It's hard to expect that Thursday's earnings from investment-banking firm Bear Stearns (NYSE:BSC) will be rosy. However, Tuesday's report from brother-in-arms Lehman Brothers (NYSE:LEH) at least showed that things could turn out better than dismal.

After the earnings are released, we'll have plenty of data to dig into. But before that happens, let's step back and see what investors think about Bear Stearns as a long-term investment. To gain this insight, I've tapped into Motley Fool CAPS, where more than 65,000 investors have united to offer their thoughts on more than 5,000 companies, Bear among them. Here's what Fools have to say about the company.

Up or down?
So far, the 469 investors who've weighed in on Bear have turned up their collective nose at the stock.

Roughly 56% of all players who've rated the company are bullish on it, which earns the stock a paltry single star, CAPS' lowest rating. When it comes to the CAPS All-Stars -- investors in the top 20% of all CAPS players -- it's even worse: 60% are bearish on the stock.

Among comparable companies, Bear finds itself at the bottom of the barrel.      


CAPS Rating

Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS)


JPMorgan Chase  (NYSE:JPM)


Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB)


Lehman Brothers


Merrill Lynch (NYSE:MER)


Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS)


Bear Stearns


Bull pitch
CAPS player Junkiam made a recent bullish pitch on Bear, admitting that he was bottom-fishing on the idea that after two of the firm's hedge funds collapsed, "emotion got the better of investors."

Bear pitch
On the bear side, floridabuilder doesn't plan to jump at the low PEG ratios from the investment banks. He expects that "you're going to see a lot of skeletons pop out related to bad land deals across the nation" and the "[housing] pain will be spread around this fall."

The Foolish last word
Bear, along with the rest of the major investment banks, is not in a particularly enviable position right now. Thursday's earnings should reveal more about what's currently behind Bear's curtain, but with financial markets still unsure which way is up, the banks are far hardly in the clear yet.

JPMorgan Chase is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. Discover our full Foolish list of market-beating dividend dynamos with a free 30-day trial subscription. 

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. The Fool's disclosure policy doesn't mess with bears -- they're nothing but trouble.