Are These High-Priced Stocks Worth Every Penny?

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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" -- stocks that trade for $100 or more -- yet if they're anything like Berkshire Hathaway they can trade in the four-, five-, and six-digit range, too.

A stock isn't a good buy just because it trades for pennies on the dollar, and a three-digit stock shouldn't scare you away just because it carries a hefty price tag. Regardless of how much it costs, it always comes down to whether the business is well-run. We can also check-in with the smart set at Motley Fool CAPS to see which high-priced honeys earn the greatest confidence from the investor community.

Yet simply 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.


Highfalutin' honeys
The euphoria of its latest earnings results and the pending IPO of Facebook seem to be weighing on shares of professional networking site LinkedIn (NYS: LNKD) . Despite a strong showing in its first-quarter report, in which revenue and profits more than doubled, LinkedIn's shares have fallen from the $123 mark hit just last week. Since then, the stock has slid as much as 15% and Motley Fool blogger Erin McBride thinks it's just the beginning.

Before investing, ask yourself how often you are active on the site? Are you taking advantage of all it has to offer? Or do the numbers surprise you because you can't recall the last time you used the site?

Its employment division is taking the challenge directly to Monster Worldwide (NYS: MWW) . Likewise, its purchase of SlideShare for $119 million, the so-called YouTube of slideshow presentations, is a step forward in engaging its members. Still, with Mark Zuckerberg paying $1 billion for Instagram -- a company with no revenues -- for his Facebook portfolio, and Zynga (NAS: ZNGA) paying $180 million for Draw Something, are we seeing another Internet bubble in the making? Analysts wonder whether it's a sign of decelerating growth that companies have to make these purchases that may ultimately hurt performance.

Fewer than one in five CAPS members rating LinkedIn don't think it's worth the money being asked but LoudJamie believes the halo effect from Facebook will keep it afloat awhile longer, particularly as operational performance is improving. Add the business networking leader to your watchlist and then let us know on the LinkedIn CAPS page or in the comments section below whether you agree the pullback in price won't be permanent.

Walk this way
When companies can't compete in the marketplace, they often try to beat their opponents in the courtroom or the halls of Congress. This could be why athletic-shoe maker New Balance wants President Barack Obama to keep trade tariffs on shoes in place, particularly from Vietnam, despite the fact 99% of all shoes sold in the U.S. come from somewhere else.

It's not that New Balance's shoes are "American made" -- three-quarters of its shoes come from Indonesia and China with a good portion of the rest made elsewhere -- it's that rivals Adidas and Nike (NYS: NKE) have a large part of their shoes made in Vietnam. New Balance may employ some 1,200 Americans to assemble its shoes, but its rivals together employ 27,000 Americans.

As labor costs in China soar, many manufacturers are looking for other low-paid workers to make their goods for them. Vietnam was one choice for Coach and others are looking to Malaysia, Thailand, and elsewhere.

Nike has used its position to improve its operations significantly. While the markets have rewarded the apparel maker with a lofty valuation, it's not nearly so outrageous when put up against Under Armour or lululemon athletica (NAS: LULU) . In fact, the swoosh was trading at 20 times forward earnings versus frothy multiples of 40 and 46 for Under Armour and Lululemon, respectively.

Like LinkedIn, shares of Nike have pulled back from their peaks, though by a lower percentage so far. I'm willing to bet they'll turn and run higher once again, so I've rated it to outperform on CAPS. murda101 believes its NFL deal will be a lucrative one, and as it turns on the cash machine cranking out old and new styles he sees it beating the Street going forward. Tell me in the comments section if you think the stock still has legs, then add Nike to the Fool's free portfolio tracker.

Count to 10
Both of these companies are set on conquering new worlds to spur growth. For ideas on other great international companies, check out The Motley Fool's free report "3 American Companies Set to Dominate the World." You'll receive access to detailed analysis of some outsized opportunities you may not have yet considered.

At the time this article was published Fool contributor Rich Duprey owns shares of Nike, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of LinkedIn, lululemon athletica, and Under Armour. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Adidas, Under Armour, LinkedIn, lululemon athletica, Nike, and Coach. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a diagonal call position in Nike. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Copyright © 1995 - 2012 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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