Over the past week or so, we've been looking at specific industries -- from software to mining to biotech -- to determine the companies that are piquing the largest percentage of interest among users of My Watchlist. Today we're able to single out the one company in all of Fooldom that is garnering the most attention.

People watch stocks for different reasons – they're waiting for a dip in price, watching for a specific catalyst, gathering all the news and information that might affect stocks they already own, or considering a sell. Regardless of their motivation, we can better understand market sentiment by seeing who's watching what. With the Fool's free My Watchlist service now three months old, we have tens of thousands of people telling us the businesses that have, for whatever reason, piqued their interest.

And the most-watched stocks are …
Well, before we name the most-watched stock, one caveat. David and Tom Gardner carry a hefty amount of sway around these parts, so it's no surprise that their formal recommendations from Stock Advisor make up an oversized chunk of our most-watched list. So, in order to limit that bias (and to avoid divulging a bunch of their premium service's portfolio), we're only going to unveil one Stock Advisor recommendation -- the No. 1 on our list. All the others listed below are among the top 20 in terms of watch interest -- that is, the percentage of people who have created a watchlist who are specifically watching each company.

Our finalists for the most-watched stock are …
For all the excitement small caps and rule breakers garner for their huge potential as companies and as stocks, it’s the giant, steady stalwarts that appear on most investors' watchlists.

"In general, blue chips are blue chips for a reason. They’re generally the most widely held, so they’re going to be watched by the largest percentage of investors," says Motley Fool Million Dollar Portfolio advisor Ron Gross. "That's always true, and it’s even more the case today when conventional wisdom holds that stable, dividend-paying companies are the place to be."

Here are the five non-Stock Advisor companies listed among the most-watched top 20 along with their stocks' CAPS rating to show the sentiment of our free investing community.


Market Cap
(in Millions)

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

General Electric (NYSE: GE) $195,194 ****
Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) $239,640 ***
Citigroup (NYSE: C) $138,857 ***
Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) $191,520 ***
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) $170,405 *****

We created MyWatchlist.com in the heart of the market’s troubled times and safe, strong, consistent earners like these five are perhaps even more appealing to whiplashed and gun-shy investors than they might normally be. And it’s not just their perceived security that’s making investors watch.

"Megacap blue chips like these are well-followed by both Wall Street and Main Street, so we wouldn't normally expect them to blow the doors off the market, but things aren't normal," Fool analyst Nate Weisshaar recently wrote about J&J and others of its ilk. "Times of market volatility provide opportunities to snatch up these stalwarts at discount prices, and the safe dividend provides a source of income while you weather uncertain times."

And now (really), the winner is …
Looking at the aggregate data, we see that of all publicly traded companies in the investing universe, the one stock that appears on the most watchlists is Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq: ATVI). That's hardly a shock. The video game publisher has long been one of David's very favorite companies both for its renowned and successful products and for its performance for Stock Advisor members.

In the August 2002 issue, upon David's first formal recommendation of the company, Tom had this challenge for his brother: "Over the past two years, the stock has gone up five times in value. Respond to one of our loyal subscribers who might be thinking, 'This company has already had its run.'"

David replied, "Yes, it has had quite a run. That said, the company is more established -- in a better position financially and competitively -- than it has ever been. With some of that stability comes less of an expected reward for shareholders, but I still believe this stock could double over the next three years."

In fact, that recommendation has brought 240% returns while a follow-up purchase five months later has rewarded members to the tune of more than 560%. A third recommendation in 2008 is actually down, but the company remains a core holding for David.

Steady dividend payer or heady small cap, up-and-comer or goliath, it pays to watch. You can make smarter investing decisions with your own version of My Watchlist, free from the Fool. Click below to start following one of the stocks mentioned above:

Roger Friedman doesn’t own shares of any of the companies mentioned, but he really should. Google and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Activision Blizzard is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Johnson & Johnson is a Motley Fool Income Investor pick. Motley Fool Options has recommended a synthetic long position on Activision Blizzard. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Johnson & Johnson. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Activision Blizzard, Google, Johnson & Johnson, and Microsoft. Motley Fool Alpha owns shares of Johnson & Johnson. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.