Scraping together enough coin to win the annual luncheon auction with Warren Buffet is probably beyond the means of most investors. With the proceeds going to benefit charity, last year's winning bidder forked over $1.68 million for the privilege.

But many investors would love the chance to chow down with Buffett and pick his brain on his investment philosophy and stocks he's considering buying. The same could probably be said for many other value investing legends, too.

Feast or famine
Maybe we can't break bread with the greats, but we can peek at their stock ideas through their SEC filings. What we'll do here is pore over the reports of some of the top investors and see which stocks they've chosen as their best investments. We'll then check in with Motley Fool CAPS members to see if they agree.

Obviously, there are a few caveats with a strategy of piggybacking on the masters:

  • There's a delay from when the stocks were bought and when the paperwork is filed. If the stocks were a good deal back then, are they still a good deal today? Have they sold out since?
  • These legends may be hot investors now, but that can change in an instant. Bill Miller was a wunderkind for beating the market 15 years in a row -- then he went cold for three years. He came back in 2009, but we don't know what 2010 will bring.

Contrary to popular opinion
That's why we say you'll need to do further research, but with those points in mind, let's take a look at David Dreman, the founder of Dreman Value Management, whose family of funds has over $4.7 billion in assets under management. Dreman's a contrarian investor who looks for value in distressed companies no one else wants, and is the author of four books on investing, including the classic Contrarian Investment Strategies. His investing philosophy is simple:

We look for out-of-favor stocks by specific value benchmarks: low P/E, low price-to-cash flow, low price-to-book or high yield. Studies have shown that this strategy has outperformed the market in every decade since the 1930s.

Fund Facts:
Dreman Value Management

No. of Stocks Owned: 294

Top 5 Holdings: Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC), Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN), ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP), Altria (NYSE:MO), Apache (NYSE:APA)

Top Sectors: Financials, Industrials, Energy, Information Technology

With some of Dreman's funds, you'd face a minimum of $100,000 to have him investing your money. For a cheaper option, you can look at some of his best ideas below. They represent completely new additions to his portfolio at the time of the filing and were the largest purchases relative to the size of the portfolio.


Avg. Price

Recent Price

% Change

CAPS Rating

Synaptics (NASDAQ:SYNA)





Tutor Perini





Net 1 Ueps Technologies










Gammon Gold





Source: SEC filings.

Naturally, we want you to look a bit closer at these stocks before buying. You can get low-priced appliances in the dent-and-ding section of your home-remodeling superstore, but their quality might not be so good. Same thing here: Make sure there's nothing seriously wrong with the company before you plug it into your portfolio.

Price is what you pay
The growth in smartphones will only lead to greater demand for Synaptics' touchscreen technology. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) might have suffered a temporary loss of share as consumers await the next iteration of the iPhone, but all of the major manufacturers will be expanding their offerings, putting Synaptics on the cusp of growth.

Highly rated CAPS All-Star member Capsperson believes the market has misread the quarterly results Synaptics posted, giving sharp investors a great buy-in opportunity:

I must be interpreting yesterday's earnings differently than other people. I see the 9% drop today as opportunity on a mediocre news day. Great balance sheet with the ability to turn an industry average gross profit margin into stellar net profits.

I've already voiced my opinion on the Synaptics CAPS page: I think emerging smartphone trends will have the touchscreen specialist outperforming the market averages. Why not touch down there yourself and tell us how you feel?

Value is what you get
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 tell us whether these stocks are as good a value as these investing legends think they are.

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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. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.