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 you'll find a few that have as many as six digits in their prices.

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

F5 Networks (Nasdaq: FFIV)




LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD)




SINA (Nasdaq: SINA)




Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's; Motley Fool CAPS.
*As of December 2010.

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.

Much ado about not much
Meeting revenue expectations and beating Wall Street on profits wasn't enough to keep F5 Networks from tumbling when it reported earnings last week. Despite revenues that were appreciably higher year over year, the rate of that growth has been falling since the end of last year, creating fear that the network equipment maker was losing steam.

Yet where some saw worries about flagging sales growth, a closer look should indicate that things are actually doing well. Japan, for example, saw revenues jump 42% from last year, despite concerns about the possible impact of the earthquake and tsunami there. Europe's financial crisis has also created some worries, with rival Riverbed Technology (Nasdaq: RVBD) showing weakness there during the quarter, but F5 still managed to take share from Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) overall.

F5 has a "solid balance sheet, steady consistent growth, best of breed products, [and] fantastic leadership," according to CAPS member ryanrca, and with no debt on the balance sheet to weigh it down, it trades a multiple favorable to Riverbed or Rackspace. While Cisco is decidedly cheaper in those terms, it's also seen as having more issues to deal with.

I find the market's reaction to F5's results overwrought, and I've marked it to outperform the indexes going forward. But you can add your own thoughts on the F5 NEtworks CAPS page on whether this stock is likely to turn itself around.

Linking into profits?
After stumbling badly following the initial IPO surge, professional-networking site LinkedIn is above the century mark again, but it's hard to escape the conclusion that this is little more than a bubble fueled by speculation in social-media IPOs. China's Renren (Nasdaq: RENN) recently burst on the scene with a lot of fanfare, and it has since fallen hard. Meanwhile, though not new to the market, Quepasa just purchased for $100 million.

Although analysts call LinkedIn a potential $10 billion-annual-revenue business in the future, the CAPS community isn't linking up with the stock, as less than 10% of the 825 members rating it think it can beat the market.

With sales of less than $300 million, nonexistent profits, and a valuation that's off the charts, LinkedIn is no value investor's stock. But add the stock to the Fool's free portfolio tracker to see whether can overcome the hype surrounding its debut and transform itself into a company with lasting value.

A virtual winner
Even with a virtual government-sanctioned monopoly on microblogging, can SINA's Weibo still stumble?

Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter are all blocked in China because of the fear the people will stray beyond the tightly controlled borders of the country, potentially leading to a repeat of Tiananmen Square. That's given rise to Chinese companies that are similar to those services, with Renren resembling Facebook and (NYSE: YOKU) a YouTube-like service. Weibo is akin to Twitter. Yet in a country where free expression is repressed, there is likely to be little originality of thought.

Undoubtedly because of its newness, Weibo has exploded in popularity. The number of Chinese microbloggers tripled in the first half of the year, and with little more than a third of the country connected to the Internet, there's certainly the potential for greater growth, particularly when foreign competition isn't allowed.

But novelty can wear off, and if you're constrained from expressing yourself freely, which is arguably one of the big attractions of the social-media sites, then some users will ask, "What's the point?" Right now, however, SINA is just starting to monetize Weibo, and it should be able to capitalize on the service for some time.

More than 1,100 CAPS members have expressed their views of SINA, and 92% of them see it coming out ahead. You can read what others are saying on the SINA CAPS page and track its growth trajectory 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.

The Fool owns shares of and has created a bull call spread position on Cisco Systems. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of SINA, Riverbed Technology, Rackspace Hosting, and Cisco Systems. 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 Cisco 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.