Newsflash: At The Motley Fool, we're not huge fans of Wall Street.
Whatever the reason, we Foolishly believe that Joe and Jane Investor can pick stocks just as well as Nigel and Vivian CFA. That's why we created Motley Fool CAPS, harnessing the small-w wisdom of the capital-F Foolish crowd to pick the winners of tomorrow. Problem is, not everyone is pulling his or her weight.
For the most part, the 86,000 investors currently on CAPS are telling us what we already know: ConocoPhillips
Thanks for playing. No, really!
Not that we don't appreciate the effort. We do. But today, I'm asking you to broaden your horizons. We still have literally hundreds of stocks out there in CAPS-land that lack the 10 ratings necessary to earn a CAPS "star" rating.
Where you come in
I'd like to introduce you to just three of these hundreds. If you know the companies in question, please take a moment to tell us whether you want to hug them or jug them, and why. It's really as simple as that. This week, we're running a special on tiny regional banks. There's more of them than you can shake a stick at, and we need your help rating as many as possible.
Farmers Capital Bank
First up, Frankfort, Ky.-based Farmers Capital Bank, which provides basic banking services out of 35 branches in central and northern Kentucky. It's not a particularly good bank, earning a return on assets of just 0.8%, a return on equity of less than 9%, and "underperform" ratings from more than half of the investors who've looked at it. But hey, at least Farmers Capital is cheap. This stock sells for just a little more than tangible book value. Is that cheap enough?
Turning our eyes northeastward for a moment, our next banker is Rockville Financial. While confining its operations to two counties in Connecticut, Rockville blankets this territory in 19 (count them, 19) branches. And if that isn't enough for you, it also has nearly three dozen ATMs to choose from. Heck, with convenience like that, maybe you won't mind the firm's 4.5% return on equity, and 0.6% return on assets? Or maybe you will.
Hmm. Seems cold up north. Let's head back south, where we find the holding company for City National Bank operating a much larger operation in West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky -- 67 branches in all, plus ATMs, and even online banking! Even better, this bank boasts more respectable numbers than its Yankee counterpart: a return on assets of better than 2% and a 17% return on equity. Yet City Holding is priced at a bit more than two times book. CAPS players aren't entirely convinced that this is the whole story, though. Although the stock garners seven outperform ratings, two Fools insist on panning it. Maybe you can set them straight.
Share your investing mojo
Each of the above stocks currently falls just one vote short of earning its CAPS stars. That means that with a click of your mouse, you can provide the deciding vote that puts any one of these stocks into the land of stars and lets everyone else on CAPS know whether it's ready to trounce the market or trip over its own feet.
Once again, our candidates are:
Give 'em some love, people.
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. 722 out of more than 86,000 players. The Fool has a disclosure policy.