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." So you might think we'd be the last people to give virtual ink to such "news." And we would be -- if that were all we were doing.

But in "This Just In," we don't simply tell you what the analysts said. We'll also show you whether they know what they're talking about. To help, we've enlisted Motley Fool CAPS, our tool for rating stocks and analysts alike. With CAPS, we'll be tracking the long-term performance of Wall Street's best and brightest -- and its worst and sorriest, too.

And speaking of the best ...
Like a good parent to us young'uns, JPMorgan took a peek under Bed Bath & Beyond (Nasdaq: BBBY) this morning and pronounced, with parental authority: "There are no more monsters. It's safe to stay in bed." Or, in its own words, the "near-term downward catalysts" have already happened (and how!), so the stock no longer carries significant downside risk.

The downward catalysts in question were the company's earnings report last week and its earnings warning about the current quarter. As we discussed on Friday, Bed Bath & Beyond just barely hit analysts' consensus expectations last quarter, but it expects to miss them in the current quarter. So JP's certainly right on the facts. The question is: How likely is JP to be right about the future?

Let's go to the tape
At first glance, you might not think JP's right on this one. While the firm boasts a CAPS rating that puts it in the top 20% of investors, it also has a record of getting just less than half of its picks right. For example, while it got these retail picks right ...

Company

JP Said:

CAPS Says (Out of 5):

JP's Pick Beating S&P by:

GameStop (NYSE: GME)

Outperform

*****

48 points

Dollar Tree (Nasdaq: DLTR)

Underperform

**

30 points

Family Dollar (NYSE: FDO)

Underperform

**

30 points

... JP also got these very wrong:

Company

JP Said:

CAPS Says:

JP's Pick Lagging S&P by:

Columbia Sportswear

(Nasdaq: COLM)

Outperform

****

32 points

Home Depot (NYSE: HD)

Outperform

**

31 points

Lowe's (NYSE: LOW)

Outperform

**

25 points

Foolish takeaway
Seems to me that JP's record in retail is about as hit-or-miss as its record generally. But let's get specific for a moment. The last time JP assigned a rating to Bed Bath & Beyond, it handed out an "underweight" call. That was in November 2006, and the analyst was right on the money, with a call that netted it 35 points' worth of market outperformance through this morning's upgrade to "neutral."

So it appears that JP knows what it's talking about with this retailer. Moreover, as I explained last week, Bed Bath & Beyond looks attractively priced when compared with most of its major rivals, is growing more quickly than these rivals, and sells for a price-to-earnings ratio lower than its projected profits growth rate over the next five years.

From where I sit (safely out of the stock, mind you), the pros outweigh the cons on this one, and JP's "neutral" call looks right. Fact of the matter is, I wouldn't even be averse to seeing a buy rating hung on Bed Bath & Beyond at this price.

Do the folks at Motley Fool Stock Advisor agree? They've recommended the stock in the past. Find out whether they would do so again today when you claim your free, 30-day trial to the newsletter service.

Bed Bath & Beyond is also a recommendation of Inside Value (where you can also find Home Depot), and The Motley Fool owns some of its shares. Columbia Sportswear is a choice at Motley Fool Hidden Gems, and GameStop is another Stock Advisor selection.

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 ranked No. 1,831 out of more than 80,000 players. The Fool has a disclosure policy.