Wall Street hates the companies listed below. So why do our Motley Fool CAPS members disagree? They've bestowed on these companies the highest four- and five-star ratings, signaling their faith that the associated businesses will outperform the market.

So who's got it right? The professional class of analysts sitting in their paneled offices smoking stogies, or a motley crew of community investors pooling their best thoughts for others to share? We think we know who'll come out ahead. How about you?


CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

Wall Street 
Bearish Sentiment

Hudson City Bancorp (Nasdaq: HCBK)



Intrepid Potash (NYSE: IPI)



Plexus (Nasdaq: PLXS)



Source: Motley Fool CAPS.

Now as much as we love our CAPS community, don't but these companies just because they've garnered the highest opinions. And don't sell 'em short just because Wall Street says to either. Investing requires closer diligence on your part, so use these ratings as a launching pad for your own research.

A heavy burden
During the subprime mortgage crisis, Hudson City Bancorp was seen as a rock-solid banker, refusing to engage in the risky lending practices that sunk many of its rivals.

Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) was accused of deceptively marketing extra-risky adjustable rate mortgages and had to forfeit hundreds of millions of dollars to settle claims against it. It didn't cotton to so-called "liar loans" like Bank of America's Countrywide division did, preferring instead to have borrowers put up 20% down payments. As a result it didn't have to run to the government for a TARP bailout.

Yet because the Fed has pursued ruinous low-interest rate policies and the government's interference in the mortgage market through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Hudson City is being brought low nonetheless. When it filed its annual report, the bank said the Office of Thrift Services was expected to issue a memorandum of understanding that would require it to restructure its business, and just yesterday it announced that it took action to bring its balance sheet in line with what was expected.

It significantly reduced higher-cost structured borrowings by paying off $12.5 billion in structured quarterly "putable" borrowings, funded by the sale of securities and new shorter-term fixed maturity borrowings. Hudson City's going to take a hit to earnings, particularly in the first quarter, but it ought to be in compliance now with the OTS while still having conservative management in place.

With the worst behind it, CAPS embers like Brooer are expecting Hudson City to claw its way back up.

Good management team allowed Hudson to weather the banking crisis better than most. Current problems temporary. Five to ten years down the road those who invest now may be handsomely rewarded.

Let us know on the Hudson City Bancorp CAPS page whether you're ready to make a deposit on this bank.

A no-win exchange
Soaring potash prices pushed fourth-quarter profits higher for Potash (NYSE: POT), Agrium, and Mosaic (NYSE: MOS), while new prices increases by Intrepid Potash are being initiated to meet rising demand. Europe's biggest potash producer also put through its fifth straight price increase.

Fertilizer makers in general are seeing prices rise, as inventories of nitrogen and phosphates are at five-year lows. This, in turn, is causing commodities prices to jump since it's costing farmers more to grow their crops.

Intrepid trounced analyst earnings expectations last month, and though it didn't provide guidance for the coming year, agricultural boom times suggest the stock still has some muscle. It seems the analysts have this one upside down, and with 96% of CAPS members rating it to outperform the market, another Wall Street beat down looks likely. Add the fertilizer specialist to the Fool's free portfolio tracker and keep an eye on whether Intrepid will continue to grow prospects.

Hit in the solar plexus
Contract electronics manufacturer Plexus also beat analyst forecasts last month, though revenues fell short. Two customers had production slowdowns which affected results and it says the industry still faces some headwinds for the next quarter or two. Part of Plexus's problem is competition remains intense. Jabil Circuit (NYSE: JBL), for example, had a fairly robust second quarter that beat Wall Street's expectations and offered guidance that was higher than what was expected.

Although analysts remain evenly divided on its prospects going forward, CAPS All-Stars overwhelmingly see Plexus succeeding, with almost 98% of those rating the contract electronics manufacturer seeing it moving ahead of the broad market averages.

Add Plexus to your watchlist then head over to the Plexus CAPS page and let us know why you think it's going to win.

What's wrong with that?
It pays to start your own research on these stocks on Motley Fool CAPS. Read a company's financial reports, scrutinize key data and charts, and examine the comments your fellow investors have made, all from a stock's CAPS page.

Sign up today for the completely free service, and tell us which side of the street will be the ultimate winner.

The Fool owns shares of Bank of America and Wells Fargo. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey does not have a financial position in any of the stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings here. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.