3 pricey stocks that are worth every penny

Everyone likes a bargain. But when it comes to investing, sometimes the pricey stocks are actually the better deal.

By InvestorPlace Nov 5, 2009 3:41PM
Louis NavellierBy Louis Navellier

When stock prices dropped precipitously earlier in the year, we saw many big-name companies fall to unbelievably cheap prices. Companies like Citigroup (C) and Ford (F) were trading for as little as $1 per share.

That got investors into the mentality of trying to amass huge quantities of super cheap stocks to make a killing when those stocks rebounded. Of course, the rebound was no guarantee. And any investor knows that whether a stock costs $2 or $200, the only thing that matters is will the price go up and by how much.

See Why These 7 Stocks Are Worth the Big Bucks

The fact is there are some fantastic companies out there trading for more than $100 per share, and it would be a shame to miss out on the gains they’ll produce just because they are priced higher than many other companies.

Here are three of my favorite stocks, and right now, they are all trading over $100 per share. Though these companies are “expensive,” I would much rather own a handful of shares in these powerhouses than scrounge in the bargain bins for scratch-and-dent penny stocks.

Pricey Stock #1 – Apple

With shares pushing $200 a piece, Apple (AAPL) clearly falls into the pricey stock category. But for my money, I would much rather own five shares of Apple than 500 shares of a two-buck dud. This company has real staying power and huge profit potential.

When Apple last reported earnings in October, the company reported a 46% increase in its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings, thanks to strong sales of iPhones, Mac computers and iPods. AAPL earned $1.67 billion, or $1.82 per share, on revenue of $9.87 billion. During the same period a year ago, Apple earned $1.14 billion, or $1.26 per share on $7.9 billion in sales. Apple's results topped forecasts of $1.42 per share on revenue of $9.2 billion with a stunning 28% earnings surprise and a 25% sales surprise.

It's easy to see why Apple is leading the tech revolution, from digital media distribution to smart phones to personal computing. The company's iPod and iTunes lead the digital music industry, and the iPhone is one of the hottest smart phones out there. AAPL also hasn't forgotten its personal computing roots and has cut into the dominance of Windows with its OS X operating system and fleet of Mac computers.

Sales of the iPhone have accelerated recently, so I expect Apple's earnings to gain momentum going forward. Even at almost $200, AAPL shares are a bargain right now.

Pricey Stock #2 – MasterCard

MasterCard (MA) is trading at over $200 per share, and the company is thriving right now even though many financial-related companies seem to be under pressure. That’s because MasterCard is so much more than just a credit card company, and the company has done a good job keeping expenses down and cashing in on fees instead of debt-related income.

At the beginning of November, MA reported higher-than-expected quarterly earnings after aggressively trimming marketing expenses and raising fees to banks. Specifically, MasterCard's third-quarter net income was $452 million, or $3.45 per share, compared with a loss of $194 million, or -$1.48 per share, a year earlier. Wall Street was looking for -$2.94 per share, tallying a 17% earnings surprise for this company.

This makes six quarters in a row that the company's earnings topped Wall Street’s forecasts significantly. Share prices continue to creep upwards, and I expect big things from MasterCard on the heels of this impressive quarterly report. Buy this stock.

Pricey Stock #3 – Intuitive Surgical

Health care powerhouse Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) is trading just shy of $250 per share, and it's a bargain at that price. This health care stock has weathered the recession marvelously and is in prime position for big growth in the months ahead.

In its recent earnings report, ISRG reported a rise in profit for its fiscal first quarter that ended September 30, reflecting an increase in revenues from all its segments. Specifically, profits came in at $1.64 per share, topping forecasts by double-digits. Net revenues also rose 20% to $280 million compared to last year, handily topping estimates estimate of $258 million.

I expect health care reforms to really boost this stock. But more importantly, I expect strong revenue growth and healthy margins to deliver continued success for ISRG in the months ahead. If shares are at $250 now, I expect them to push through $300 sometime in 2010.

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