A Big Upgrade for Ford

Every day, the sun rises on Wall Street and a plethora of professional analysts wake to issue new opinions on stocks. Here at the Fool, we examine some of those picks -- and the track record of the companies behind them -- so individuals can make better investing decisions.

Motley Fool CAPS tracks professional institutions and stock pickers, but anyone can use it. In fact, more than 100,000 investors have served up their opinions so far, and many of them demonstrate better investing insight than the widely published analysts offer.

In the case of Ford (NYSE: F  ) , enough investors have recently changed their stance on the U.S. automaker to lift the company from its bottom dwelling one-star rank to a more palatable two stars, with 58% of the 4,624 investors rating the company now bullish.  

Ford's latest earnings surprise probably did its part in persuading many investors to look under the hood again and consider that a sustained turnaround in the automaker may be real. Ford was able to generate a $100 million profit in the quarter, even though sales still lagged GM (NYSE: GM  ) and top global seller Toyota (NYSE: TM  ) . The company reported that it saved $1.7 billion from cost reductions in the quarter and agreed to offload the Jaguar and Land Rover line to India's Tata Motors (NYSE: TTM  ) . Although much work remains ahead for Ford, the positive news helped change the mind of one analyst and has even attracted renewed attention from billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian.

I think Ford's decision to include Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) new Nuance (Nasdaq: NUAN  ) -powered Sync voice control system in some 2008 models will help improve the Ford appeal dramatically. Offering it in tandem with other desirable add-ons such as Garmin (Nasdaq: GRMN  ) navigation products will also help the company compete in a complementary-services market that GM's OnStar once ruled. Taken all together, I agree with many of the recent converts that there may be more legroom for Ford on the upside than on the downside.

But mine is only one opinion among thousands. To see what the very best CAPS analysts are saying now about Ford -- as well as about other winning stocks they're picking -- head on over to CAPS and have a look. The community research and resources in CAPS are totally free, unlike analyst opinions that are reserved for paying clients.

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