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 track the long-term performance of Wall Street's best and brightest -- and its worst and sorriest, too.
And speaking of the best ...
Yesterday was a joyous one in Mudville, as investors splattered by the market's recent decline finally got a hit. And some of the loudest cheering came from the camp over at mining equipment company Joy Global
Predicting that the "mining capex cycle" will "reinflat[e] after a shallower than anticipated trough in 2009," Broadpoint argued that Joy will come out a winner thanks to its "strong market position in all key geographies" and "leverage to the cycle will have a second leg as US coal capex recovers in 2011 and beyond." [Capex is short for capital expenditures.] Broadpoint's also optimistic about Joy competitor Bucyrus
Hold up! You said Broadpoint's a tech investor?
Broadpoint's tech cred is worth examining. It sports a spiffy ranking in the top 15% of investors we track here on Motley Fool CAPS.
Problem is, most of its success has been gained in the two primary sectors it covers -- Semiconductors and Software -- which don't contain Joy Global. Broadpoint boasts an above-average record in each sector, getting the majority of its guesses right, and simply walloping the market with its margins of outperformance, doing a combined 1,366 percentage points better than the S&P in semiconductors, and a combined 727 points better in software.
Unfortunately, while a fine company in its own right, Joy Global has yet to build the machine that can dig software or perfectly formed computer chips outta the ground.
Which is not to say that Broadpoint's necessarily wrong about Joy. I mean, I see the logic behind the buy rating here. The Gulf of Mexico oil rig disaster involving a BP
If it's not oil, it might as well be coal, and that bodes well for companies making excavating equipment, like Caterpillar
Buy the numbers
But at what price? This, in my humble, Foolish view is where Broadpoint's excavating argument runs into a ditch. On the one hand, sure, Joy Global doesn't look all that expensive at 12 times trailing earnings, which offers a small discount to Bucyrus stock (at 14 time), and a really, really big discount to Caterpillar (at 31 times). On the other hand, Joy doesn't look all that cheap, either.
Right now, most Wall Street analysts covering the stock have this company pegged for sub-9% growth going forward. The company pays a modest dividend to shareholders -- 1.4%. It generates more free cash flow than it reports as net income, but the difference is pretty negligible.
What it all adds up to for me is this: Joy Global is a great company with a bright future. But most of the company's prospects are already priced into the stock. So the stock is only fairly priced today. Worth owning. Worth holding. But not worth buying more.
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. 455 out of more than 165,000 members. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.