5 Stocks With Widespread Bullish Sentiment

Pssst! Hey, buddy! I’ve got a sure thing for you.

Wait a second! Red flag. As Benjamin Franklin himself taught us, "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." Because the future performance of any stock cannot be known, no advisor can responsibly offer a sure thing. Where, then, can a risk-averse Fool turn for sound advice? Using the full range of resources available at The Motley Fool, investors can identify those stocks about which countless individual opinions converge to form a consensus.

True consensus of sentiment, where contrarian opinions can scarcely be found, does not come along every day on Wall Street. Where such agreement can be found, Fools may encounter a very intriguing starting point for further research. Using the innovative Stock Screener tool at Motley Fool CAPS, I have located five stocks that have garnered overwhelmingly bullish sentiment. To help ensure these stocks are resilient to overall market weakness, I searched for only those stocks that have gained more than 50% since last year. Here is the full list of search criteria I used:

  • CAPS rating of five stars (out of five)
  • At least 500 outperform picks by CAPS players
  • At least 250 outperform picks by CAPS All-Stars, and fewer than 10 underperform ratings
  • At least five outperform picks by Wall Street players, and zero underperforms
  • Share price appreciation of at least 50% over the last 52 weeks
  • Trading within 20% of its 52-week high

Below are five of the stocks identified by this CAPS stock screen:

Company

Share Price

All-Star Outperforms

Wall Street Outperforms

52-Week Price Change

Atwood Oceanics (NYSE: ATW  )

$54.35

654

9

52.4%

Helmerich Payne (NYSE: HP  )

$67.50

464

10

86%

Bucyrus International (NYSE: BUCY  )

$65.11

396

10

66.2%

Quicksilver Resources (NYSE: KWK  )

$36.52

306

13

59.5%

Southwestern Energy (NYSE: SWN  )

$42.64

309

8

89.7%

Data from Motley Fool CAPS and Yahoo! Finance as of July 11, 2008. Price change from July 13, 2007, through July 11, 2008.

Note that this is just a list of ideas for further due diligence, not formal recommendations. That said, however: Interestingly, every one of these companies relates to natural resource extraction. Four are directly involved in oil and gas production, while one makes mining equipment used for coal mining, oil sands, etc. Given the distinct lack of consensus within the markets as to where energy prices will go from here, what is it about these particular companies that has CAPS All-Stars and Wall Street analysts both singing their praises? Let’s take a closer look.

A dip in the ocean, anyone?
Wherever I look, I cannot find anyone willing to say a bad word about midwater offshore drilling rig operator Atwood Oceanics. My colleague Toby Shute looked deep into this company last year to find the truth behind the hype, and in February hopped aboard the crowded ship of Atwood supporters.

Of the nine Wall Street players rating Atwood an outperform, six have earned the rank of CAPS All-Stars. When Ken Heebner of CGM Capital Development rates a stock to outperform, Fools would do well to take note. With a 99.64 rating, this Wall Street guru has out-picked all 170 of his professional colleagues.

For his part, CAPS All-Star Guardian21 likes the longer-term contracts the offshore drillers are entering into: "[I]t appears that their once cyclical earnings are now becoming more stable, as these drillers continue to lock in long term contracts for their services."

Last month, fellow Fool Rich Smith found the bullish case for Atwood Oceanics to be ironclad, even better than that for competitor Nabors Industries (NYSE: NBR  ) . Given the consensus of bullish sentiment for Atwood Oceanics, from Wall Street to Main Street, I can find no reason to disagree.

Can I dig up some dirt on Bucyrus?
After watching the company’s backlogged sale orders stack up to a whopping $2 billion last quarter, I stepped firmly into the bullish camp for Bucyrus International. As it turns out, I am hardly alone. CAPS All-Star ww2004 had summarized the bull case very simply:

World demand will continue to drive mining for the next several years. These guys provide the equipment to do it, the classic method to make money in mining. The order back log is 2 years. Their business is global.

Not only does the very same Ken Heebner also dig Bucyrus, but nine of his colleagues, 818 CAPS players, and this Fool are all in full agreement. As I mentioned last month, you can't dig without a shovel, and the mining industry is lining up to buy Bucyrus' goods. In my opinion, the fact that Bucyrus is actively expanding production capacity during this period of unprecedented demand makes the bull case for Bucyrus as formidable as one of its 135-ton mining shovels.

Now that you know what everyone else thinks about these stocks, we’d like to know what you think. Dig your way into Motley Fool CAPS and share your perspective today.

Further Foolishness:

Atwood is a recommendation of our Stock Advisor newsletter service. To find out why, pick up a free 30-day trial.

Fool contributor Christopher Barker captains yachts and writes about stocks. He can also be found blogging actively and acting Foolishly within the CAPS community under the username TMFSinchiruna. He owns no shares in the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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