Just two months after stunning the critics with an unexpected (but shouldn't they all be?) "earnings beat" last quarter, electronics retailer extraordinaire Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) returns to the Street tomorrow morning with further earnings news. That's right, stock shoppers -- it's time for the first-quarter 2008 report.

After the news comes out, we'll have time aplenty to dissect it. But in these few hours before we begin obsessing over Best Buy'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 30,000 investors for their views on well over 4,000 companies, Best Buy among them. Here's what Fools have to say about it.

Up or down?
Well over 1,100 investors have submitted ratings on Best Buy. Their verdict: "Hmm. Maybe not 'Best' -- how does 'OK Buy' grab you?"

Ninety-one percent of CAPS investors expect Best Buy to outperform the market, but the very best investors -- our CAPS All-Stars -- feel more reticent, giving the stock "just" 88% approval. Perhaps it's that reticence that relegates Best Buy to the category of "three-star stock," out of five stars possible on CAPS.

Within its CAPS-designated industry subgroup, Best Buy places third:

Electronics Stores Group

CAPS Rating



GameStop (NYSE:GME)


Best Buy


Circuit City (NYSE:CC)


Rex Stores (NYSE:RSC)


RadioShack (NYSE:RSH)


Wall Street vs. Main Street
While just third in the hearts of CAPS investors, Best Buy is first in the hearts of Wall Street (and you thought it didn't even have a heart!). According to 13 of the analysts we track on CAPS, Best Buy will outperform the market going forward. Which is kind of strange, when you notice that over the last 52 weeks, the stock has in fact underperformed the S&P 500 by more than 33 percentage points.

Bull pitch
The Fool's own TMFLomax authored the top-ranked CAPS pitch in favor of Best Buy. Here's what she has to say: "Stores like Circuit City and RadioShack don't tend to do much in the way of customer service, at least in my experience ... I like Best Buy's innovative customer-centric approach. It seems like right now, with price wars going on, investors are very down on Best Buy, but I think for the long term this company is fine (especially if it's taking market share)."

Bear pitch
Bears take a more macro tone in dissing Best Buy, with most arguments citing spillover effects from the housing industry as destined to take Best Buy down. One of our All-Stars encapsulates the argument thusly: "Market/housing slump=decrease in consumer confidence=decrease in electronics, luxury goods, etc."

One of our non-All-Star investors breaks with the herd on this one, though, and voices a more interesting bearish musing: "BBY growth opportunities are reaching the limit of their potential. CDs and DVDs will become more a thing of the past with on-line on-demand services." 

Who said that?
Who is this free-thinking bear? And who's the mysterious All-Star who durst contradict the Fool's reigning queen of retail? To learn the identities of the two wise Fools, and explore the plethora of additional financial data we've put together on Best Buy, just click here.

Best Buy and GameStop are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. Claim your free 30-day trial to the service by following this link.

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 779 out of more than 30,000 raters. The Fool has a disclosure policy.