Where to, Lehman? Here's Where.

This subject is probably today's curio -- today's drive-by-shooting fascination for those who spiritually direct their Schadenfreude Wall Street's way.

Where to, Lehman Brothers (NYSE: LEH  ) ? The answer is very simple, if you listen to the world's greatest investment community at Motley Fool CAPS: The stock is going down. Further.

Here and now
Lehman is a one-star stock today, right here, right now. I'm not referring to a one-star stock rating derived from some stale brokerage firm report issued last December. I'm not looking at a back issue of Value Line. I'm looking at Motley Fool CAPS as of 11:15 a.m. EDT, Monday, March 17. (Happy St. Patrick's Day, Fools.)

Motley Fool CAPS, nearly 100,000 smart investors strong, features the collective intelligence of the world's greatest investing community, freshly contributed, updated, ranked, and scored every 15 minutes. So let me make it clear, with Lehman stock around $32 as I write this: I'm looking right here, right now, this hour. We are saying: Relative to the S&P 500, Lehman's stock is going down.

Back then
Lehman Brothers Holdings has been a one-star or two-star stock as far back as our data goes. In a simple system where five stars says you beat the market, three stars says you perform at or near the S&P 500, and one star says you lose to the market, Lehman has not been favored to beat the S&P 500 by the smart money at The Motley Fool at any time in recent memory.

Remember, Motley Fool CAPS' star rankings are based on the best intelligence of the best performers -- whoever has been most right most of the time over the extended past sets the tone for our ratings. Let's take a quick look at the numbers.

The cream of CAPS' call
As of this hour, looking among just the top 1% of all Motley Fool community members -- the equivalent of those who are in the 99th percentile on their SATs, except these are the investing SATs -- there are 62 bears and just 16 bulls. The 62 bears include SpecBear and cipostripes, who are the No. 1 and No. 2 Fools in the entire system.

Both of them called "underperform." But not today; they were not band-wagoning onto Wall Street firms who are downgrading Lehman. Nope. Both of them put a big red thumb down on Lehman last August -- and they have subsequently seen the shares cut in half or more. They are leaving their Lehman thumbs red.

And Wall Street says ...
One of the great features of Motley Fool CAPS is that the system takes in all Wall Street analyst opinions and famous investor opinions, as well. And what a marked contrast between them and the Fool community. Credit Suisse (NYSE: CS  ) , Wachovia (NYSE: WB  ) , Deutsch Securities, David Dreman, and others -- in fact, all 11 professionals who gave an opinion -- show outperform ratings for Lehman's stock. And they've all been wrong, each down at least 45% with their calls.

You say you want to look to the "professionals" for your stock market advice? Be our guest, but don't say we didn't warn you.

CAPS and you
Are you using Motley Fool CAPS as your go-to resource before you buy or sell your next stock? Our community intelligence has consistently helped investors pick winners and (just as important) avoid losers. In a world that is presently asking, "Where to, Lehman?" we have a simple and straightforward answer, that is updated every 15 minutes, and hasn't changed for months.

Listen to Wall Street if you like. But my money is on Motley Fool CAPS. In fact, I just put my own underperform rating on the stock in conjunction with publishing this article, because we at the Fool believe in taking a stand and backing up our words with actions. So: Wall Street has Lehman as a winner, we at the Fool are saying it's a loser.

One last point. Of Lehman's major competitors, the only other one showing a one-star ranking in CAPS right now is Merrill Lynch (NYSE: MER  ) . Only time will tell if that means Merrill's stock will also continue downward.

Here's a direct link to our Lehman Bros. stock home page at Fool.com (scroll down to the bottom to find Wall Street players), here's a direct link to my own CAPS scorecard (with my freshly picked underperform rating on Lehman starting at $30.50), and here's a direct link to how you can get started at Motley Fool CAPS.


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