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 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 worst and sorriest, too.

And speaking of the best ...
Shares of cellular IP licensor Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) defied the slumping market yesterday, ending firmly in the "green." In doing so, the stock enjoyed a little help from certified tech analyst AmTech/JSA Research (with "tech" right there in the name, it has to be good, right?), which upgraded Qualcomm to "buy" on Wednesday.

Predicting that Qualcomm will (relatively) soon settle its long-running patent dispute with licensee Nokia (NYSE: NOK), AmTech/JSA foresees a double benefit for Qualcomm. First, an end to litigation means an end to paying lawyers to litigate -- and so, lower operating costs. Second, a successful settlement with the Finnish telecom giant could mean Qualcomm will begin to collect "upwards of 2 percent" royalties on sales of Nokia phones incorporating Qualcomm technology.

Investing in Qualcomm has always been a tricky business, as long-suffering shareholders can attest after watching their shares lose 20% or more of their value over the last two years. Before jumping up and down over AmTech/JSA's endorsement, therefore, let's take a quick look at the analyst's record and see if this analyst knows what it's talking about in the mobile devices arena.

Let's go to the tape
According to CAPS, AmTech/JSA boasts an 83.30 CAPS rating and a record of getting just over half its picks right -- admittedly, not an impressive start. The analyst has picked a handful of incredible winners...

Company

AmTech/JSA Said:

CAPS Says (out of 5):

AmTech/JSA's Pick Beating S&P by:

Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM)

Outperform

**

265 points

Navteq (NYSE: NVT)

Outperform

*****

130 points

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL)

Outperform

****

43 points

...but also its share of all-too-credible losers:

Company

AmTech/JSA Said:

CAPS Says (out of 5):

AmTech/JSA's Pick Lagging S&P by:

SiRF Technology (Nasdaq: SIRF)

Outperform

****

59 points

SanDisk

Outperform

****

33 points

Analog Devices (NYSE: ADI)

Outperform

****

3 points

So all in all, a bit of a mixed record at AmTech/JSA. Certainly not enough to convince this Fool that the analyst knows more about Qualcomm than any other investor. In fact, you could argue it knows less than some. The last time AmTech/JSA told people to buy Qualcomm, back in April 2007, the stock proceeded to underperform the market by 15 points. Ouch.

Foolish takeaway
Fortunately, I don't think AmTech/JSA needs any special expertise to call this one right. The way I look at it, Qualcomm's a pretty obvious buy right now. Selling for just less than 20 times trailing earnings and a similar multiple to free cash flow, the stock looks at worst fairly priced relative to growth expectations. At best, it's cheap. And if you throw in $7 billion in net cash, it's a steal.

Now, add to this even the possibility of an imminent cash flow infusion and reduced legal fees that would result from burying the hatchet with Nokia, and you've got yourself a cheap stock, a rock-solid balance sheet, and a clearly identifiable positive catalyst. Once that last piece falls into place, this stock could soar.

More wireless Foolishness:

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. Apple is a Stock Advisor recommendation. You can find him on CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he's currently ranked No. 860 out of more than 86,000 players. The Fool has a disclosure policy.