Ring, ring!

Ring, ring!

Will somebody please answer that? It's Motorola (NYSE:MOT) on the line, phoning in with some Q1 2007 earnings news due out tomorrow. I think we should take the call.

After the news comes out, we'll have time aplenty to dissect it. But in these few hours before we begin obsessing over Motorola's short-term progress, let's take a moment to review what investors think about it as a long-term investment. Our tool in this endeavor: Motley Fool CAPS, where we poll more than 26,000 investors for their views on well over 4,000 companies, Motorola among them. Here's what Fools have to say about the company.

Up or down?
More than 1,300 investors have submitted ratings on the company. The verdict: We're not picking up.

Although 84% of the CAPS investors who've rated the stock -- and 82% of our very best investors, the CAPS All-Stars, among them -- give Motorola a thumbs-up, the stock earns only two out of five possible stars under the CAPS rating system.

Yet when compared to its peer group on CAPS, Motorola seems little more unpopular than the average telecom equipment maker, sitting in the middle of the pack:

Communication Equipment Makers

CAPS Rating (out of five)

Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC)


Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM)


Nokia (NYSE:NOK)






Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU)




Wall Street vs. Main Street
When you ask the investors who supposedly know the most about investing -- Wall Street analysts -- those offering buy/sell opinions favor Motorola by a 2-to-1 margin. So the professionals seem more pessimistic than the average bear.

Little wonder -- when you examine the stock's performance over the last 52 weeks, you'll see that it has underperformed the market by more than 38 percentage points!

Brass tacks
Why all the pessimism among professionals? Why all the enthusiasm among ordinary investors? And why do these sentiments, when mixed together, yield a below-average rating on CAPS? We may find a few clues in the thoughts penned by CAPS players:

Bull pitch
Bulls on CAPS seem to like two things best about Motorola: its low P/E ratio (currently sitting at 12) and its Razr cell phone. One Motorola fan, writing in January, also praised the firm for its inroads into the low-priced cell phone market, basing an investment thesis in large part on an "ultra-low priced cell phone by 2008."

Bear pitch
But that's just the problem, isn't it? Low-priced phones bring low margins with them -- exactly why Motorola expects to report a loss tomorrow.

The top-rated bear pitch on CAPS practically seethes with outrage: "[T]his thing is a dog and will continue to be one until there are SERIOUS cost shake ups at the top and a management team that can actually do something right. I mean how can you have a [product like the RAZR]... and still find a way to screw up your margins!"

Who said that?
To learn the identities of the wise Fools who penned these words, and explore the plethora of additional financial data we've put together on the company, just click here.

Think you can pitch your favorite stock -- or ditch your least favorite one -- in 27 seconds or less? That's just what we're doing over at Motley Fool CAPS! Check out our new 27-second stock pitches.

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. You can find him on CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he's currently ranked 138th out of more than 27,000 raters. The Fool has a disclosure policy.