Scraping together enough coin to win the annual luncheon auction with Warren Buffett is probably beyond most investors' means. With the proceeds going to charity, 2009's winning bidder forked over $2.63 million for the privilege.

Feast or famine
While we likely can't afford to break bread with the greats, we can peek at their stock ideas through their SEC filings. Here, we'll pore over some of the top investors' reports to see which stocks they've chosen as their best investments. We'll then check in with Motley Fool CAPS members to learn whether they agree.

First, a few caveats...

  • There's a delay between when the stocks were bought and when these investors filed their paperwork, so they might have sold out since.
  • These legends may be hot investors now, but that can change in an instant. Bill Miller was a wunderkind after beating the market 15 years in a row, but his performance has been hit-or-miss the past few years.

Contrary to popular opinion
Fools should definitely do their own further research here. But in the meantime, let's take a look once again at well-known but controversial investor George Soros, chairman of Soros Fund Management. Whatever you think of his personal views, you can't deny his success in investing. So let's see what other magic he might be working.

Fund: Soros Fund Management          

No. of Stocks Owned: 737

Top 5 Holdings: SPRD Gold Trust, Monsanto, Interoil, Plains Exploration, NovaGold

Top Sectors: Oil & Gas, Materials

Let's look closer at a few of his most recent choices below.

Stock

Average Price

Current Price

% Chg.

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Coach (NYSE: COH)

$38.21

$52.82

38.2%

***

Dendreon (Nasdaq: DNDN)

$36.97

$34.89

(5.6%)

**

Potash Corp (NYSE: POT)

$124.33

$174.16

40.1%

****

Source: GuruFocus, Motley Fool CAPS.

Like a number of the investing legends we've looked at, Soros has a diversified portfolio, even exceptionally so, but let's take a closer look at what CAPS members have to say about some of his new holdings.

Price is what you pay
Even for thriving companies like Coach, costs are rising, and raw materials are getting expensive. With leather costs climbing and Chinese labor getting pricier, Coach is looking at India and Vietnam to keep expenses low. The company's not alone; Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) has built a chip assembly plant in Ho Chi Minh City, and communications provider Polycom (Nasdaq: PLCM) is looking to Vietnam because it's more politically stable than Thailand, from which it sources some 80% of its videoconferencing equipment.

Despite cinching their belts tighter during the recession, businesses realize that peak consumption for consumers is still a long way off. Controlling manufacturing costs is the one lever they're still able to pull. CAPS member jl70 considers the recent weakness in Coach's stock an opportunity to buy into a quality company, but ptaussig thinks the luxury goods maker will suffer if the economy sours again.

You can let us know on the Coach CAPS page whether the handbag maker has cost control in the bag.

Tunneling down to growth
Biotech Dendreon is also on the move, looking to hit up a contract manufacturer in Europe for Provenge in hopes of securing approvals there for the cancer treatment. As Brian Orelli points out, it's not a sure thing for sales, since the government-run health programs there are reluctant to pay up for meds whose overall effectiveness doesn't seem proportional to their expense. Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) ran into this problem in the U.K. with its drug Sutent, as well as its Alzheimer's treatment Aricept.

However, CAPS member Jajimon believes there are enough growth catalysts for Dendreon to keep it growing:

Constant negative press since approval in mid-2010. Positive news catalysts (March Review, NJ Facility Ramp-Up, Potential Acquisition Interest) outweigh potential negative catalysts. Investors bid-up the stock to $54 post FDA approval, and once production ramps up in mid-late 2011, the stock should recover to a price in the $45-55 range.

Digging deep
One company benefiting from rising commodity costs is fertilizer maker PotashCorp, which saw profit double in the recent quarter as demand for fertilizer soared. As food prices skyrocket, farmers are seeking to increase their crop yields, boosting profits for PotashCorp. As a result, the potash producer raised its dividend, announced a stock split, and increased guidance. Not bad considering BHP Billiton's (NYSE: BHP) failed takeover effort of the company last year.

With high barriers to entry, CAPS member toshimelonhead likes Potash's market position: "Demand is continuing to rise especially from China (shock). The flooding in Australia is good news for opposing potash mines because flooding renders potash useless and this is not insurable."

You can add PotashCorp to your watchlist, and have all our Foolish news and analysis on the company aggregated for you.

Value is what you get
Become an investing legend yourself by starting 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 tell us whether these stocks are as good a value as these investing legends think they are.

Intel and Pfizer are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Polycom is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Coach is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. The Fool owns shares of and has bought calls on Intel. Motley Fool Options has recommended buying calls on Intel. Motley Fool Options has recommended a synthetic long position on Monsanto. The Fool owns shares of Coach. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey does not have a financial position in any of the stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings here. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.