufacturing, and construction sectors.

However, CAPS member tmcg1788 says it has proved to be a reliably strong performer despite this past recession and should continue to do well for investors going forward: "Increasing performance over the past two years. The ROA and profit margin of the company are both above average for the industry and they have low debt."

Add the stock to the Fool's free portfolio tracker, and then head over to the Siemens CAPS page and let us know whether you agree that this conglomerate still has the wind at its back.

Triple-digit titans
The for-profit education sector got a boost the other day, when the Education Department decided to water down the regulations regarding "gainful employment" as it applied to the schools, thus postponing the harshest sanctions possible until 2015. Strayer Education, Corinthian Colleges (Nasdaq: COCO), and other educators remain under the gun, though, as the reprieve may be short-lived. Critics are still worried about high default rates among, with students at these comprising 11% of the higher-education group but 46% of the defaults.

Strayer's stock, which initially jumped 25% on the Education Department news, has given back some of those gains and still sits some 47% below its 52-week high. CAPS member MagicDiligence says Strayer has some key differences from its rivals.

A key differentiator here is that the vast majority of Strayer's students (81%) are working towards 4-year bachelor or master's degrees. Many competitors in this space are focused on trade-based disciplines or 2-year associate's degrees. In general, bachelor and master students are more likely to pay back their loans, more likely to stick with the program and not drop out, and are more profitable to the company.

See whether Strayer Education can remain at the head of the class by putting the for-profit educator on your watchlist.

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.

Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey has no financial position in any of the stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.