True penny stocks are a minefield, but the copper beauties we pick up in my weekly column "Making Cents in Penny Stocks" are often just beaten-down winners whose shares have fallen below the $10 mark.

There are also those companies whose shares trade at the other end of the spectrum. I call 'em "three-digit stocks," though if they're anything like Berkshire Hathaway, they can trade in the four-, five-, and six-digit range, too.

While a penny stock might not be a good buy simply because it's cheap, a three-digit stock shouldn't scare you away just because it carries a hefty price tag. Handsome is as handsome does, so we check in with the Motley Fool CAPS community to see which ones the investor-intelligence database sees as having the best chance of succeeding.

For the first 20 months after we began tracking CAPS data, we found that newly minted five-star stocks offered the best opportunities for investors, whereas lowest-rated companies fared the worst. Pairing that information with our high-priced highfliers below, we'll have an idea of whether these stocks can maintain their lofty valuations.


3-Digit Price

CAPS Rating

Return on Capital, TTM





Arden Group (NASDAQ:ARDNA)




Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG)




BlackRock (NYSE:BLK)




AutoZone (NYSE:AZO)




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

High-falutin' honeys
Is it possible that a stock trading in excess of $100 a share can be considered a bargain? Sure! Sales at Intuitive Surgical continue to show exceptional strength, even in the face of worsening credit troubles, as hospitals undoubtedly consider the robotic surgical devices an essential asset in the operating room. CAPS member discardingsabot looks at the general declining health of baby boomers and sees a wealth of opportunity in the future:

It will take a while to catch on, existing shops aren't canceling, plus I can see a day when Insurance companies may ask why didn't you use the robot? Less risk quicker recovery rate equals lower cost, Yeah there are only certain surgeries that work well with the robot but they are things the Baby boomers will need and that population will at least double. Baby boomers are in crappy shape. They're fat, diabetic, overweight and ate and drank crap most their livesw, here's to prostate surgery and other renal failures.

With the housing market still crumbling under the weight of the excess inventory, home builders seem an unlikely arena to find a solid foundation on which to build. Beazer Homes (NYSE:BZH) is facing an uncertain future as losses widen and arcane accounting rules impede its ability to soften the blow of those losses in the future. Toll Brothers (NYSE:TOL) also hit record sales lows in October. Yet, NVR remains one of the few home builders that are actually still profitable these days, and CAPS All-Star member jinchoice sees them as best-of-breed:

NVR is the best housing stock in the market right now.

First, they have great management.... No other builder compares in the way that they have been able to minimize general expenses.

Second, this is the time to buy housing stocks. With the financial markets thawing, more mortgages will start to get approved. At these depressed houses, bargain hunters are gaining momentum. Earnings may or may not improve in the next few quarters, but I am betting that news on the real estate sector will continue to improve, driving many homebuilders stock up.

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 on these stocks on 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.

Sign up today for the completely free service, and let us hear what you have to say about the great and almost-great companies that interest you.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.