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, 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

CF Industries (NYSE: CF)




Cummins (NYSE: CMI)




VMware (NYSE: VMW)




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

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
Pork chops, a couple of ears of corn, a loaf of bread. We usually don't consider how connected these items are when we go shopping. And we certainly don't consider the USDA's surveys that showed farmers planted record levels of corn crops this year -- 300 million bushels more than they had predicted just three weeks ago -- which is causing the price of corn to fall from around $8 a bushel down to $5.50, a move that's bringing wheat prices down, too.

And while the corn farmer is suddenly looking at a much less profitable picture, the hog farmer is seeing his own profits from one hog rise from $5 to around $15 because it suddenly got cheaper to feed his sows.

We might not think about it, but fertilizer producers such as CF Industries, Mosaic (NYSE: MOS), and PotashCorp (NYSE: POT) do, as their stocks have been brought down by the surveys. While many analysts expressed surprise at the move, since more corn would seemingly mean more fertilizer used, my guess is that having corn prices fall through the floor means farms won't be planting as much corn in the near future, and that will lead to fewer fertilizer applications.

But the USDA is resurveying the Corn Belt again, and with all the flooding that went on through the wet spring, it's likely that those numbers will come down. So weakness in CF's shares might signal a buying opportunity. As CAPS member jcelt notes, there is still large demand for fertilizer.

Among the ag sector, this is a steal. Potash is a close competitor, but both will succeed in the Long Term. Demand for Fertilizer is growing at an astronomical rate, and this is a great way to profit off of this need. BUY!

Let us know on the CF Industries CAPS page whether this stock is likely to plant the seed of growth in your portfolio.

Triple-digit titans
Buying into their own hype, economists thought we were turning a corner, having recently raised their estimates on the number of jobs they believed the economy had created to more than 100,000 last month. Instead, they were caught flat-footed when the figure came in at a dismal 18,000 and April's job numbers were revised downward by 44,000 jobs.

Although capital-goods stocks such as Cummins and Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT) were sent lower by the jobs report, manufacturing held up its part, gaining 6,000 jobs, three times the number gain in May. So investors looking for opportunities might want to start with those companies incongruously affected the most by the report.

For engine maker Cummins, China should still represent a chance for growth despite the first-half slowdown the auto industry there experienced. While sales in the country were up 3%, production was down 29%, but June marked a rebound from two straight months of declines, so it could signal an inflection point. Highly rated CAPS All-Star NHWeston believes the breadth of engines Cummins makes gives it an edge on the competition.

Cummins took a real whack this month and, as a result, is now a buying opportunity. They make engines, a whole range of types, including nat gas power. At the first signs of either global recovery or serious municipal interest in gas-powered vehicles, they'll head for 120. Cramer, Heebner, and several other heavyweights like this stock. I do, too.

Add the stock to the Fool's free portfolio tracker to see if whether will keep revving higher.

A virtual winner
Virtualization software specialist VMware will be looking globally for its future, too. With a slightly larger percentage of its sales derived from international markets than rivals like Citrix Systems (Nasdaq: CTXS), and with greater demand overseas for virtualization to improve efficiencies, VMware can expect to reap more of the benefits.

For ipsiety, though, it's just that kind of thinking that makes our CAPS member believe it will ultimately underperform the market.

Price to sales of 13.9 and PEG of 1.8? Too much of a story stock for me. Mr Market has huge expectation with this one.

You can read what others are saying on the VMware CAPS page and track its growth trajectory here and abroad by adding the stock to 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.

Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of VMware. 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 owns shares of Boston Scientific but has no financial position in any of the other stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.