At The Motley Fool, we poke plenty of fun at Wall Street analysts and their endless cycle of upgrades, downgrades, and "initiating coverage at neutral." In our recurring column, "This Just In," we cover the most headline-worthy upgrades and downgrades, testing the analysts' logic and examining their records to help you decide whether they're worth listening to at all. And in "Get to Know a Guru," we use upgrade and downgrade news as a springboard to introduce you to some of the lesser-known names in analyst-land. Up this week: Janco Partners.

Profiles in punditry
XM Satellite Radio (NASDAQ:XMSR) tracked the market's trajectory (down) on Friday. This despite reporting a narrowed loss for the second quarter on Thursday, and getting an upgrade to "buy" from Janco Partners on Friday.

What's that, you say? You knew about the earnings report, but haven't heard of Janco? Well join the club. Prior to the XM upgrade, Janco hadn't shown up on my radar either (although other Fools have noticed it). But I must say, now that the company has got my attention, I'm glad it has. Turns out this little-known Colorado firm is one of Wall Street's Best (figuratively speaking), and definitely worth getting to know a little better.

So who is Janco Partners, anyway?
Based in Greenwood Village, Colo., Janco provides investment banking and financial advisory services to institutional and high-net-worth individual investors. The bank tends to focus on a single industry -- telecom -- but also covers media and entertainment stocks, and the occasional "special situation" stock if it happens to be "located in the Rocky Mountain Region."

That last category may sound a little sparse, but a check of Janco's website reveals that it's got four such special situations under the spotlight, including such familiar names as EarthLink and iPass.

Are these guys any good?
But enough about the firm's biography. What we really want to know about is its resume. I mentioned earlier that Janco is one of "Wall Street's Best." That's not just a personal opinion. Thanks to some heavy-duty data-crunching by the supercomputers at Motley Fool CAPS, we've got hard numbers to back up that statement. Numbers like a 58% accuracy rating, a CAPS rank in the top 10% of investment professionals, and the top 5% of CAPS players overall. 

Reviewing the bank's record, we find notable successes ...

Janco Says:

CAPS Says:

Janco's Pick Beating S&P by:

GameStop (NYSE:GME)



64 points

Qwest (NYSE:Q)



13 points

Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF)



2 points

... as well as a handful of failures that are keeping the company's accuracy rating below 60%:

Janco Says:

CAPS ays:

Janco's Pick Lagging S&P by:

Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS)



19 points




14 points




2 points

Meanwhile, back at XM Satellite Radio
Perhaps the record that will most interest XM investors is Janco's record on XM itself because we actually have not one but two Janco picks of the company on file. The active pick is the "buy" rating that Janco awarded XM on Friday. But we also have Janco down for another buy rating of the stock, issued in December of last year and terminated in February 2007.

How did Janco do? Sadly, it underperformed the market -- but by only three percentage points. In contrast, when Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommended XM in November 2005, we wound up selling one year later for a 50% loss. Ouch! (However, to paraphrase the old saying: "Better late than later," the stock lost a further 26% after we advised selling it.)

Roll tape
Will Janco's enviable CAPS rank survive its repeat pick of a stock that burned it (and us) in the past? Go to Motley Fool CAPS, click the "Add TrackJanco as a favorite" button, and you'll be able to check back in a few months to find out. I know I'm going to.

Meanwhile, if you've got an opinion on whether Janco's making a Foolish, or a boneheaded call in endorsing a stock that just canned its CEO, you can make your thoughts known by posting a pitch right here.

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 No. 759 out of more than 60,000 players. Gamestop and Electronic Arts are Motley Fool Stock Advisor newsletter recommendations. The Fool has a disclosure policy.