People watch stocks for different reasons -- they're waiting for a dip in price, watching for a specific catalyst, gathering all the news and information that might affect stocks they already own, or considering a sell. Regardless of their motivation, we can better understand market sentiment by seeing who's watching what. With the Fool's free My Watchlist service, we have tens of thousands of people telling us the businesses that have, for whatever reason, piqued their interest.
With this data we have come up with a new metric, watch interest, to inform investors what stocks their peers keep tabs on in each industry. In the case of the solar industry, watch interest is the percentage of people keeping an eye on solar stocks in general who are specifically watching each company. By looking at what stocks people are most interested in an industry, you can get ahead of the curve by finding hot stocks that you might have otherwise overlooked. The industry has been suffering from drops in demand and a boost in supply, leading to a devastating summer for most solar companies.
The most-watched solar stock is...
Looking at the aggregate data, we see that JA Solar (NAS: JASO) is above the rest in terms of watch interest and for good reason. As CAPS player TMFUltraLong wrote in June:
JA Solar, and the entire solar sector for that matter, gets absolutely no respect. What I appreciate from JA Solar is the fact that the company works on getting its contracts filled well in advance. In 2011 more than 90% of its contracts are worked out. This may lead to some disadvantages margins on occasion, but I'll take my chances with guaranteed cash flow any day than running into a lights out scenario like that which we saw at Evergreen Solar.
Here are the rest of the top 10 most-watched companies in the industry with their watch interest along with the stocks' CAPS rating to show the sentiment of our investing community.
Market Cap (millions)
CAPS Rating (out of 5)
First Solar (NAS: FSLR)
Suntech Power (NYS: STP)
LDK Solar (NYS: LDK)
SunPower (NAS: SPWRA)
ReneSola (NYS: SOL)
GT Solar International (NAS: SOLR)
Trina Solar (NYS: TSL)
Yingli Green Energy (NYS: YGE)
MEMC Electronic Materials (NYS: WFR)
Source: Motley Fool, Motley Fool CAPS.
Whether you're keeping an eye on the industry stalwarts like First Solar or are watching an up-and-comer like JA Solar, it pays to watch. We can help you keep tabs on your companies with My Watchlist, our free, personalized stock tracking service. Click here to start now.
At the time thisarticle was published Dan Dzombak'smusings and articles he finds interesting can be found on his Twitter account:@DanDzombak.Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of First Solar. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.
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