Here at The Motley Fool, we always encourage our readers to listen carefully to both sides of any stock story -- the bull case and the bear case. That way, investors have the very best chance to make informed and objective decisions.

It's that kind of philosophy that inspired the creation of our Dueling Fools column and award-winning discussion boards. It also gives our analysts the freedom to disagree (sometimes vehemently!) with one another. Oh, yeah, it has even started a few Foolish fights.

So with that in mind, I'm going to highlight two closely contested "investment debates" taking place over in our Motley Fool CAPS community. Unlike a stock such as Costco (NASDAQ:COST), which enjoys lopsided support from the bulls, the stocks I highlight here also have their fair share of bearish detractors.

The great stock debates
So, without further ado, this week's two stock skirmishes involve:


CAPS Rating
(out of 5 stars)



Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM)




Ford Motor (NYSE:F)




Motion sickness
Bipolar stocks like Research In Motion are some of my favorite ones to research. When the pros and cons of a stock are clearly laid out and adamantly expressed among members of the investment community, you can figure out much more efficiently which side is being the most reasonable.

The general sentiment out of the bull camp is that Research In Motion's proven knack for innovation, its market-leading BlackBerry platform, and its tremendous growth prospects within the wireless communications space make it a truly mouthwatering investment opportunity.

Here is what some of our bullish CAPS All-Stars have to say about RIMM:

  • TheDeadFather: "They built their foundation and integrity in the business category and are only now branching out to the masses with cameras, MP3, and other appealing options on their devices."

  • Idykeman: "Pearl product is RIMM's answer to the consumer side of hand-held. Up to now RIMM has been primarily used in business applications."

  • theknife251: "Great company, well managed; executives have sizeable stakes in the company, consistently deliver, and innovate."

Yet despite those strong arguments, there are many bears in our community who cite nosebleed valuation levels, questionable management practices, and intense competition from the likes of Palm (NASDAQ:PALM) and Motorola (NYSE:MOT) as warning signs to stay away from RIMM's shares.

Listed here is some of the criticism that bearish CAPS All-Stars have thrown RIMM's way:

  • theditherer: "Just plain overpriced, given the competitive threats and their dependence on one product; betting against RIMM is a bet that they will NOT establish iPod-like dominance."

  • ToddTracy: "If the future growth slips even a few %, it has a huge effect on the price of the stock. If these guys ever miss, even slightly, the repercussions will be dire."

  • daskol: "Someone else is going to figure out how to do wireless push email. These competitors will eat away at RIMM's margins, and the new technology will likely be platform/device agnostic. BlackBerries are not iPods."

So which side do you tend to agree with? As for me, I've given an underperform rating to Research In Motion, in betting that the shares are priced way beyond perfection.

Of course, if you believe RIMM's market potential is more than enough to beat current expectations, feel free to give the company an outperform rating. Only time -- and CAPS -- will tell us who's right.

Can Ford refocus?
One more bipolar stock that our CAPS community can't seem to agree on is Ford Motor, another of Detroit's struggling automakers.

The bullish sentiment around Ford is that significant restructuring initiatives, a venture into hybrid technologies, and the turnaround expertise of CEO Allan Mulally will provide the spark that finally reverses the company's fortunes.

Here are three CAPS All-Stars who are quite optimistic about Ford's prospects.

  • millionairefools: "Now, the Boeing turnaround hero is at helm; Ford is being very public about accepting its shortcomings and that's very good news. I am sure that within 3-5 years they will come alive and kicking."

  • FocusInvestor40: "Ford still has great brands. Now that the company feels the pain and the future is at stake, the product development integration can happen with less resistance. This American icon is not going away anytime soon."

  • KDOV: "They have already started their comeback, and nobody except egotistical me has seen it."

But of course, this wouldn't be much of a stock battle if the entire picture were rosy. In fact, many bears consider it downright ugly. They cite decreased demand for Ford's brands, intense foreign competition, rising fuel costs, and a massive debt load as fairly serious (and obvious) red flags.

Here is part of the reason why many CAPS All-Stars are so negative about Ford's future.

  • kristm: "It's going to take major, major surgery to fix this one. Unless Ford can sell off some investments, improve quality/style, and get out from under the labor unions, it's going to have a very limited future."

  • theditherer: "The dividend is gone, massive losses stretch into the future as far as the eye can see; high production costs including pension and healthcare legacies, dependence on trucks and SUVs that are going out of favor."

  • GGGilmore: "Government bailout or bankruptcy is in their future."

So what's your take on this stock debate, Fool? I've placed an outperform rating on Ford, because I believe the stock is just too cheap for an owner of the Mazda, Lincoln, Land Rover, and Aston Martin brands.

Again, if you think I'm off my rocker and see a bleak future for this automaker, then feel free to join the Ford bears in their den. CAPS will let us know who's getting the best of this bet over time.

But what's your opinion, Fool?
There you have it, Fools. The competition regarding these two stocks will only get more intense over time and probably needs an investor like you to finally tip the scales in one direction.

Be sure to join us next week, when I'll feature two more rip-roaring investment battles. Until then, have a blast in CAPS land. Whether you're a bear or a bull, your investment attack always counts.

Fool contributor Brian Pacampara never backs down from watching a good fight on TV but holds no position in any of the companies mentioned. Costco and Palm are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. The Fool's disclosure policy is always a unanimous winner.